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ENED1020: Engineering Foundations Research Guide

The research guide for the ENED1020 final group project

Welcome

The following topics are provided by the National Academy of Engineering. Click here to view the original website. Your task is to pick a topic and use library digital and print sources to do research. Review library help videos first and click on your topic on the left side to find more information and help.

14 Grand Challenges

1. Advance personalized learning

A growing appreciation of individual preferences and aptitudes has led toward more “personalized learning,” in which instruction is tailored to a student’s individual needs. Given the diversity of individual preferences, and the complexity of each human brain, developing teaching methods that optimize learning will require engineering solutions of the future.

 


2. Make solar energy economical

Currently, solar energy provides less than 1 percent of the world's total energy, but it has the potential to provide much, much more.


3. Enhance virtual reality

Within many specialized fields, from psychiatry to education, virtual reality is becoming a powerful new tool for training practitioners and treating patients, in addition to its growing use in various forms of entertainment.

 


4. Reverse-engineer the brain

A lot of research has been focused on creating thinking machines—computers capable of emulating human intelligence— however, reverse-engineering the brain could have multiple impacts that go far beyond artificial intelligence and will promise great advances in health care, manufacturing, and communication.


5. Engineer better medicines

Engineering can enable the development of new systems to use genetic information, sense small changes in the body, assess new drugs, and deliver vaccines to provide health care directly tailored to each person.

 


6. Advance health informatics

As computers have become available for all aspects of human endeavors, there is now a consensus that a systematic approach to health informatics - the acquisition, management, and use of information in health - can greatly enhance the quality and efficiency of medical care and the response to widespread public health emergencies.


7. Restore and improve urban infrastructure

Infrastructure is the combination of fundamental systems that support a community, region, or country. Society faces the formidable challenge of modernizing the fundamental structures that will support our civilization in centuries ahead.


8. Secure cyberspace

Computer systems are involved in the management of almost all areas of our lives; from electronic communications, and data systems, to controlling traffic lights to routing airplanes. It is clear that engineering needs to develop innovations for addressing a long list of cybersecurity priorities.


9. Provide access to clean water

About 1 out of every 6 people living today do not have adequate access to water, and more than double that number lack basic sanitation, for which water is needed. It's not that the world does not possess enough water - it is just not always located where it is needed.


10. Provide energy from fusion

Fusion is the energy source for the sun. The challenges facing the engineering community are to find ways to scale up the fusion process to commercial proportions, in an efficient, economical, and environmentally benign way.


11. Prevent nuclear terror

Engineering shares the formidable challenges of finding the dangerous nuclear material in the world, keeping track of it, securing it, and detecting its diversion or transport for terrorist use.


12. Manage the nitrogen cycle

It doesn’t offer as catchy a label as “global warming,” but human-induced changes in the global nitrogen cycle pose engineering challenges just as critical as coping with the environmental consequences of burning fossil fuels for energy.


13. Develop carbon sequestration methods

The growth in emissions of carbon dioxide, implicated as a prime contributor to global warming, is a problem that can no longer be swept under the rug. But perhaps it can be buried deep underground or beneath the ocean.


14. Engineer the tools for scientific discovery

Grand experiments and missions of exploration always need engineering expertise to design the tools, instruments, and systems that make it possible to acquire new knowledge about the physical and biological worlds.


image source: engineeringchallenges.org

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