Plans to create the world's first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive were unveiled this week by the Coalition for Sustainable Rail, which has the goal of proving the viability of solid biofuel—torrefied biomass—and modern steam locomotive technology. The first step in those plans is to break the world speed record for steam trains.
After spending nearly five months conducting experiments in one spot, the NASA rover moved for the first time this week, rolling off the rock outcrop where it hunkered down for the Martian winter. Engineers will check its power supply before directing it north to study dust and bedrock.
Mineral oil is typically used as a cooling lubricant for machining hard metals and for tool-making machinery on which tools are manufactured, but engineers are now offering an alternative to fossil fuel-based oils that often transport very little heat. The new aqueous biopolymer solutions are actually based on water, which is no worse a lubricant than oil if the right additives are used.
If errors creep in during the assembly of components for automobiles, costly post-processing is often the consequence. Automatic testing is difficult, especially where individual products are concerned. Now, researchers in Germany are new testing system that is flexible and economical, even for smaller production runs.
InterTech Development Company has designed an in-line solution around the versatility of their M1075 leak tester. The new system shortens test cycle time and saves costs for diesel engine production lines by finding leaks faster.
Engineers at Stanford University have found a novel method for decorating nanowires with chains of tiny particles to increase their electrical and catalytic performance. The new technique is simpler, faster, and provide greater control than earlier methods and could lead to better batteries, solar cells, and catalysts.
A team of Rice University students has invented a machine designed to improve the process of correcting bone deformities in children. Typically, bone correction devices are manually operated, which children must remember to use and which introduces the possibility of damaging fragile tissues and nerves. The new automated linear lengthener avoids these risks.
Mature additive manufacturing technologies present new opportunities for R&D prototypes, high-end manufacturing facilities, and hobbyists alike.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.