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New Life for 3D Printing

April 19, 2012 12:03 pm | by James F. Bredt, PhD, Chief Materials Scientist, Viridis3D LLC, Lowell, Mass. | Articles | Comments

Mature additive manufacturing technologies present new opportunities for R&D prototypes, high-end manufacturing facilities, and hobbyists alike.

Finding ET may require giant robotic leap

April 18, 2012 12:36 pm | News | Comments

Autonomous, self-replicating robots—exobots—are the way to explore the universe, find and identify extraterrestrial life and perhaps clean up space debris in the process, according to a Penn State engineer, who notes that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence—SETI—is in its 50th year.

Digital manufacturing leaders Stratasys and Objet to merge

April 18, 2012 5:52 am | News | Comments

Stratasys, Inc., a manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems for prototyping and manufacturing applications, and privately-held Objet Ltd., a manufacturer of 3D printers for rapid prototyping, have approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies would combine in an all-stock transaction worth approximately $1.4 billion.

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Report: Diesel technologies drastically cut emissions

April 18, 2012 5:34 am | News | Comments

New research from North Carolina State University shows that federal requirements governing diesel engines of new tractor trailer trucks have resulted in major cuts in emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides—pollutants that have significant human health and environmental impacts.

Engine testing company to open facility in Purdue Research Park

April 13, 2012 4:25 am | News | Comments

The 725-acre Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette is the largest university-affiliated incubation complex in the country, and will soon get larger as Automotive Robotics Proving Labs Inc. plans to open a nearly 50,000-square-foot engine test facility and create 30 jobs.

Study ties oil, gas production to Midwest quakes

April 9, 2012 8:28 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

According to findings by the U.S. Geological Survey, the rate of earthquakes in the United States’ midsection has jumped six-fold from the late 20th century through last year, and the changes are "almost certainly man-made." Most of the earthquakes resulting from drilling activities are relatively mold, falling into the magnitude 3 range on the Richter scale.

Robotic hand is powerful yet delicate

April 2, 2012 4:58 am | News | Comments

Pouring juice into a plastic cup can be a great challenge to a robot, which must hold a glass bottle firmly, yet gently grasp the cup. Researchers at Saarland University in Germany together with associates in Bologna and Naples have developed a robotic hand that can accomplish both tasks with ease using a device scarcely larger than a human arm.

Amazon CEO plans to raise sunken Apollo 11 engines

March 29, 2012 1:42 pm | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Using sonar, an expedition spearheaded by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has discovered what he claimed were discarded engines from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission lurking 14,000 feet deep. In an online announcement Wednesday, Bezos said he is drawing up plans to recover the sunken engines, jettisoned from the mighty Saturn V rocket just minutes after launch.

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Cameron: Earth's deepest spot desolate, foreboding

March 26, 2012 7:57 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

The Deepsea Challenger successfully reached the bottom of the Marianas Trench recently, a place only two others had ever gone. On board the vessel, filmmaker James Cameron spent more than three hours at the bottom, longer than the 20 minutes Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard spent in the only other visit 52 years ago.

James Cameron, others to explore the real abyss

March 16, 2012 5:39 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Earth's lost frontier is about to be explored firsthand after more than half a century. In the next several days, James Cameron, the director of "Titanic," ''Avatar" and "The Abyss," plans to dive to the deepest part of the ocean, so deep that the pressure is the equivalent of three SUVs sitting on your toe.

3D printer with nano precision

March 13, 2012 5:41 am | News | Comments

Printing 3D objects with incredibly fine details is now possible using two-photon lithography. With this technology, tiny structures on a nanometer scale can be fabricated. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have now made a breakthrough in speeding up this printing technique: The high-precision 3D printer at TU Vienna is orders of magnitude faster than similar devices.

Robotic cheetah sets speed record

March 6, 2012 8:39 am | News | Comments

It won’t keep up with the real thing, but a robotic cat build for DARPA has just set a speed record for legged robots by cruising at 18 miles per hour. Boston Dynamics, known for its Big Dog and Petman projects, built the robot and intends to demonstrate a free-running prototype later this year.

Mass-production technique enables robotic insects to spring to life

February 15, 2012 10:28 am | News | Comments

A new technique inspired by elegant pop-up books and origami will soon allow clones of robotic insects to be mass-produced by the sheet. Devised by engineers at Harvard University, the layering and folding process enables the rapid fabrication of not just microrobots, but a broad range of electromechanical devices.

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Swiss to craft janitor satellites to grab space junk

February 15, 2012 7:51 am | by John Heilprin, Associated Press | News | Comments

Near-Earth space is full of junk. NASA keeps close tabs on at least 16,000 objects larger than 10 cm in diameter. In an effort to tidy up the mess, the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (EPFL) is building an $11 million satellite called CleanSpaceOne that will force debris toward Earth, burning it up in the atmosphere.

R & D in the 1970s

February 15, 2012 6:30 am | by R&D Editors | Articles | Comments

As integrated circuits and environmentally friendly technologies emerged, R&D 100 Award winners set the pace.

Alcoa announces restart of iconic forging press in Cleveland

February 15, 2012 3:04 am | News | Comments

With a $100 million dollar investment beginning in 2009, Alcoa embarked on a complete redesign and modernization of a 50,000-ton forging press. The 92-foot structure, with five stories above and seven below the ground, began production in 1955 and is one of just five left in the United States.

LHC to run a 4 TeV per beam in 2012

February 14, 2012 4:23 am | News | Comments

CERN announced that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will run with a beam energy of 4 TeV this year, 0.5 TeV higher than in 2010 and 2011. This decision was also accompanied by a strategy to optimize LHC running to deliver the maximum possible amount of data in 2012 before the LHC goes into a long shutdown to prepare for higher energy running.

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”.

Russian scientists reach lake under Antarctica

February 8, 2012 7:06 am | by Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

After more than two decades of drilling in Antarctica, a team of scientists have finished boring 3.8 km to the surface of Lake Vostok, a body of water that has remained in isolation at the bottom of the Antarctic ice cap for more than 20 million years.

New ideas sharpen focus for greener aircraft

January 30, 2012 10:36 am | News | Comments

Teams from three of the top United States aerospace corporations have spent the last year studying how to meet NASA’s sustainability goals for cleaner, more efficient aircraft. Among the requirements that prompted adventurous design work from the companies was a 50% reduction in fuel consumption and a 75% reduction in harmful emissions.

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.

New regression models to predict service life of wastewater pipelines

January 23, 2012 11:50 am | News | Comments

Civil engineers at Syracuse University have developed various statistical prediction models using data obtained from the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, to generate deterioration models for wastewater pipes. The models, when adapted to a given system, is intended to facilitate a proactive approach to pipeline replacements and maintenance.

Automatic tracking optimizes manual assembly

January 5, 2012 11:47 am | News | Comments

Manufacturing inspectors usually time procedures manually in order to organize manual assembly operations efficiently. This method is prone to error. A new system invented in Germany records times automatically, helping to costs for companies.

Research could improve laser-manufacturing technique

December 19, 2011 12:11 pm | News | Comments

Engineers have discovered details about the behavior of ultrafast laser pulses that may lead to new applications in manufacturing, diagnostics, and other research.

Stress causes clogs in coffee and coal

December 15, 2011 3:46 am | News | Comments

Scientists still aren't sure what causes clogs in flowing macroscopic particles, but new experiments suggest that when particles undergo a force called shear strain, they jam sooner than expected. Nuts, coffee and coal inherently produce this type of movement, but many hoppers and other dispensers aren’t engineered for it.

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