Designer Edge Recap: Top 5 Engineering Stories for May 2016

Captain America’s shield, a brain-inspired processor, an exploding lake and more.

Top Performer: The Engineering of Captain America’s Shield

Shawn Wasserman showed his Team Cap pride in this article and interview from the USA Science and Engineering Festival (USASEF). Shawn spoke with UC Riverside engineers who are working to bring the coolest superhero technology to life. Learn the answers to questions such as, “How much would it cost to make a real superhero?” and “Wouldn’t Ironman become soup inside his armor?”

Most Shared: Meet IBM’s Brain-Inspired Neurosynaptic Processor

Freelance writer Anne Nasato’s first story for was a big hit on LinkedIn, and we’re not surprised. Any article that starts with, “The future of exascale computing just got a lot closer,” is bound to generate some interest. The infographic explaining cognitive computing doesn’t hurt either, and there’s even a nuclear defense angle! What more could you ask for?


Most Debated: Turning Carbon Dioxide into Concrete

(Image courtesy of )

(Image courtesy of UCLA.)

This debut story from another new freelancer, Saila Shama, certainly generated some lively discussion in the comments section. Global warming remains a controversial issue, so it makes sense that a company turning carbon dioxide into concrete would get our readers riled up. But if you read through the comments, you’ll notice that this is no run-of-the-mill online flame war—it’s a thoughtful discussion supported by some serious engineering insight.


Sleeper: Science Museum is Rebuilding Eric, the UK’s First Robot

When I first saw this story, I assumed it would be a big hit. Tom Spendlove did a great job of illustrating this tale of a British robot built all the way back in 1928. It looks like something out of classic Doctor Who, or maybe a low-budget Star Wars fan film. When you watch the video, you’ll see Eric clanking along to the delight of visitors at the Exhibition of the Society of Model Engineers. Let’s hope the Science Museum’s crowdfunding campaign to rebuild the bot is successful.


Staff Pick: Engineers Harvest Methane Gas from Lake in Rwanda That May Explode

Image courtesy of Jason Florio

(Image courtesy of Jason Florio.)

Joan Thompson offers us an in-depth look at this Rwandan methane power plant that sits in Lake Kivu, one of the world’s three “killer” lakes. Kivu is so loaded with methane that it could literally explode as a result of falling rock or a landslide. And yet, engineers have managed to construct a 26-megawatt power plant to harness that terrifying raw energy. It’s a great story, and exactly the kind we love to tell at

Do you have a favorite Designer Edge story from May that wasn’t covered here? Want to try writing one of your own? If so, contact us at contributors(at)engineering(dot)com with the subject line “Designer Edge Recap”.