With one of the fastest-aging populations in the world, Japan is using robotics to provide automated care solutions. The latest effort at RIKEN, a robot able to lift a human, relies on the first capacitance-type tactile sensors made entirely of rubber to provide the necessary soft touch.
Earlier this week, R&D Daily featured efforts by scientists in Scotland to ferret out fake whisky with spectrometry techniques. In Spain, chemists are going a different route to identify types of cava, a sparkling wine similar to champagne.
Organic light emitting diode (OLED) lighting has the potential to create cheap, pleasing light in unique, flexible form factors. However, the technology is immature and costly. Lux Research reports that OLED lighting costs will drop by more than an order of magnitude over the course of this decade. But the technology will still remain uncompetitive with other lighting options, and amount to a mere $58 million market in 2020.
Caltech researchers have revisited some of the fundamental assumptions that guided the wind industry for the past 30 years, and now believe that a new approach to wind farm design—one that places wind turbines close together instead of far apart—may provide significant efficiency gains.
A $2.5 million magnet that generates 500,000 times the force of the Earth’s magnetic field has recently debuted at Florida State University’s magnetics lab. The “split” design overcomes the structural limitations associated with resistive magnets. Four large elliptical ports allow researchers to access the magnet’s core without disrupting the magnetic field.
PEI-Genesis, Inc., an assembler of precision connectors and power supplies, announced that they have signed a global distribution agreement with Deutsch Aerospace, a manufacturer of electrical connectors for the industrial vehicle, mil aero, transportation, and oil and gas markets, to assemble their Mil and Civil Aeroconnector products.
Livermore Lab has signed a memorandum of understanding with SWAY, a renewable energy company, that has developed floating towers for wind turbines located in deep water. Though California has not yet approved offshore wind turbines, SWAY will launch a 1/5 scale prototype of the technology off the coast of Norway on June 10 to demonstrate how the system could work in the Pacific Ocean.
A researcher at Fraunhofer Institute in Germany had a flash of inspiration in 2002. He realized if he could stop the electromagnetic losses caused by the return of current between the output inductor and the input capacitor, he could reduce efficiency losses substantially. His invention resulted in the HERIC technology, which is now being licensed on a large scale.
Despite its reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse, China’s dominance in this area appears to be at risk, according to an analyst at the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association. Steeply rising wages, a shrinking cost advantage, and a dependence on producing cheaper goods indicate that China may be at less of an advantage than countries like the U.S. and Germany.
In stormy conditions, grid capacities are often insufficient to handle the electricity generated by wind turbines. To address this problem in Germany, engineers are experimenting with cylindrical sensor nodes that are clamped around transmission lines. These networked sensors can measure the current flow, temperature, wind, and other factors and relay them quickly through grid to help manage the power.
In tests of four different types of new refrigerators, NIST researchers found that ice makers, a common added feature, increased rated energy consumption by 12 to 20%. About three-fourths of that additional energy cost is due to the electric heaters used to release the ice bits from the molds, prompting the investigators to suggest several efficiency improvements.
A shortage of auto parts and other components after Japan's earthquake has stirred unease about two pillars of manufacturing: the country's role as a crucial link in the global supply chain and "just in time" production. The realization that these practices have made companies brittle in the face of natural disasters has some questioning current practices.
A Purdue Univ. researcher is proposing development of a new cross-disciplinary approach for analyzing and preventing systemic failures in complex systems that play a role in calamities ranging from huge power blackouts to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the subprime mortgage crisis.
2010 patent grants hit an all-time high, 31% over 2009. Once again, IBM tops the list as the first company to break 5,000 patents in a single year, and it did so handily. Other notable filers include Apple, Qualcomm, NEC, and SAP, all of which saw 70+% gains in patents this year.
On Thursday, the largest trade show of any kind will begin in Las Vegas. Apple, typically the elephant in the room at this event, will be absent this year. However, the company’s successful iPad tablet is driving forward a new segment of consumer electronics that in turn is fostering innovation in materials, electronics, and display technology.
W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Gore) has announced results of a study in which they compared the measurement uncertainty between vector network analyzers and time domain reflectometers. They designed an experiment which determined if both instruments possess similar levels of measurement precision.
Banner Engineering's FlexPower Solar Supply, BWA-SOLAR-001, includes an integrated charge controller, rechargeable battery pack, AC wall charger and mounting hardware for powering SureCross Wireless Network devices. The supply can be used in a variety of configurations.
With pressure to get new products to market, companies are faced with meeting rigorous standards and the time consuming development and testing to make their products market ready. Since the development process is time consuming, taking from months, up to years, there is no doubt that outside, unbiased help could be beneficial. When faced with deadlines, companies turn to contract laboratories to meet their needs.
Indesign provides electronic product design services. This includes full turn-key product development starting with concept development, continuing through detailed product design and prototyping, and finishing with production support. Indesign develops products for clients in a wide range of markets: medical, military, consumer, industrial, communications, and computer peripherals.
Gates control the opening and closing of these transistors, which are insulated from the gate by a dielectric. Intel Corp. (Santa Clara, Calif.) saw an opportunity to reduce this transistor leakage and developed the Intel 45 nm High-k Metal Gate Transistor Technology for its new 45-nm process chips.
AceLED, Alternating current light-emitting diode The LED is a semiconductor junction effect device that emits light under a direct current power source of the right polarity and voltage. Unfortunately, LEDs can often only be directly powered in an alternating current environment with bulky and inefficient AC-DC converter sub-asssemblies. With its AceLED, Industrial Technology Research Institute (Chutung, Hsinchu, Taiwan), has designed a way around this and other limitations.
4x4 MIMO RF Test System, RF test system The 4x4 MIMO RF Test System, from Keithley Instruments Inc. (Cleveland, Ohio), was designed to accommodate the growing test needs for next-generation systems and a wide range of communications standards.
Automotive LED Headlamps, LED headlamp Intensive development in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for general lighting has yet to yield the reduced energy consumption and long-life lighting necessary to replace incandescent bulbs. But for use in automotive applications, the LED has made great strides. Automotive LED Headlamps from Koito Manufacturing Co. (Tokyo, Japan) mark the first such devices fitted for low-beam use on a road vehicle, namely the 2007 Lexus LS600h/LS600hL.
Unwanted artifacts are unavoidable in electrical sampling because of non-ideal impedance matching. Typically, oscilloscopes used for sampling high-speed telecom use hardware-based clock recovery and trigger. It’s a costly and power-intensive solution that PicoSolve Inc. (Fogelsville, Penn.) and Chalmer Univ. of Technology (Gothenburg, Sweden) avoid with their Optical Sampling Oscilloscope.
Extreme voltage fluctuations, caused by electrical faults resulting in a drop in voltage, have the capacity to take down large sections of the power grid. The Grid Friendly Appliance Controller, developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, Mass.), operates within household appliances to reduce stress on the grid by automatically modifying power usage on the fly.