Engineering

Satellite designed and built by CU-Boulder students now in orbit

DANDE has left the planet.

A beach ball-sized satellite designed and built by a team of CU-Boulder students is now whipping around the planet in a polar orbit. Roughly 150 students have been involved in the project since 2007.

The satellite, known as the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer satellite, or DANDE, will investigate how atmospheric drag can affect satellite orbits.

CU, MIT breakthrough in photonics could allow for faster and faster electronics

A pair of breakthroughs in the field of silicon photonics by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Micron Technology Inc. could allow for the trajectory of exponential improvement in microprocessors that began nearly half a century ago—known as Moore’s Law—to continue well into the future, allowing for increasingly faster electronics, from supercomputers to laptops to smartphones.

CU-Boulder’s new and renovated residence halls showcase new academic program, sustainability

CU-Boulder’s newest residence hall, Kittredge Central, is welcoming students this week for the first time, 53 of whom are engineering students and will be immersed in Spanish through the building’s new Residential Academic Program, or RAP. Also, the nearby Kittredge West residence hall is reopening this week after renovations. Both buildings comprise a number of “green” features to improve water and energy efficiency and to reduce the campus’s carbon footprint.

Software-defined networking company built on ‘impossible’ technology sells for $125M

A decade ago, John Giacomoni was working as a professional research assistant in the Software Engineering Research Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder when the group took on a problem they couldn’t afford to solve.

Giacomoni was working in Professor Alexander L. Wolf’s lab and their task was to build a system that could secure the campus from electronic attacks. As the scope of the project expanded, they soon discovered the specialty hardware they needed to continue was a budget buster.

Students become rocket scientists at NASA facility in Virginia

A Colorado student space research consortium led by the University of Colorado Boulder teamed up with a Virginia space consortium led by the University of Virginia this week to help aspiring rocket scientists from around the country learn how to design, build and fly payloads.

Insect eye-inspired camera captures wide view with no distortion

When praying mantises, dragonflies, ants and other insects peer out at the world, their bulging, compound eyes allow them to see an incredibly wide field of view with an almost infinite depth of field.

Imitating the functionality of an insect eye — which is really a collection of many tinier eyes, known as ommatidia — in a camera has been a long sought-after goal for engineers. Now, camera lenses with wide fields of view, such as fisheye lenses, create distortion around the edges of the image.

Small satellites becoming big deal for CU-Boulder students

For some University of Colorado Boulder undergraduates, designing, building and flying small satellites is becoming a large part of their hands-on education.

CU-Boulder student finds incubators have wildly varying magnetic fields

Lucas Portelli, a doctoral student in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, wanted to know how electromagnetic fields affect living things.

To find the answer, he went about building experiments. He tried to test the impact of the fields on E. coli, on cancer cells, on fruit flies and even on mice. But he quickly ran into a problem: The magnetic fields in the biological incubators he was using weren’t consistent. In fact, they weren’t even close.

‘Part art and part magic’

It took at least 1,000 hours of work but the result is stunning.

During the 2011-12 academic year, engineering students in Andrews Hall started an extracurricular project to build a “grand orrery,” a mechanical planetary system that illustrates the relative positions and motions of both the inner and outer planets.

Ice-capped Antarctic lake harbors life

A frigid brine, isolated from the outside world for about three millennia underneath a thick layer of ice in an Antarctic lake, harbors life, according to a research team that includes scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder.
 
The finding, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers a hint to how life might be able to thrive in extreme, icy conditions elsewhere in our solar system, such as those found on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa or on Mars.
 

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