Friday, January 22, 2010

The Order of the Engineer

The Order of the Engineer is a is a unique group of engineers that take a Hippocratic oath towards engineering. Like Professional Engineers, engineers that are welcomed into the Order swear to uphold the highest ethical standards in their profession and contribute to the welfare of man. But unlike other societies, there are no fees, no meetings to attend, no obligations beyond exercising best professional judgment in all work performed. It is through this act that engineers form a collective and a fraternal sense of kinship.

The Order originated in Canada due to a recognized need for engineers to create a sense of community and unity. This need resulted in the "Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer" written by Rudyard Kipling, initiated in 1926. These concepts took hold in Ohio and in 1966 a group of engineers began pursuing the Order of the Engineer. By 1970, engineering seniors and faculty at Cleveland State University held the first induction ceremony. Although derived from the Canadian Calling, there are distinctions that make the Order unique to the US including the Obligation of the Engineer.

The Ring

The ring symbolizes continuity and community. In Canada, it is a wrought-iron ring. In the United States, it is a stainless steel ring and is worn on the 5th finger of the working hand. It is a symbol used to recognize kinship among members of the Order and to be a visible sign to others of your commitment to serving the welfare of the public and making the best use of Earth's resources.

Affect on Today's Engineer
The Order of the Engineer is steadily growing. No other time in history has the professionalism of an engineer been in question. One way to bring understanding to the general public is to unite all engineers under a common theme. Those strongly in favor of licensing presume that to be the best way. But not all engineers require a license nor the extra time and expense associated with maintaining one. Likewise, hanging a shingle on the wall is not a viable symbol that can be publicly recognized to show our solidarity. All engineers have the opportunity to be inducted into the Order of the Engineer. And by doing so, show the world that even without a license, we are committed to protecting the welfare of the public through high ethical standards and conservative use of natural resources.

(Note: Image taken from Order of the Engineer website.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

There's an app for that

I currently have a client, Global Media Group, LLC, that I do part-time consulting with. They are a start-up organization that designs and builds telemedicine/telehealth instruments. I name drop not only to point you in their direction because if they get more business, I may get more business, but also because one of the things I do is try to follow the industry of my clients. I may not keep up-to-date on all the latest happenings, but I at least read enough to grasp the current trends and be able to anticipate my clients needs. (How's that for full service design consulting?)

One of the technologies I came across in my research was a handheld ultrasound device. Now this instrument is not developed by Global Media, but it could be. No, this is being developed in collaboration with a couple engineers at Washington University in St. Louis.

William D. Richard and David Zar have invented a system that combines an ultrasound probe, adapted to be powered by a USB port, and a smartphone running a special Windows OS. The focused end users are developing nations, ambulances, and the military; basically anywhere that a standard ultrasound can't go but is needed. Personally, I see a use much closer to home.

Show of hands, how many of you have woken up in the middle of the night and race to the hospital because your wife says "I think it's time." ? Exactly! All of us. Now, rather than facing that hundred dollar speeding ticket and a few points off your license, you can whip out your cell phone and tell your wife to go back to bed. OK, not really, because interpreting the ultrasound still requires specialist training. But hey! It's on your cell phone. Call your doctor to share the joyful midnight experience and get their opinion before driving into the hospital. They're going to be woken up anyway once you get there, this could save them the trip, too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Engineers Week 2010

Engineers Week, a nationally known "holiday" focused on expanding the perception of engineering is scheduled for February 14 through Febuary 20, 2010. You can find out more about Eweek by visiting their website.

And because I'm from the Phoenix metro area, you can find out specific local information for eweek here. Some highlights of the Phoenix events:
  • "Engineers Day" at the AZ Science Center - Saturday, Feb 20, 2010 10am to 4pm
  • Legislative Lunch - State Capitol House Lawn 11:30am to 1:30pm
  • E-Week Awards - Don't forget to nominate your engineers, young engineers, students, and educators
E-Week Phoenix is still looking for additional sponsors.
Besides the eweek website, find more information from the local chairs ASPE and ACEC.

By the way, an ongoing charitble activity for One Million hours of S.T.E.M. Outreach still needs your help. Find the link on the eweek website.