Truck full of innovation
The National Instrument truck demoed its widely-used software and hardware Monday to kick off National Engineers Week.
The third week of February is celebrated as National Engineers to remind people of the importance of engineering and how engineers contribute to society, said Mark Walters, academic marketing manager.
“NI recognizes the importance of learning math, science and technical skills and is sharing that with campuses across the country through the LabVIEW Campus Tour,” Walters said.
Each person in the UH community benefitted from the experience, according to Walters.
“Through live demonstrations, researchers can learn how to accelerate innovation and discovery in advanced research projects. Educators see how they can deliver complete hands-on teaching solutions for students to ‘do engineering’ in the classroom through engaging, real-world learning experience,” Walters said.
The demonstrations were geared toward students.
“For students, this tour inspires them to do engineering by allowing them to see how the tools they are learning in the classroom today can be applied into research and in industry,” Walters said.
Passersby were able to learn about the visiting company and talk to current employees.
“NI is a hardware and software manufacturer that aims to make research and data analysis more user friendly,” said Sam Strickling, academic broad-based research marketing manager for NI.
“We’ve brought this tour bus of goodies for engineers to showcase our hardware and software platforms like LabVIEW, which most of the students here at UH know a little bit about,” Strickling said. “We are here to show people all the cool things you can do if you become an engineer.”
The country tour is aimed to encourage students to practice more hands-on engineering, Strickling said.
According to Walters, engineering is a cutting-edge field, which can help avoid potential disasters and promote advancement.
“Great engineering can avert disasters to humanity by earthquake-proofing buildings and homes, through early warning systems for tornadoes and tsunamis. Who else is going to make sure these things work? Engineers and scientists are truly the leaders in engineering change,” Walters said.
“From identifying new sources of energy to designing life-saving medical devices, the contribution of engineers has a significant impact on our quality of life. By finding a better, more efficient approach to meeting design challenges, engineers can accomplish more while saving time, money and effort.”
On the bus, students and faculty watched demonstrations on how to design projects and teach concepts such as circuits, measurements, controls and mechatronics and communications, Walters said. Additionally, there were research tools available for demonstration that involved structural testing, power electronics, wireless measurements and microwave design.
The technical aspects may be useful for students and faculty in their research and education, but Strickling said he hopes students will be excited by the potential innovations they can see themselves making.
“Engineering is awesome. I’m a mechanical engineer. It’s really fun. You can think of anything you want to do, and you kind of just do it,” Strickling said.
“If you know how to do engineering, if you know the premises of it, no matter what kind of task you’re trying to accomplish, the engineering paradigm fits a lot of things. If you don’t know how to do something, but you know all the steps to do something similar, it’s pretty easy.”