Editor's Desk

By Michael Hughes

Make everything easier

Imagine a computer that makes your muscles move precisely as the physical therapist prescribes, speeding your recovery from a traumatic injury. Imagine having your dream house built in only one day. Imagine an award-winning industrial engineering magazine with a snappy new redesign.

Well, along with one of the longest opening paragraphs in Editor’s Desk history, this edition of Industrial Engineer brings you all three.

This year’s installment of Engineers Who Make a Difference focuses on a Toronto laboratory that aims to create a better world for people suffering from injuries or disabilities and an IE professor with a vision of 3-D printed low-cost housing.

Starting on Page 27, David Brandt tells the story of Dr. Geoff Fernie of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. The University of Toronto professor of surgery and his colleagues hope to revolutionize rehabilitation and the environments people live in.

The computer that speeds up muscle rehabilitation is a solution from one of TRI’s startups; a masklike device that inexpensively diagnoses sleep apnea without the need for a full-blown sleep study is another. And more are on the way as the lab continues to invent low-cost solutions to solve everyday problems.

One big, low-cost solution to housing comes from Behrokh Khoshnevis. The University of Southern California professor has been working on Contour Crafting – essentially a 3-D printing construction technology – for decades.

The resulting company hopes to have an entry-level version of its printing machine in a year or two. Such a contraption could be broken down, trucked to the site and construct a home in a day or so – all at a fraction of what it costs with current techniques. In the case of natural disasters, victims could live under more permanent shelters within days, not months or years.

And this month, Industrial Engineer magazine brings it all to you with a new look. We hope the redesign, months in the making, is easy on the eyes. Let us know what you think.

Michael Hughes is managing editor of IIE. Reach him at mhughes@iienet.org or (770) 349-1110.