Engineering has had a huge impact on our lives. From launching satellites into space to digging trenches, engineers have been pivotal in some of the most exciting inventions of our time. Here’s just some of the things they’ve made possible.
Rollercoasters might seem like just a fun pastime, recent events at Alton Towers notwithstanding. But they require some serious engineering clout. Engineers have to calculate the forces acting on the rollercoaster at any particular time. And they have to design coasters on computer first that will actually work in real life. For anyone who’s tried a rollercoaster simulator game, this is easier said than done. Without engineers, they wouldn’t be possible.
The Space Shuttle
You might think that NASA’s space shuttle was the next logical step after using rockets. After all, hadn’t all the significant breakthroughs occurred during the Apollo program? Well, as it turns out – no. Getting the space shuttle off the ground was challenging enough. NASA had to strap a glorified airplane to a rocket. But allowing it to come back to Earth was even more challenging. Engineers at NASA had to develop special tiles to go on the outside of the shuttle. And they had to create navigation systems that would prevent it from burning up in the atmosphere.
Faster Internet Connections
Civil engineering used to be a drawn out process. To install any new underground pipes or cables, workers spent weeks digging trenches. But now engineers have come up with a way to make it much faster. Companies like DM Civil hire out trenching machines that effortlessly dig trenches using a conveyor belt or wheel. Most operators can dig a trench to lay new cables along an average street in less than a day.
It’s this sort of thing that has made our modern world of communications possible. New cables, like Google Fiber, take days rather than months to lay. And that means that our broadband gets upgraded every few years rather than every decade.
Engineers have been involved in practically every aspect of modern television. They are responsible for the fact that people can now get TV via satellite. They’re also behind the implementation of the technology in the TV itself. And they’re pushing the envelope all the time. Recently we heard from Samsung that quantum dot technology was now available in consumer TVs. But it’s just the latest in a long list of engineering achievements that have made the TV possible.
Skiing has been around for a long time now. But the snowboard is a relatively recent invention. And it was something that was brought to the public by, you guessed it, engineers. The man behind the snowboard was an engineer by the name of Sherman Poppen. He was from Michigan and invented the board as a toy for his daughter. Essentially, it was just two skis stuck together. But the idea soon caught on and was soon licensed. After while a whole ski resort was dedicated to the new sport. In just a couple of years, snowboarding took off and hasn’t looked back since.