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So far Sovanna Cao has created 48 blog entries.

Rising Above Agricultural Challenges with Vertical Farming

2019-11-13T11:44:14-08:00 August 27th, 2019|Civil Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Environmental Engineering, Food & Drink, Issue IV, Volume XIX|

Written by: Tina (Hyunsu) Ryu About the Author: Tina is a senior majoring in computer science games. Before moving to California, she lived in Ohio and South Korea. After graduation, she hopes to go abroad to become a digital nomad!  Abstract The conventional agricultural system fails to keep up with the expanding population as it [...]

Are Your Headphones 3D Enough?

2019-11-13T11:43:59-08:00 August 27th, 2019|Electrical Engineering, Entertainment, Issue IV, Mechanical Engineering, Music, Volume XIX|

Written by: Lauren Lawson About the Author: Lauren is a junior at USC, studying biomedical engineering. In her free time she volunteers for the Make-A-Wish USC chapter, participates in the executive boards of multiple on-campus organizations, and is in Alpha Gamma Delta. Introduction Imagine the ultimate headphone experience: just like listening to your favorite song [...]

A Stroke of Genius: Neurorehabilitation through Virtual Reality

2019-11-13T11:43:42-08:00 August 27th, 2019|Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Entertainment, Health & Medicine, Issue IV, Volume XIX|

Written by: Annie Lee About the Author: Annie Lee is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing a progressive Bachelor’s to Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. Abstract The aim of physical stroke rehabilitation is to improve motor function in paralyzed or semi-paralyzed limbs. Although the problem is physical, it begins with the [...]

The Engineering Behind the Happiest Place on Earth

2019-03-07T17:38:27-08:00 March 7th, 2019|Entertainment, Industrial Engineering, Issue I, Sports & Recreation, Volume XIX|

Abstract Disney uses fundamental industrial and systems engineering principles to create the optimal environment for maximum customer satisfaction in their amusement parks.  By embedding efficient processes in their park layout such as the line design, FastPass system, and the Magic Band, Disney has seemingly made mundane processes magical.  Disney pushes the envelope of innovation, shaping [...]

Thermal Imaging: The next game changer for medical devices?

2019-03-07T17:38:07-08:00 March 7th, 2019|Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Health & Medicine, Issue I, Material Science, Volume XIX|

Abstract Thermal imaging has incredible medical device applications. Infrared light is the driving force behind this technology because it allows us to produce an image derived from temperature variations. Bolometers allow infrared light to be converted to temperatures and are produced through UV lithography. The final product is infrared sensors that are affordable and can [...]

Fully Automatic Timing: The Most Reliable Sports Referee

2019-03-07T17:37:46-08:00 March 7th, 2019|Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Entertainment, Issue I, Sports & Recreation, Volume XIX|

Abstract There’s nothing quite like the thrill of watching a close finish in racing sports such as track and swimming. However, sometimes these finishes are so close that they leave fans, and even referees, wondering who actually completed the race first. To address this ambiguity, the Fully Automatic Timing (FAT) system has been developed. This [...]

AI Behind AlphaGo: Machine Learning and Neural Network

2019-03-07T17:37:21-08:00 March 7th, 2019|Computer Science, Entertainment, Health & Medicine, Issue I, Sports & Recreation, Volume XIX|

Abstract The board game Go has been viewed as one of the most challenging tasks for artificial intelligence because it is “complex, pattern-based and hard to program”. The computer program AlphaGo’s victory over Lee Sedol became a huge moment in the history of artificial intelligence and computer engineering. We can observe AlphaGo’s enormous capacity,  but [...]

A Face Only Law Enforcement Could Love: Using Facial Recognition to Improve Security

2019-03-07T17:36:55-08:00 March 7th, 2019|Computer Science, Issue I, Security & Defense, Volume XIX|

Abstract Imagine making a credit card payment with just a selfie or having a virtually unhackable password without memorizing a single character. With the advancement of biometric security measures such as facial recognition, consumers will no longer have to imagine a world where this is possible. The technology that has been in development since the [...]

