Challenges Before Engineers
The unintended outcomes of past engineering solutions to the problems have adversely affected environment. Environmental sustainability, health, reducing our vulnerability adding to the joy of living is essential for humanity to flourish. This forms challenges not only for engineers but also to others.The challenges relate to energy and the environment, health and medical sciences, education and information technology, infrastructure and security. Through creativity and commitment these engineering challenges can be realistically met.
Make solar energy affordable.
Provide energy from nuclear fusion.
Develop carbon sequestration methods.
Manage the nitrogen cycle.
Provide access to clean water.
Restore and improve urban infrastructure.
Advance health informatics.
Engineer better medicines.
Reverse-engineer the brain.
Prevent nuclear terror.
Enhance virtual reality.
Advance personalized learning.
Engineer the tools for scientific discovery.
Meeting these challenges would be game changing. Success with any of them could dramatically improve life for everyone. However, the future solutions might depend on lowering the cost of doing things and use of less energy overall on life cycle basis
Engineering Challenges for THE 21st Century India
The increasing dependence on technology of our standard of living requires a more technologically trained work-force with right kind of skills and attitude. India has around 560 million people under the age of 25 years and about half of them are in the age group 10-19 years. By the year 2020 India will have 160 million people in the age group 20-24 years, much more than even China. For India next 30-40 years are useful, dynamic and productive at the time when rest of the world is ageing. India may provide workforce for the world provided they possess suitable skills on global standards. Training in technology at different levels assumes priority. Conventional methods of training may not be adequate and new technology assisted approach has to be adopted. In R&D, India is to move a long distance still. It is not only the question of the number of persons involved in the activities, but basically the mindsets of a large number of researchers and the administrators require drastic change. Students engaged in Masters in science subjects, engineering graduates and post graduate courses and also the MBAs is the group of potential innovators on which the government, the academic faculty and the heads of Corporate India must focus. Unfortunately as on today, the standard is pretty poor. Still a large number of people will remain unskilled and so the development of employment generating technologies /services will remain a priority for India. A vast majority of our workers of tomorrow will be ill educated and a substantial number functionally illiterate. More than 60% of those under fifteen years old enrolled in almost dysfunctional schools and more than 80% of our young engineers of today who graduate but receive little education, will be the senior professionals of tomorrow. Engineering challenges will have to include development of modern technologies that work efficiently with a large labour component, at least in foreseeable future. Low-cost and huge mid career skill up-gradation programmes would have to be put in place. Innovative use of technology in Vocational Education and Training will be a priority.
The technological challenges before India at present include the following:
In energy area - alternative/advanced electricity generation technologies need to be made viable. There is the move to hydrogen economy. There is need of expanding energy availability with access globally, while minimizing the adverse environmental and social impacts.
In medicine, there will continue to be new medical testing and treatment equipment, such as prosthesis integration with the human neural system and medical application of nanotechnology to limit invasive treatments.
In the environmental area, there is the challenge of limiting or reversing the adverse impact due to human existence at comfortable level and yet in an economically viable way. In addition to globalization, economical sound environmental protection, and rapid technological advancement, challenges pertain to
National security needs,
An aging infrastructure
Role of Mechanical Engineers
Mechanical Engineering is concerned with the design, development, research, evaluation, manufacture, installation, testing, operation, maintenance and management of machines, mechanical and mechatronic systems, automated systems and robotic devices, heat transfer processes, thermodynamic and combustion systems, fluid and thermal energy systems, materials and materials handling systems, manufacturing equipment and process plant. Mechanical engineers are critical to technologies that serve people and are widely represented in both the traditional and alternative energy industries. They possess the knowledge and skills needed to design new energy sources and make existing energy sources cleaner and improve the efficiency of current and emerging technologies. They can be at the forefront of developing new technology for environmental remediation, farming and food production, housing, transportation, safety, security, healthcare and water resources. They can create sustainable solutions that meet the basic needs and improve quality of life for all people around the world.
The role of Mechanical engineers in future development will be to
Develop sustainably through new technologies and techniques, and respond to the global environmental pressures brought about by economic growth;
Be at the forefront of implementing a system design approach across large and small-scale systems;
Engage in international collaboration around our critical knowledge and competencies;
Work in the emerging Bio-Nano technologies to provide solutions in such diverse fields as healthcare, energy, water management, the environment and agriculture management, and
Create affordable engineering solutions for the poor and deprived. And there are aspirations of the Third World moving toward a First World standard of living in a sustainable, environmentally sensitive manner. Mechanical engineering will evolve and collaborate as a global profession in the near future through a shared vision to develop engineering solutions that foster a cleaner, healthier, safer and sustainable world. This will need to create greater public awareness of the essential contributions of engineering to quality of life consistent with a sustainable world. Other critical choices include focused efforts to improve:
Advocacy to influence political decision making on issues related to science, engineering and technology;
Multi-disciplined and systems engineering approaches to multi-scale systems;
Partnerships among academic, industry and government to expand research and development and develop the next generation of engineers,
Lifelong learning for globally competent engineers and engineering leaders