Monday, May 30, 2016

Cardno files patent application for UAS remote sensing process

Engineering firm Cardno has announced a filing with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office of a patent application in the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry. This is for a remote sensing workflow using UAS and specialized sensors to assess uranium contamination at abandoned uranium mines.

“This technology allows Cardno to increase and improve the accuracy and safety of uranium mine assessment and cleanup operations worldwide,” says Mark Pitchford, area manager, Cardno. “This is the first in a series of planned patent filings within the next several months, establishing Cardno’s leadership in developing UAS applications for use in engineering and environmental arenas.”

Recent advances in UAS technologies allow unique multi-sensor flight packages that greatly increase efficiency, completing what used to take days in the field with a single flight mission. “Packaging gamma sensors, LiDAR, and high resolution imagery provides comprehensive assessment of remote uranium mines and allows coverage of areas that were previously inaccessible. UAS technology can do this work more accurately and more safely than the traditional assessment methods,” says Jim Oliver, Cardno technology advisor.

“Cardno's patent applications will develop value-added processes to improve accuracy, efficiency, and safety of field operations from forestry through law enforcement,” says Jason Kack, Cardno UAS director.

"Today's marketplace is being flooded with the introduction of new UAS and UAS technologies. The most successful businesses will leverage their intellectual property to give clients the high quality data that helps improve the management and operation of their business. Cardno is working aggressively in this space and is making strides to stay at the forefront of the UAS industry,” says Pitchford.

Demand for remote sensing services is growing rapidly as more clients seek the ease and relative safety of remote observation and as UAS service providers pursue advanced efficiencies and streamline operations to lower costs and reinforce client satisfaction. Cardno is one of a few professional engineering firms that hold an FAA 333 exemption allowing the firm to legally fly more than 1,150 different UAS platforms nationwide at ground level to 400-foot altitude in unrestricted airspace. Cardno maintains a fleet of UAS, sensors, and a professional pilot team dedicated to safety and accuracy of remote data acquisition.

Headquartered in Australia with offices throughout the world and the United States, Cardno is a professional infrastructure and environmental services company with expertise in the development and improvement of physical and social infrastructure for communities around the world. Cardno’s team includes professionals who plan, design, manage and deliver sustainable projects and community programs. For more information, visit

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bill Nye weighs in on the presidential election and climate change

Yahoo Anchor Alexis Christoforous recently sat down with science educator and author Bill Nye to talk about the ongoing debate over climate change and its global effect. Known for his TV show Bill Nye the Science Guy, Nye received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell and started his career at Boeing in Seattle, where he developed a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor for the 747. The pair discuss why this year’s election is crucial towards taking action on climate change, the West Virginia coal industry, and how the first United States “climate refugees” will be from Isle De Jean Charles, Louisiana, where rising oceans are forcing residents to relocate with government assistance.

Watch the interview on Yahoo:

Highlights from the conversation include Bill Nye on:

·  Why this election year is a tipping point to take action about climate change - “This year I believe is the tipping point. We can turn it around this year. If the United States were to elect someone as president, the most influential person in the world, that is in favor of doing something about climate change, they would do something about climate change.”

·  Why Isle De Jean Charles, Louisiana will have the first “climate refugees” - “The reason people have to move off of De Jean Charles is that the ocean is getting bigger. When you make something as enormous as the earth’s ocean just that much warmer, it gets bigger. The coastal cities, which is where most of the world lives are going to get encroachment. New York City is no exception, we are going to have sea walls…and this is the developed world. New Orleans has all kind of flood pumping systems, but on that island, they don’t. It’s a suburb, so people are going to have to move.”

·  The United States taking the first step towards acknowledging climate change - “If we are leaders, we will take that meeting. Let’s be out in front. It is a remarkable thing that 193 countries, including China and India, showed up in Paris after there was a terrorism attack, and they took a meeting. It’s a start.”

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Duke engineering professor and drone expert Missy Cummings appears on two national shows

Mary "Missy" Cummings, a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering, specializes in drones and autonomous vehicles. Recently, she appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ( and The Colbert Report with Steve Colbert ( to discuss drones.

On the autonomous vehicle front, backed by a GoogleX project, Cummings is trying to observe cognitive activity during prolonged driving. As drivers spend a lot of time behind the wheel, they become disengaged, creating a challenge to integrate the human driver into a deceivingly complex autonomous system.

Underscoring the importance of this technology, the Obama Administration has announced a $4 billion, decade-long plan to expedite the development and adoption of autonomous vehicles on U.S. roads. "As a robotics professor who has been working on driverless car development for a number of years, I applaud the Obama administration for its recent announcement of the $4 billion infusion into this field that will revolutionize transportation as we know it," says Cummings. “Going forward, it is critical for the government to gain expertise not only in the development of this technology, but also the testing and evaluation of this technology. Despite recent advancements, driverless cars are still relatively immature and not formally tested, which is paramount given the safety-critical nature of such environments.”

Sunday, May 8, 2016

HDR and FBT team selected for University of New Mexico Hospitals development plan

The University of New Mexico Hospitals selected HDR, teamed with FBT Architects, for a new adult acute care replacement hospital development plan located on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The overarching goal of the development plan is to allow the University of New Mexico Hospitals (UNMH) to achieve its aspirational vision and transformative goal to provide advanced healthcare, teaching, research, and community outreach to the citizens of New Mexico through a new adult acute care replacement hospital. The existing hospital will be transitioned to women’s and children’s services.

“In concert with FBT, we’re excited to work with the hospital’s key stakeholders to reimagine patient care in New Mexico,” says Jerry Jeter, HDR project principal. HDR’s integrated multidisciplinary planning team, whose project manager and project principal are part of HDR's Denver architecture practice, is employing evidence-based design, lean process improvement, sustainable “green” design solutions, and innovative technology to program and plan flexible, adaptable, and expandable clinical environments to meet UNMH’s current and future healthcare demands.

HDR has been in business since 1917, specializing in engineering, architecture, environmental, and construction services with nearly 10,000 employees in more than 225 locations around the world. Advancing health and wellness on a global scale and in local communities is at the heart of its endeavors.

FBT Architects has operated in the Southwest since 1973. During their 20-year relationship with UNMH, FBT has completed over 88 projects throughout all areas of UNMH’s extensive client services including free-standing clinics, additions and renovations. FBT Architects and HDR are currently working together on the UNMH Children’s Psychiatric Center.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tom Scholz and Boston celebrate 40th anniversary

Many of us rocked to the sounds of "More Than a Feeling" in 1976 when the legendary rock band Boston burst on the scene. The band is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with a North American tour.

Why is this important to engineers? Boston was the creation of Tom Scholz, a geek turned rock star. With a master's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT, Scholz worked as a product design engineer at Polaroid (remember them?) by day and wrote and played music at night. He had dreams of making it big but didn't really expect much as he suffered through six years of rejections. When he finished recording an album in the basement of his Watertown, MA apartment, he told his boss he was staying at Polaroid and he didn't have to worry about him leaving. But then the music world took notice, and the band's debut album skyrocketed to sell a record 17 million copies.

Scholz was known for applying his technical expertise to music, as he designed his own studio, gadgets, and musical instruments to create the sounds he sought.

Read the full story at