Stylish Safety: Engineering Sunglasses

2017-11-11T06:27:29-08:00 November 7th, 2009|Health & Medicine, Issue III, Lifestyle, Physics, Volume X|

Sunglasses are often taken for granted as just another fashion accessory, but they are actually the result of engineering technology that is both powerful and delicate. In order to create a final product that is protective, stylish, and durable, engineers were forced to deal with the complex nature of light -- especially ultraviolet radiation and [...]

Chewing Gum

2017-11-11T06:03:27-08:00 November 7th, 2009|Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Health & Medicine, Issue I, Volume X|

Chewing gum, the most popular snack in America, can be traced back to ancient Greece. Over the past two centuries, gum manufacturers have embraced materials science to produce a product that has a wide variety of benefits, from cavity protection to enhanced mental concentration. However, this treat is also polluting streets, sidewalks, and buildings around [...]

Worthy of Praise: The Modern Flush Toilet

2017-11-11T06:31:12-08:00 October 15th, 2009|Issue III, Lifestyle, Physics, Volume X|

Modern flush toilets have revolutionized the way humans live, yet are given minimal acknowledgment for their contributions to society. A move towards managing human waste began at least as early as the Mesopotamian civilization, and since then, toilet technology has evolved in conjunction with social and technological trends. By providing a means of maintaining sanitation [...]

Aerogel – The Insulative Frozen Smoke

2017-11-11T06:23:34-08:00 October 10th, 2009|Aerospace Engineering, Issue III, Lifestyle, Material Science, Space, Volume X|

Aerogel, a material commonly referred to as "frozen" or "solid smoke," was originally developed in the 1930s, but has not received much attention until now. Scientists and engineers recently realized the possibilities of working with such an unusual substance, focusing on its strength-to-weight ratio and its thermal resistivity. These properties are a result of the [...]

The Fun of Funiculars

2017-11-12T21:34:48-08:00 July 7th, 2009|Issue IV, Lifestyle, Transportation, Volume X|

Humans have been using funiculars for close to 500 years to transport people and cargo up steep inclines, and in that time, the technology has not changed significantly. Initially developed to move through steep terrain, funiculars remain relevant because of their efficiency and simplicity of design. By using a counterweight pulley system, the funicular uses [...]

NASA Brings Clean Water Back Down to Earth

2017-11-11T06:08:15-08:00 March 7th, 2009|Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Issue I, Space, Volume X|

Getting enough water is one of the greatest challenges in human spaceflight. As its mission objectives have become increasingly more ambitious, NASA has been at the forefront of water purification technology. Designers of water purification systems for space travel face many of the same challenges as designers of systems for use in developing nations, and [...]

Cloud Computing

2017-11-12T21:24:03-08:00 December 5th, 2008|Computer Science, Issue IV, Volume X|

Cloud computing is the up-and-coming computing revolution that will change the way we access applications and data. With the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies and web applications such as Google Apps, Facebook, and eyeOS, the running of applications and storing of data has begun to shift from the personal computer to “the cloud”. Cloud computing [...]

Genetically Modified Crops: Boon or Bane?

2017-11-12T21:29:03-08:00 October 13th, 2008|Biomedical Engineering, Food & Drink, Health & Medicine, Issue IV, Volume X|

The genetic manipulation of crops such as soybeans, maize, canola, and cotton has the potential to increase crop production and sustain our the world's population. However, from the first theories of selective breeding and Gregor Mendel's hereditary factors to contemporary practices of DNA splicing, the practice of genetic modification has been fraught with controversy. Selecting [...]

Making a Quick Buck: Counterfeiting in America

2017-11-11T06:25:13-08:00 October 11th, 2008|Issue III, Lifestyle, Security & Defense, Volume X|

Counterfeiting involves the creation of fake money, and it is the government's job to stay one step ahead of these counterfeiters. While ingenuity and skill were the main factors leading to successful counterfeiting in the past, recent improvements in digital scanners and printers have made counterfeiting much easier. In order to battle these new technologies, [...]

