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Human, Robot Dynamic Duo Solves Engineering Challenge — New Comic from IEEE-USA is Fourth in Series

By Paul Lief Rosengren

Stacks Gets Up in the World

Stacks Gets Up in the World

FREE to IEEE Members
Non-Members: $2.99

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Sherlock Holmes had Watson. Batman had Robin. Cagney had Lacey. And in Stacks Gets Up in the World, Harry T. Roman teams Jen, the engineer, with Stacks, a robot — to tackle a real-life engineering challenge. This comic book is Roman’s fourth for IEEE-USA, where he pairs engineer Jen with various robots, to become human- and robot-engineer problem-solving teams.

In this caper, Jen is tasked with inspecting a 100-year-old brick smokestack in the heart of an industrial city. Jen equips the robot to carry power and compressed air lines, as well as a tank of high-heat cement, allowing Stacks to conduct needed repairs.

On the climb, Stacks encounters holes caused by condensed liquid, and a massive soot back-up. Jen guides the robot to tackle each problem it encounters. When  soot causes slipping in the robot’s pressurized feet and electric shorts in its system, Jen directs the robot to use the compressed air to give its parts a good mid-job cleaning, allowing the treacherous ascent to continue.

When Stacks nears the top, the robot discovers the safety system has failed; and lightening has struck the smokestack. Repairs will be tricky, and might even make it hard for Stacks to descend back down the pipe. Will Jen and Stacks succeed? Will Stacks get damaged? Will our dynamic engineering duo need to call in other experts? You will have to download the digital comic, Stacks Gets Up in the World, to see if, and how, Jen can notch another win on her engineering belt.

Stacks Gets Up in the World, and Roman’s other books in the series, are free to download for IEEE members at the IEEE-USA Shop. Nonmembers pay $2.99.  Other books in the series are:

As with all his comics, Roman draws on his real-life experience using robots to solve real engineering problems. Before retiring, Roman worked with a team that developed robotics in the energy industry, including co-inventing one used to inspect large fuel oil storage tanks and another one used in nuclear power plants. The New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame honored Roman as its 2005 Inventor of the Year, for his application of robots in hazardous environments in utility work. He has published numerous books for IEEE-USA, including Engineering Activities for the Classroom Volume 4: Robotics.

In the forward to this book, Roman lays out why he wrote the series: “This robot adventure story was designed to entertain our readers, young and old; to demonstrate how we can use robots in the service of humanity, performing real-life tasks.” Why not download the entire series, and read through them with your child or children? It’s a fun way to educate kids about engineering.

Roman holds 12 U.S. Patents and has received numerous engineering, invention and teaching awards. IEEE honored Roman with a Meritorious Achievement Award, for developing continuing education products for IEEE members. He currently teaches a graduate course at Montclair State University about applying STEM techniques in the classroom. He is also a docent/special lecturer at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, in West Orange, New Jersey.


Paul Lief Rosengren

Paul Lief Rosengren is a frequent contributor to IEEE-USA InSight and author of the Famous Women Engineers in History series. He also co-authored In the Time of COVID: One Hospital’s Struggles and Triumphs about the first year of COVID at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, NJ. Rosengren previously worked in internal and external communications for the State of New Jersey, NBC, PSEG, and BD. While at PSEG, he was a founding member of the PSEG Diversity Council, initiated and facilitated the PSEG D&I Book Club and received the PR News Diversity Award.

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