Growing up, my brother always loved shows on the Discovery Channel or the Science Channel. He was obsessed with shows like American Chopper, How It’s Made, or the annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ competition that takes place every Thanksgiving. When he saw any sort of device, his instinct was to figure out how it works. I will never forget the first time that he picked up a fidget spinner and I saw his eyes light up. He was not surprised at all by it, but intellectually curious. He told me how he thought it worked (all of which went right over my head) and asked me if he could have it. It was a free piece of SWAG, so I told him to take it. Next thing I know, I come back to find the fidget spinner broken down into its pieces, my brother tinkering with one. He bought a bunch of NERF guns once and I thought it was a little strange because he was an adult, but, of course, those came apart too and he showed me the limiter that he removed from the gun to increase its power. This is the way that a mechanical engineer thinks. He was a prodigy from day one, but if you have similar curiosities, you might want to try private mechanical engineering tutoring.
A lot of people probably think that engineering is a boring field, but it is actually one that is surprisingly interesting. Mark Rober, a mechanical engineer who worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, began showing just how much fun the field can be by creating YouTube videos that have gone viral around the world. The work he did for NASA was probably already cool enough, as he worked for seven years in the Curiosity rover, which is now on Mars. But he decided to up the ante when he made YouTube videos. In a Halloween themed video, he designed a costume that used iPads to simulate a giant hole in his torso. He used one behind him to serve as the camera capturing the images and one in the front to display it live, allowing him to move around and maintain the illusion of a hole in his gut. In another that received 25 million views in a single day, Rober attempted to thwart potential package thieves during Christmas with a complicated device. His contraption looked like an Apple iHome, but when you opened the box, a motor started spinning a chamber filled with glitter, evenly spraying the glitter all over the thief’s car or home. It also sprayed five squirts of fart spray. On top of the mechanized prank, he outfitted the device with multiple smartphones, so he could capture a 360 degree video of the results and then find his contraption again via GPS location.
It is this kind of ingenuity where mechanical engineers shine. For the most part, they are the ones that are designing better machines for all sorts of positive uses, but the occasional mad science experiments like these show that engineering is more than numbers and science. With the principles of engineering, you can solve problems that we never knew we had.
The reason that my brother loved American Chopper so much was that he was, and still is, fascinated by engines and vehicles. The steam piston engine was first developed by a French physicist in 1690 AD, but there have been significant advancements in the technology ever since. We are still looking for ways to increase the efficiency of engines, whether it is to make them put out more power with less fuel or using alternative, sustainable fuels to maintain the same power. There are also parts of the car that use mechanically engineered tools that you might take for granted, like the sensors that tell you if your tire pressure is low, if your engine has issues, or if you are about to hit something. Considering that I learned to back up in a time where you had to turn around, but now use a backup camera on my standard issue, cheapest model Honda, I would love to see what advancements you come up with when you search for mechanical engineering tutors near me and become the next great inventor.