A Look at Venice: Past and Present

2017-11-12T21:20:21-08:00 August 10th, 2008|Building & Architecture, Civil Engineering, Issue IV, Volume X|

The city of Venice is an engineering masterpiece. From the well-known St. Mark's Square to the infamous Bridge of Sighs, the city was built entirely on water. The early engineers of the city had to choose specific materials suited to marine conditions, and they developed unique techniques for constructing the historic buildings we see today. [...]

Night Vision Goggles: Moving from Military to Modern Day Applications

2017-11-11T06:16:28-08:00 July 10th, 2008|Issue II, Lifestyle, Security & Defense, Volume X|

Night vision devices (NVDs) have allowed humans to easily blend into and exploit an environment that was once only conquered through the use of flashlights and flood lamps. Whether in goggle or binocular form, these devices have given people a significant edge, first in military combat and more recently in surveillance, security, and rescue operations. [...]

A Powerful History: The Modern Electrical Outlet

2017-11-11T06:13:06-08:00 June 19th, 2008|Electrical Engineering, Issue II, Lifestyle, Volume X|

The electrical outlet is a modern convenience that we often take for granted - until it becomes an inconvenience. When traveling abroad, you must purchase adapters, converters and transformers with no guarantee that these will fit into your hotel room outlet. There have been a number of developments to make the outlet a safer, more [...]

Microprocessors: The Silicon Revolution

2017-11-11T06:14:43-08:00 May 2nd, 2008|Computer Science, Issue II, Volume X|

The microprocessor can be considered one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century, placing an entire room of computer equipment with a single chip. The fundamental operations of a microprocessor are basic, yet it has allowed so much to be accomplished. As transistors, the building blocks of microprocessors, approach their minimum size limits, creative [...]

Working Against Our Evolution: The Positive and Negative Effects of Antibiotic Use in Humans and Emerging Alternatives

2017-11-11T06:18:19-08:00 April 2nd, 2008|Biomedical Engineering, Health & Medicine, Issue II, Volume X|

The introduction of antibiotics in the twentieth century has led to their widespread use, as they have become a prevalent class of drugs prescribed worldwide. A continuous demand for antibiotics has circulated throughout the medical community to treat ailments that range from the common throat infection to life-threatening staphylococcus infections. Increased usage of antibiotics by [...]

From the Vine to the Table: Winemaking Explained

2017-11-11T06:05:13-08:00 March 8th, 2008|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Issue I, Volume X|

Wine has been enjoyed for over 7,000 years and through the centuries it has been the preferred drink of the Egyptians, Romans and Mesopotamians. It has played a key role in religion and cross-cultural trade, but only in the past 150 years has science and technology become a part of the winemaking process. Louis Pasteur's [...]

From Chemistry Labs to the Kitchen: Molecular Gastronomy

2017-11-11T03:58:39-08:00 December 7th, 2007|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Issue III, Lifestyle, Volume IX|

In 1980, the science behind cuisine, formerly known as molecular gastronomy, was introduced into the culinary world. Cooking experts in some of the top restaurants from London to New York City have demonstrated how understanding the science behind simple foods — such as French fries and mayonnaise — can add new dimensions to taste by [...]

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy

2017-11-11T04:20:31-08:00 December 6th, 2007|Biomedical Engineering, Health & Medicine, Issue IV, Volume IX|

Treating drug-resistant epilepsy and depression seemed impossible a few years ago. However, with the advent of Vagus Nerve Stimulation, treatment of these severe types of diseases is now possible. VNS therapy is a powerful new treatment that modulates some neural structures and functions to benefit those diagnosed with drug-resistant epilepsy and depression. Powered by an [...]

Modular Prefabricated Housing

2017-11-03T10:59:48-07:00 December 3rd, 2007|Building & Architecture, Civil Engineering, Issue I, Lifestyle, Volume IX|

This article will investigate the process of designing and building prefabricated, modular houses. Positive qualities such as eco-friendliness, cost-effectiveness and efficiency are reflected in the procedures of construction and use of materials. Modular housing has many advantages over traditional site-built houses, and it is suggested that the prefabrication housing technique can be one of the [...]

