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R & D caucus highlights NSF's tie to innovation

April 2, 2012 5:32 am | News | Comments

Last Friday, the National Science Foundation held a congressional briefing to call attention to its research successes, particularly the process of bringing relevant fundamental research from the laboratory to the marketplace. Particular attention was called to Small Business Innovation Research grant beneficiaries, some of whom shared their success stories at the briefing.

Naval Research Lab to build robot for shipboard firefighting

March 8, 2012 12:04 pm | News | Comments

Equipped with an advanced sensing and navigation suite of instrument, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) is the product of a interdisciplinary team and is designed solely to fight fires aboard U.S. Navy and Marine Corps vessels. A humanoid-type robot was chosen because it was deemed best suited to operate within the confines of an environment that was deigned for humans in the first place.

Pasta-shaped radio waves beamed across Venice

March 2, 2012 7:13 am | News | Comments

A group of Italian and Swedish researchers appears to have solved the problem of radio congestion by cleverly twisting radio waves into the shape of fusilli pasta, allowing a potentially infinite number of channels to be broadcast and received. To demonstrate, they did this in real-life conditions by beaming two corkscrewed radio waves across the waters of Venice, Italy.


New company hopes to replace Wi-Fi with Li-Fi

February 29, 2012 3:06 am | News | Comments

Visible Light Communications (VLC), a University of Edinburgh spin-out, will soon launch its first prototype light-emitting diode communications technology. “Li-Fi” relies on optical spatial modulation and an Internet protocol technology to allow LED light to carry optical wireless communications streams.

Experimental smart outlet brings flexibility, resiliency to grid architecture

February 28, 2012 3:51 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has developed an experimental smart outlet that autonomously measures, monitors, and controls electrical loads with no connection to a centralized computer or system. The goal of the smart outlet and similar innovations is to make the power grid more distributed and intelligent, capable of reconfiguring itself as conditions change.

Industrial robot finds its muse

February 10, 2012 6:30 am | News | Comments

Not all artists are extroverts. A portraitist at the CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany, this week is cool, precise, and metallic. Other artists, in fact, helped it get started as a project to test image-evaluation technologies that equips the robot with a sense of “sight”.

Engineer to 'sculpt' more powerful electric motors and generators

January 26, 2012 11:25 am | News | Comments

Most electric motors and generators operate in just one direction. There's no real need for them to go into reverse, but they’ve been designed to work both ways. Dionysios Aliprantis of Iowa State University wants to change that, incrementally chipping away at motor design and optimize performance in just one direction.

Sandia develops power-over-fiber communications cable

January 18, 2012 3:56 am | News | Comments

Sometimes total electrical isolation is a good thing—and that's the idea behind a power-over-fiber communications cable being developed by engineers at Sandia National Laboratories. The Sandia team is developing a hybrid cable design that uses fiber to send and regulate optical power to the communications electronics integral to the cable. A patent is pending on the design.


Switch to LEDs will extend meat shelf life, researchers say

January 17, 2012 5:52 pm | News | Comments

After comparing light-emitting diodes against fluorescent lights in meat refrigeration units, Kansas State University’s Kyle Steele found that retailers could save a substantial amount of money by using them, and not just because of the LEDs’ operating efficiency.

Tiny transmitter sets frequency record

January 12, 2012 10:55 am | by Christian Meier | News | Comments

A team in Germany has built a transmitter less than a millimeter square that has generated the highest frequency ever attained by a microelectronic device: 1.111 THz. Compared to previous transmitters that have been bulky and expensive, the new device could soon find use in engineering applications.

New device could bring optical information processing

January 3, 2012 3:20 am | News | Comments

Researchers have created a new type of optical device, the passive optical diode, small enough to fit millions on a computer chip that could lead to faster, more powerful information processing and supercomputers.

Self-healing electronics could work longer, reduce waste

December 21, 2011 12:01 pm | News | Comments

A team of University of Illinois engineers has developed a self-healing system that restores electrical conductivity to a cracked circuit in less time than it takes to blink. Their solution was to adapt a microcapsule healing solution used for polymers to conductive systems.

