When I began to think about what I should do for my independent project, my mind went to the guitar I've been working on with my dad. We're struggling to paint it and just make it nicer, which isn't really engineering, so I tried to think about something else. While thinking about instruments however, I was reminded about an instrument my brother had been talking about. The Whamola is a mix between a whammy bar and a viola, and is an upright instrument that you hit with a drum stick and use a lever to change the length of the string. Not very viola-like, but I'm sure the creator had some reason to name it that. I figured it would be easier to make a Whamola than a full string instrument, so that's how I decided on it. I like this idea because not only will it be a school project for a grade, it will also be something I can play with and enjoy for years.
A bridge I found fascinating was the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan. I first found it because Google lied to me and told me it was the world's longest bridge, which it is very far off from, but after reading into it I thought it was interesting how it is supported with such a large central span, as the larger the span is the weaker it is.
The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses Japan's Akashi Strait. With 6 lanes and 1.237 miles, the Akashi Kaikyo holds the title of the longest suspension bridge in the world. This bridge was part of the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge project that used three bridges to connect Honshu and Shikoku through the Inland Sea of Japan. This project lasted from 1988 to 1999, the Akashi Kaikyo being completed second in 1998.
The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge needed to withstand intense wind and water speed, and judging from the minimalist design, I think there was a price range involved. With such a large bridge, it must'v been difficult to keep it up using only two piers, but Japan made it, and Japan made it well. The bridge was originally going to be made for both cars and trains, but it was decided to be only for cars. During construction the bridge was hit by an earthquake, making the central span 1 meter longer, so the bridge must have been designed to withstand future earthquakes.