Power Wars: AC vs. DC

2017-11-11T04:12:26-08:00 December 3rd, 2007|Issue IV, Volume IX|

At the end of the 19th century, humanity captured power in its highest form: electricity. With a new magical power in the hands of great industrialists, a battle for ownership of the multi-million dollar future of its technological development ensued. The great engineer George Westinghouse dared do battle with Thomas Edison--fellow engineer and brilliant inventor--in [...]

What Makes Antibacterial Soap Antibacterial?

2017-11-03T11:00:23-07:00 December 1st, 2007|Chemical Engineering, Health & Medicine, Issue I, Volume IX|

Germs are everywhere, so it's no surprise that antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, and lotions are as well. Despite this, consumer knowledge of Triclosan (the active ingredient in many antibacterial products) remains vague at best. A biochemical explanation of how Triclosan disables bacteria will give consumers a more scientific understanding of a product they use so [...]

Automotive Telematics: A Technological Lifesaver

2017-11-03T10:33:12-07:00 October 9th, 2007|Communication, Issue I, Transportation, Volume IX|

Telematics, in its general sense, refers to the science of sending, receiving, and storing information via telecommunication devices. It is most notably known for its use in automotive vehicles through the application of global positioning systems. The variety of ways in which this technology may be used has only begun to make its presence known: [...]

Built for Sound: Architectural Acoustics

2017-11-11T03:56:07-08:00 September 15th, 2007|Building & Architecture, Entertainment, Issue I, Volume IX|

Architectural acoustics contribute significantly to the enjoyment of music. This is due to the relationship between a song and its intended performance venue. With the proper balance of acoustical intimacy and aliveness, performance venues are designed to accentuate the characteristics of symphonic music and provide the best listening experience possible. After enduring centuries of trial [...]

Walking in High Heels: The Physics Behind the Physique

2017-11-03T11:01:18-07:00 September 3rd, 2007|Issue II, Lifestyle, Physics, Volume VIII|

For years, women wearing high-heeled shoes have been noted for their appealing posture and gait. Physics and recent scientific research explain exactly what role these tall shoes have in creating the infamous high-heeled gait, or strut. Unfortunately, the dynamics behind these shoes also explains the pain associated with wear. New shoes are now being designed [...]

Underwater Habitats

2017-11-11T04:18:04-08:00 September 3rd, 2007|Building & Architecture, Energy & Sustainability, Issue IV, Lifestyle, Volume IX|

Last April, science hobbyist Lloyd Godson surfaced after surviving 13 days underwater in a lake near Albury, Australia. Godson's underwater habitat, the BioSUB, was designed to simulate a closed, autonomous environment. Using a Biocoil, a gas-exchange system that utilizes the photosynthetic properties of chlorella algae when supplied with carbon dioxide, light, and water, Godson was [...]

Motion Sensors

2017-11-11T04:14:34-08:00 September 3rd, 2007|Electrical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Issue IV, Volume IX|

Motion sensors are found everywhere today. This technology has helped accommodate our busy schedules by making our daily activities more efficient and convenient. These sensors were introduced by the demand for detection of enemy aircraft during World War II and were ultimately developed to apply to everyday life. With the demand of useful tools to [...]

Engineering Snow

2017-11-11T03:47:05-08:00 December 7th, 2005|Issue III, Sports & Recreation, Volume IX|

In the middle of the 20th century a device was invented that would forever change the way that ski areas operate -- the man-made snow machine. Snow sports enthusiasts have long been at the mercy of the weather to give them desired snow conditions. However, ski areas now rely significantly less on the weather to [...]

