Newsletter 20

Trust Your Gut

Human factors are important in successful engineering; more than just scientific skills are necessary. Although a mathematical model of knots can lead to innovative new applications, the model needs to be validated on knots developed by over time by intuition. Sometimes a designer needs to consider how an end user will react emotionally to a product. And sometimes the best technical solution comes by taking into account exactly how the human brain works. Be human. Trust your gut. Happy reading.

New Model Predicts the Force Required to Tie Simple Knots

New Model Predicts the Force Required to Tie Knots

A fundamental, theoretical understanding of something traditional, like a knot, may show how it can be used in new, innovative engineering applications. “The new knot theory may provide guidelines for choosing certain knot configurations for a given load-bearing application, such as braided steel cables, or surgical stitching patterns.”

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MIT News, September 2015

America’s Best-Selling Cars and Trucks Are Built on Lies: The Rise of Fake Engine Noise

America’s Best-Selling Cars and Trucks Are Built on Lies: The Rise of Fake Engine Noise

Engineers were so successful in creating an emotional experience with old-school engines, that modern cars create extra engine noise using the car stereo. Even when designing a machine, never forget the human factor.

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Washington Post, January 2015

How Engineers at West Virginia University Caught VW Cheating

The engaging aspect of this article is the semi-technical explanation of what VW had to gain by cheating.

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IEEE Spectrum, September 2015

Scientific Proof Your Gut is Best for Making Decisions

Recent studies show that sometimes the best decisions can be made when you combine cold, hard evidence with intuition. Facts are important, but too much data can make it difficult to reach a conclusion. The brain acts more quickly employing feelings than employing rational thought.

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Fast Company, July 2015

You Can't Walk in a Straight Line – And That's Great for VR

You Can’t Walk in a Straight Line: That’s Great for VR

A user may walk a long way in a virtual reality environment without leaving the physical room. It could be a very long room or a small room with a complex treadmill. A clever alternative is to trick the brain into thinking the user is walking in a straight line, when in fact he or she is walking in circles.

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Wired, August 2015