Design Engineering

Top 10 Design Engineering stories of 2018

From an eight-legged cellphone case to a one-seater electric drone, these were DE readers' ten favourite stories of 2018.

December 28, 2018   Devin Jones

As the year comes to a close, Design Engineering has taken some time to reflect on the Top 10 stories that struck a chord with readers in 2018, as ranked by Google Analytics. Please enjoy, and from our family to yours, have a happy new year!

Top 10 2018

Awesome experimental plane flies silently, may lead to quiet drones
This one came out of left field for us (which seems to be the norm) and are we ever happy it did. And what’s not to love? No propellers or jets power this beauty; just good ol’ electricity and a hefty dose of engineering. Inspired by Star Trek no less! Live long and prosper.

Top 10 2018

(All photos and videos courtesy of Ashored Innovations)

Ashored Innovations creates ropeless trap to help with marine animal entanglement
Still in the patent process, this innovative trap system by Ashored Innovations didn’t thrill fisherman at first. However, given the increasingly stringent efforts to protect whales in Canadian fishing water, plus some user feedback and design rework, the team’s ropeless fishing trap seems to be catching on. 


Top 10 2018

UBC’s $100 ultrasound sensor heralds cheap, wearable diagnostic device
An “ultrasound transducer” might not sound like much but this inexpensive bit of electronic kit created by UBC researchers (i.e. their polyCMUT transducer) promises to usher in cheap and portable ultrasound imaging devices.

Top 10 2018

“Floating backpack” focuses on engineering to make your daily commute easier
Some of our favourite stories are when engineering makes the leap into popular culture, and in this case, into commuter culture. A sore back or shoulders after a long day of lugging around your stuff. And having surpassed their Kickstarter goal to the tune of $246,065 HoverGlide is trying to help solve the problem.

Top 10 2018

The first AI robot is happily floating around Earth, solving a Rubik’s cube
Upon first reading about CIMON, we couldn’t help but smile, especially considering the AI system sports a smiley face, can understand English and relies on facial recognition software to communicate with everyone on board the International Space Station.

Top 10 2018

Photo courtesy of ESA

Canada is going bonkers for low Earth orbit satellites
The recent $52 million in funding for NorthStar Earth and Space Inc’s 40 satellite cluster, is just the latest in an aerospace boom that’s poised for launch. For now though, let’s try not and think about the possibility of those thousands of satellites falling to Earth.

Top 10 2018

Ford rolls out largest adoption of exoskeleton technology to date to help prevent worker injury
With all the negativity surrounding the car manufacturing business recently, it was refreshing to feature a positive story about the large-scale adoption of technology that’s proven to help workers. Ford began a program to distribute 75 ExoVests across 15 of its plants internationally last year.

Top 10 2018

Canadian engineer’s one-man drone-like “Flyer” nears commercial release
Canadian mechanical rock star, Todd Reichert, can’t seem to let a year go by that he doesn’t do something incredible and 2018 wasn’t any different. In 2018, he helped launch the Kitty Hawk Flyer, a one-man electric aircraft drone that allows 20 minutes of VTOL flight time at up to 20 mph.

Top 10 2018

Closing the Engineering Gender Gap
The lack of women in engineering was still an issue in 2018. On the flip side, Design Engineering editorial board member, Dr. Mary A. Wells wrote a fantastic piece about why women disproportionately opt out of engineering’s education and career pipeline. Part editorial, part fact-based assessment of the engineering landscape, Wells’ insight was a great addition to our 2018 lineup of stories.


Eight-legged cell phone “airbag” designed to save expensive digital devices
There are some stories are just too cool to pass up and this eight-legged cell phone airbag was certainly one of them. The spring-loaded design pops open when sensing acceleration and folds back into a slim compartment on the back of your device. Its creators, Philip Frenzel and Peter Mayer, launched their Kickstarter campaign officially launched last week.

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