Atomic Clock: The Atlas of Our Time

2017-11-03T10:57:32-07:00 November 4th, 2005|History & Society, Issue II, Lifestyle, Mechanical Engineering, Volume VIII|

In man's quest to capture time, no innovation has come closer to measuring time with precision than the atomic clock. Using Cesium-133 atoms, scientists and engineers have implemented atomic clocks in a variety of experiments and systems. Since the 1960s, atomic clocks proved to be more precise than other timekeeping methods and being so, the [...]

Turbochargers

2017-11-11T04:06:03-08:00 October 3rd, 2005|Energy & Sustainability, Issue III, Mechanical Engineering, Transportation, Volume IX|

Turbocharging, a technology originally developed for use in aircraft, is a current trend among automobile enthusiasts. Applying a turbocharger to an internal combustion engine increases the power output of that engine, allowing for greater acceleration and higher maximum speeds. Turbochargers increase an automobile's power-to-weight ratio by harnessing the exhaust from the engine. They can also [...]

The Danger of Airport Runway Crashes

2017-11-11T04:03:38-08:00 October 3rd, 2005|Aerospace Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Issue III, Transportation, Volume IX|

Runway incursions present a serious danger to airplane passengers today. Any time two planes, or a plane and vehicle, either come close to a collision or actually do collide on the runway surface can be described as an incursion. There are numerous factors that lead to runway incursions, and all of these must be taken [...]

The Trebuchet

2017-11-11T03:08:48-08:00 September 5th, 2005|History & Society, Issue II, Mechanical Engineering, Security & Defense, Volume IX|

The medieval battlefield was dominated by large artillery weapons, and among these the trebuchet was king. This massive weapon was eventually capable of throwing massive boulders over 250 meters, but it did not start that way. It took over 1000 years of innovation, experimentation, and modification to transform a moderately effective projectile-throwing machine into an [...]

A Chemical Engineer’s Guide to Cleaning Just About Anything

2017-11-11T03:01:23-08:00 September 5th, 2005|Chemical Engineering, Issue II, Lifestyle, Volume IX|

When people kneel down to scrub the stains out of their bathtubs or struggle to remove the coffee grounds from their kitchen counters, they are probably not thinking about the complicated chemical reactions that are happening just beneath their hands. The cleaning supplies that we all use, from simple soaps to detergents to vinegars and [...]

The Metro: The Engineering Behind Madrid’s Most Valuable Asset

2017-11-11T02:55:02-08:00 July 20th, 2005|Civil Engineering, Issue II, Lifestyle, Mechanical Engineering, Transportation, Volume VIII|

Almost every major metropolis around the globe has a mass transit system. When executed properly, these can be the most economically and physically efficient means of moving large populations through a city. Unfortunately, only a few of these systems in the United States have been designed or operated well enough to merit recognition; namely, Boston [...]

Security Versus Privacy: The Engineering of X-Ray Vision

2017-11-11T03:05:31-08:00 July 11th, 2005|Electrical Engineering, Issue II, Security & Defense, Volume IX|

In the post-September 11 era, engineers have developed new technologies to meet growing safety and security concerns at the world's airports. The drawbacks of existing security measures - especially physical pat downs - have provided a foundation for "backscatter" X-ray technology. Information offered by the Transportation Security Administration and American Science and Engineering, Inc., demonstrate [...]

UAVs: Engineering in Action

2017-11-11T02:57:10-08:00 May 3rd, 2005|Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Issue II, Mechanical Engineering, Security & Defense, Volume VIII|

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a fusion of many engineering disciplines. They are the premier platform for advanced communication, surveillance, and propulsion technologies. While they have recently garnered most of their press on the battlefield, an emerging commercial sector is attempting to make them part of everyday life. Introduction Anyone paying even the slightest attention [...]

Reflecting on the Mirrors

2017-11-11T04:01:52-08:00 April 26th, 2005|Electrical Engineering, Entertainment, Issue III, Material Science, Volume IX|

Advertisements for some new types of televisions claim that their superb picture quality is due to “the mirrors.” These mirrors are on the order of microns wide, and millions of them reside in the back of DLP televisions. This way of projecting the light source is a cutting-edge method (over LCD and Plasma) that allows [...]