Google may be gearing up to build robots that resemble props in science-fiction movies as the ambitious Internet company expands into yet another technological frontier. To gather the expertise and research it needs, Google has purchased eight companies that specialize in robotics this year. The acquisitions are being assembled into a new robotics division headed by Andy Rubin, who oversaw Google's development of Android.
The Titan Arm, a robotic device invented by Univ. of Pennsylvania engineering students, looks and sounds like part of a superhero's costume. But its creators say it's designed for ordinary people—those who need either physical rehabilitation or a little extra muscle for their job. The arm can help its wearer carry an additional 40 pounds.
Professor Ken Naitoh of Waseda Univ.'s Faculty of Science and Engineering has discovered a new compressive combustion principle that could yield engines with a much higher level of thermal efficiency: up to 60% or more in applications including automobiles, power generation and aircraft.
Two of the key instruments aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars are the CheMin, a mineral sample analyzer, and the ChemCam, a spectroscopic imaging system. Both systems require precise, fast motion control, capable of surviving a harsh environment. Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers found a solution with piezo-based technology from Physik Instrumente and miCos. But first it would need to pass rigorous testing.
Hydromat collets from Hardinge are manufactured to rigid specifications including material, heat treatment and accuracy for the high-production environment. Every Hydromat collet’s thread, back bearing, taper gage line and spread are manufactured with dedicated gages.
Clippard Instrument Laboratory’s new PQ-FV In-Line Flow Controls can be easily added to existing circuitry and are lightweight and compact in size. The PQ-C Elbow Controls are ideal for low cost and lightweight applications when mounting directly to an NPT port on a cylinder or valve is required.
A new maritime propulsion technology called the RudderPod, which steers independently of the main propulsion unit, could save up to half a million euros in fuel costs, according to the TRIPOD research project collaborators in Europe who plan to retrofit the new system to a ship for testing. The project aims to improve propeller efficiency as well by integrating RudderPod with new types of propellers.
The National Science Foundation, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA, has announced new investments totaling approximately $38 million for the development and use of robots that cooperatively work with people to enhance individual human capabilities, performance and safety.
In recent years, the development of devices known as plasma actuators has advanced the promise of controlling flows in new ways that increase lift, reduce drag and improve aerodynamic efficiencies. A Univ. of Florida team has been engineering their own variety, called serpentine plasma actuators, which imparts a greater level of versatility in flow control.
Chinese scientists described the country's first moon rover on Wednesday and invited the global public to come up with a name for it. The rover has two wings, stands on six wheels, weighs 140 kg and will be powered by solar energy. It will soft-land on the moon after a launch aboard the spacecraft Chang'e-3 in December.
The Meyer Klean-In-Place II rotary airlock feeder is a special purpose valve suited for dairy, pharmaceutical, food, baking, chemical, paint and powder coating applications. The design allows the valve to be thoroughly cleaned, sanitized and inspected in a short time.
In May 2009, the Mars rover Spirit cracked through a crusty layer of Martian topsoil, sinking into softer underlying sand. The unexpected sand trap permanently mired the vehicle. The mission mishap may have been prevented by a better understanding of terramechanics, which describes the interaction between vehicles and deformable terrain.
As cars become more like PCs on wheels, what's to stop a hacker from taking over yours? In recent demonstrations, hackers have shown they can slam a car's brakes at freeway speeds, jerk the steering wheel and even shut down the engine — all from their laptop computers. The hackers are...
Though nanosatellites already borrow several components, including cameras and radios, from terrestrial gadgets, propulsion systems have to be built from scratch. Researchers are working on electrospray ionic liquid “rockets”, but the microscopic needles they require are difficult and tedious to make. A researcher has found a way to let nature do the work, simplifying the fabrication process.
The largest 3-D printed rocket engine component NASA hsa ever tested blazed to life Thursday, Aug. 22 during an engine firing that generated a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. This test is a milestone for one of many important advances the agency is making to reduce the cost of space hardware.
Electron beam (e-beam) lithography enables researchers to write very small patterns on large substrates with a high level of precision. In the Nano3 cleanroom facility at the Univ. of California, San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute, a new Vistec e-beam writer is helping to develop nanoscale transistors for integrated electronics, as well as neural probes for brain diagnostics.
Imagine stepping into a car-sized capsule in downtown Los Angeles and, 30 min later, emerging in San Francisco On Monday, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled a transportation concept that he said could whisk passengers the nearly 400 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 min—half the time it takes an airplane. If it's ever built.
Twice as fast as an airplane, cheaper than a bullet train and completely self-powered: that's the mysterious transportation system that inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk is promising to reveal design plans for Monday. Musk has been dropping hints about his "Hyperloop" system for more than a year, mentioning that it could never crash, would be immune to weather and would move people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour.
Kirobo—derived from the Japanese words for "hope" and "robot"—was among five tons of supplies and machinery on a rocket launched Sunday from Tanegashima in southwestern Japan. The childlike robot was designed to be a companion for astronaut Koichi Wakata and will communicate with another robot on Earth, according to developers.
Available in 3-way and 4-way configurations, Clippard’s new HV-HTV valves offer the same features as other Minimatic brass valves. These valves feature #10-32 inlet and outlet ports and are available as toggle or stem actuated, in addition to cartridge styles. Flows to 15 scfm @ 100 psig are available.
Researchers are now designing robots for the last frontier of agricultural mechanization: fruits and vegetables. Sensitive to bruising, these crops have resisted mechanization. But engineers from Silicon Valley have been working on the Lettuce Bot, which can thin a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 works to do the job by hand.
ASM has issued a product catalog for its POSITAPE line of tape extension position sensors. All available sensors are presented in detail, with available measuring lengths of 250 and 20.000 mm. Tape extension sensors are suited for installation in cranes, excavators, forklifts, hydraulic ramps, hoists and industrial automation with high duty cycles.
Honda's robotics technology, although among the most advanced for mobility, has come under fire as lacking practical applications and being little more than an expensive toy. The latest example is its walking, talking interactive Asimo robot, which is now acting as a museum guide in Tokyo. In addition to glitches that have interrupted its operation, it lacks voice recognition.
In recent years, formation control of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles has an important aerospace research topic. Engineers in China have recently investigated the trophallactic—or fluid exchange by direct contact—swarming behavior exhibited by a variety of animals, including birds and insects. By imitating that behavior and considering the communication requirements of the network control system, a new network control method was proposed.
This week, Sandia National Laboratories is hosting the seventh annual Western National Robot Rodeo and Capability Exercise, a challenging five-day event that draws civilian and military bomb squad teams from across the country to see who can most effectively defuse dangerous situations with the help of robots. The competition provides an opportunity to practice using robots and new technology in a low-risk, but competitive environment.