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Editorial, 04-2011

Dear engineer,

Sprache und Technik ist unser Thema. Auch Google hat sich in gewisser Weise diesem Thema verschrieben und inzwischen 15 Millionen Bücher digitalisiert – nicht immer zum Vergnügen von Autoren und Verlagen.

In Short, 04-2011

From Toy to Take-Off

Kleine Spielzeug-Quadrocopter sind derzeit schwer in Mode. Drei Ingenieure aus Karlsruhe haben das Konzept nun weitergedacht und einen elektrischen Multicopter gebaut, der sogar einen Piloten tragen kann.

History Audio File, 04-2011

Canning and the Tin Can

Die einfache Konservendose hat eine erstaunlich kriegerische Vergangenheit. Schon Napoleon hat erkannt, dass haltbare Nahrung einen strategischen Vorteil bietet. Erst mit der Erfindung des Dosenöffners und der automatischen Fertigung jedoch zog die Blechdose in unsere Haushalte ein.

Leeside of Business, 04-2011

Gadgets Come and Gadgets Go

I don’t know how many readers feel like me, but I’m beginning to feel left behind. I thought for my age that I was doing pretty well. Not completely tech savvy but not a complete dinosaur either.

Business, 04-2011

Time Waits for No Man

In a world that seems to go faster and faster, we’re often left with the thought, “where has the time gone to?” Although it is possible to take control of how you spend your time, the problem is often how to do so.

Basics, 04-2011

Sealing Material Selection

Die Wahl der richtigen Dichtung ist extrem wichtig – ein Leck an der falschen Stelle zur falschen Zeit kann Millionenschäden anrichten; nicht nur bei Ölbohrplattformen. Deshalb hier eine kleine Auffrischung für alle Dichter und Englisch-Denker.

Horology, 04-2011

Ticking to Eternity

Building a mechanical clock to run for 10,000 years is a major engineering challenge – and a bit crazy. Funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, a group of engineers is setting out to craft the ultimate time piece.

3D-Printing, 04-2011

Sun, Sand and Software

Solar-powered 3D-printing seems impossible since selective laser sintering requires huge amounts of energy. But why not use concentrated sunlight instead of a laser? Markus Kayser’s Solar-Sinter produces crude but beautiful objects made entirely from sun, sand and software.

Advanced Learners, 04-2011

Well done… …but maybe you could do better?

It’s easy to tell someone they’re good at something or they’ve done something really well. But it’s extremely difficult to tell someone diplomatically that you’re not happy with their performance. Whether it is a formal performance appraisal or just some informal feedback among colleagues, we all have to find the right words.

Aeroplanes, 03-2011

Distance Runners

Unmanned aeroplanes, capable of months or even years of uninterrupted flight without landing, could be a cheap alternative to telecommunication or surveillance satellites. The first prototypes are already up there for weeks at a time.

Memristors, 03-2011

Mind the Memristor

Electrical engineering is on the cusp of a breakthrough – one that will allow engineers to create circuits that drastically increase the speed of processing, use far less power than modern computers, and even mimic the kind of computations carried out by the human brain.

Business Partner, 03-2011


For many in Germany, Japan has become indelibly associated with the tsunami and the Fukushima reactor failure in March 2011. But the relationship between the two countries is more than 150 years old and couched in a lot of mutual allure and admiration.

Kultursprung, 03-2011

Italien – Dolce Vita und Bürokratie

Die Deutschen lieben die Italiener, schätzen sie aber nicht, die Italiener schätzen die Deutschen, lieben sie aber nicht. Kürzer lässt sich das deutsch-italienische Verhältnis wohl nicht beschreiben. Natürlich ist das in der Realität alles viel komplizierter und selbst unser kleiner Exkurs kann nur einen groben Überblick geben.

History Audio File, 03-2011

Inventing the Dishwasher

Bei so manchen Haushaltsgeräten drängt sich das Gefühl auf, dass sie von Männern konstruiert wurden, die nie im Haushalt gearbeitet haben. Zumindest für die Geschirrspülmaschine gilt das nicht, denn die wurde vor über hundert Jahren von einer Frau erfunden.

Crash Tests, 03-2011

Dummy Run

After more than 60 years on the job and despite the advances in safety analysis and computer simulation, there’s still no substitute for crash-test dummies. As their evolution goes on, research centres like TRL aim to build the perfect dummy.

Interview, 03-2011

Data: Where is it? Who Owns it?

Dr. Dirk Heckmann is professor of Public Law, Security Law, and Internet Law at the University of Passau and expert advisor to the German Parliament. He talks about the difficult legal challenges of the internet: How to protect privacy and copyrights in an ever-changing environment.

Basics, 03-2011

Fire Protection

For a fire to start, three components are needed: a source of ignition, fuel and oxygen. If any one of these components is missing, a fire cannot start. Potential ignition sources are those where sources of heat could get hot enough to ignite material found in the premises.

On the Move, 03-2011

All a Matter of Costs: Cutting Costs

Due to the economic climate Egbert Engines is having to look at ways to reduce costs. Egbert is meeting with some of his managers to discuss the various possibilities.
Egbert: OK, we all know why we are here and, basically, there is just one item on the agenda – how can we cut costs? Jan: Are we looking to make reductions across the board or just in some departments, or only in manufacturing, or what? Egbert: I suggest we brainstorm all possibilities and then look to see where we can be most effective.

In Short, 03-2011

Print Me a Solar Cell

The sheet of paper looks like any other document that might have just come spitting out of an office printer, with an array of coloured rectangles printed over much of its surface. But then a researcher picks it up, clips a couple of wires to one end, and shines a light on the paper.

Tidal Energy, 03-2011

Turbines of the Deep

Tidal power, a source of energy used in some places since the eighth century, has basically been ignored in our modern age, although it is renewable, dependable, and enjoys low running costs. Thanks to recent efforts there is new interest and investment in this ancient technology.
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