These groundbreaking inventions will make you realise everything in the world is related to engineering
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When I was in primary school, I would fill in “Engineer” under “Father’s Occupation” without really understanding what it meant. As I was young, I didn’t realise how significant my dad’s job was.
In my eight-year-old mind, a cool job was a Power Ranger.
But now that I’m older, I finally understand how much engineers contribute to the society. From crazy infrastructure to perfectly-designed motors, here are some engineering marvels that have changed the world.
Kingda Ka roller coaster
When we think of crazy engineering feats, roller coasters hardly come to our mind. But this particular roller coaster really takes the cake for being a wonder of engineering.
Holding the record for the tallest and second fastest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The steel accelerator roller coaster located at Six Flags is known as one of the scariest in the world. It catapults through a hydraulic launch mechanism, and can go as fast as 206 km/h in 3.5 seconds.
And the highest point of the roller coaster? A staggering 139m.
The way this roller coaster generates energy is astounding. One of the engineers behind Kingda Ka revealed that the motors were built to produce 20,800 peak horsepower. That’s 122 times the horsepower an average car puts out.
Millau Viaduct, Millau, France
Imagine how nice it’d be to drive through clouds. This is something that might happen if you ever drive through the Millau Viaduct, which has a deck height of 270m.
The other amazing thing is that the 2,460m long bridge only took three years to build.
It is the work of French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, and it won the Outstanding Structure Award in 2006 because of its innovative construction as a cable-stayed bridge.
And you know what’s the best part about driving through the clouds? Being able to video it for your Instagram story.
Like a human/robot hybrid, the robotic arm is a relatively new mechanism that has gained popularity in recent times. It could be used to carry different tasks in automotive assembly lines, or even complete something dangerous like bomb disposal.
In fact, the use of robotic arm is so prevalent in the scientific and engineering world that it has even appeared in popular culture, such as Iron Man. Yes, Tony Stark is an engineer who somehow managed to piece together different materials to create that ~magical~ armour.
Widely known as one of the most incredible engineering achievements in modern history, the Trans-Siberian Railway measures 9,289 kilometres and is the longest railway in the world. Running through eight time zones, it connects hundreds of European cities and parts of Russia.
Unlike the Millau Viaduct, the railway took a quarter of a century to complete due to harsh weather conditions and primitive tools. Because of this, many recognise it as a triumph in the engineering world.
There’s no doubt that the Internet is extremely important in our lives. We read, we google things, and we catch up with our friends through the internet. The fact that you’re reading this is because of the Internet.
So how do we get information from the Internet?
Through the network of the undersea cables. Bet you didn’t know that – mind blown yet?
Check out how far they run:
Just imagine, most of the world’s online communications run through these fibre optic cables that lay on the ocean beds.
And how do we even get these cables installed under the sea? You can thank engineers for dreaming up special boats called cable-layers which lay hundreds of thousands of kilometres worth of cables that can go as deep as the height of Mount Everest.
We have the Wright brothers to thank for fulfilling all our ~wanderlust~ adventures. In 1903, they established the first powered airplane flight. The Wrights were so passionate about aeronautics and flying that they observed how birds use their wings for balance and control, and tried to mimic it.
Their first plane flew for 59 seconds, at 259 metres, which was an impressive achievement at that time. The brothers’ success eventually set the foundation for present-day aeronautical engineering.
Engineers might not have super powers, but they save the world in their own way. Just think about it, everything around you today is related to the field of engineering – that bus you took this morning, and even the ground you walked on.
Also, the next time you take a rollercoaster, you might want to thank the engineer who made that 360 turn possible.
Top image via Jeremy Thompson.
Be the next engineer to create a groundbreaking invention.
This article first appeared on Mothership.