Heated AFM tip used as voltage tester for the first time

December 20, 2011 5:07 am | News | Comments

Atomic force microscope cantilever tips with integrated heaters are widely used to characterize polymer films, and to study fundamentals of nanometer-scale heat flow. Until University of Illinois engineers adapted such a tip to read electrothermal voltage, however, no one had used a heated nano-tip for electronic measurements.


'Smart Connector' senses failure in radio-frequency cables

December 15, 2011 11:26 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology and PPC Corp., Syracuse, N.Y., have developed a new sensor that, once installed in the connecting units of coaxial cables, can find the exact location of cable damage through a technology called back scatter telemetry.

World's largest Li-Ion battery factory launched in Russia

December 15, 2011 4:11 am | News | Comments

Liotech, a joint venture between RUSNANO and Chinese holding company Thunder Sky, has launched the world's largest high-capacity lithium-ion battery factory near Novosibirsk. Covering more than 40,000-m 2 , it has a design capacity of more than 1 GWh, or approximately one million batteries per year.

New generation of PTFE membranes for cartridge filters

December 12, 2011 7:31 am | Product Releases | Comments

W. L. Gore & Associates has introduced new expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) membrane in high-density polyethylene cartridge filters to support the manufacture of high-purity chemicals used in the semiconductor and liquid-crystal display industries.

Icy test rig helps design fast bobsled runners

December 8, 2011 5:48 am | News | Comments

Determining the friction of a bobsled run can mean the difference between winning and losing, but it has always been more of an art than a science. Researchers have now figured out a way to measure friction level accurately, helping them to build effective simulations prior to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Thomson Reuters publishes list of top global innovators

November 16, 2011 8:03 am | by R&D Editors | News | Comments

The 100 top innovators have been ranked this week by the Thomson Reuters’ intellectual property (IP) consulting arm. The U.S. continues to lead this list with a large share of innovators, and Asia and Europe place second and third, respectively. However, China is not yet ranked because of its practices regarding protecting IP and commercializing products globally.

World’s largest digital camera gets green light

November 8, 2011 11:13 am | by Mike Ross | News | Comments

A U.S. Department of Energy review panel last week approved a project to create the world’s largest digital camera. Designed for a new Chilean telescope’s 8.4-m primary mirror, the camera has 189 semiconductor sensors that can record infrared to ultraviolet light, and has the capacity to produce 15 terabytes of data every night.

Boston Dynamics’ BigDog gets a humanoid buddy

November 1, 2011 8:12 am | News | Comments

The robotics company famous for building BigDog, a four-legged robot that moves in a fashion that is both strange and disturbingly life-like, has added arms to its two-legged variant, PETMAN. A new video from Boston Dynamics shows in the anthromorphic robot in motion.

Diode lasers may vie with LEDs for lighting supremacy

October 26, 2011 7:15 am | News | Comments

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are widely accepted as a more efficient and reliable option than tungsten incandescent bulbs. But recent research at Sandia National Laboratories shows that humans are as comfortable with white light generated by diode lasers, which are more efficient than LEDs at higher amperages.

America’s defending champion solar car ready to race the world

October 11, 2011 2:16 pm | News | Comments

With a cutting-edge solar car, an advanced strategy and an intrepid 16-student race crew, the University of Michigan's national champion solar car team readies for the 1,800-mile World Solar Challenge in Australia on Oct. 16.

Eco aircraft to paint California skies green

September 21, 2011 8:08 am | News | Comments

Vying for a $1.65 million purse, the largest aviation prize ever offered, competitors in the Green Flight Centennial Challenge will take to the air this weekend. To qualify, the electric, biofuel, and hybrid-powered planes must exceed 200 passenger miles per gallon, about double what even the best large commercial jets now achieve.

Novel superconductor fibers carry 40 times more electricity

September 7, 2011 8:11 am | News | Comments

A team from Tel Aviv University has developed superconducting wires using fibers made of single crystals of sapphire to be used in high powered cables. Factoring in temperature requirements, each tiny wire can carry approximately 40 times more electricity than a copper wire of the same size.

Ford and Toyota to collaborate on new hybrid system

August 22, 2011 12:11 pm | News | Comments

Two of the world’s top automakers have teamed up as equal partners to develop a hybrid drive system for rear-wheel-drive light trucks and SUVs.They will independently integrate the new hybrid system in their future vehicles separately.

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