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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.

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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.

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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.

NIF achieves record ramp-compression pressures

December 12, 2011 9:55 am | News | Comments

In the first university-based planetary science experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), researchers have gradually compressed a diamond sample to a record pressure of 50 Mbar (50 million times Earth's atmospheric pressure).

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Lab and industry partner in new lithography tools at the ALS

December 6, 2011 8:55 am | News | Comments

Through the Center for X-Ray Optics, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and leading semiconductor manufacturers have mutually invested in major new facilities at the Advanced Light Source for advanced extreme-ultraviolet lithography, including clean rooms, wafer processing facilities, and microlithography test tools too costly for individual manufacturers.

ONR-funded guided rockets hit fast-moving targets in test

November 30, 2011 3:44 am | News | Comments

A weapon prototype developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) successfully hit two high-speed boat targets during recent testing. ONR researchers produced the Low-Cost Imaging Terminal Seeker, a suite of low-cost technologies that modify existing helicopter-borne rockets into precision-guided weapons.

3D printer used to make bone-like material

November 30, 2011 3:06 am | by Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer | News | Comments

It looks like bone. It feels like bone. For the most part, it acts like bone. And it came off an inkjet printer. Washington State University researchers have used a 3D printer to create a bone-like material and structure that can be used in orthopedic procedures, dental work, and to deliver medicine for treating osteoporosis.

NASA launching 'dream machine' to explore Mars

November 23, 2011 8:02 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

As big as a car and as well-equipped as a laboratory, NASA's newest Mars rover blows away its predecessors in size and skill. Powered by plutonium, Curiosity will be lowered to the Martian surface by a jet pack and tether system similar to those used by sky cranes.

Pilotless planes fly with help of drone phone

November 8, 2011 7:13 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Imagine controlling an airplane in flight just by holding your iPhone out in front of you: tilting it in the direction you want the plane to travel, or raising it to make the plane fly higher. Or tapping a point on a map on the screen, and having the plane automatically fly to the designated spot. Now, imagine if the plane itself were a continent away from where you're doing this iPhone-based controlling. What might seem like a figment of the imagination is actually fact.

Advanced mathematical techniques enable better AUV navigation

November 8, 2011 3:42 am | by Nancy Stauffer, MIT Energy Initiative | News | Comments

Since the 1970s, when early autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, scientists there have tackled various barriers to the design of robots that can travel autonomously in the deep ocean. Part two of the four-part series examines how advanced mathematical techniques enable AUVs to survey large, complex, and cluttered seascapes.

Mask-bot: A robot with a human face

November 7, 2011 7:22 am | News | Comments

A prototype of a new robot face that teams in Germany and Japan have developed ingeniously solves the problem of how to make realistic human features from a variety of angles. A projector accurately beams a human face onto the back of the mask, changing the face on demand.

China spacecraft dock together in orbit over Earth

November 3, 2011 4:57 am | by Gillian Wong, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Shenzhou 8 craft that was launched by China Tuesday docked today with the already orbiting Tiangong 1 module. The maneuver puts the country closer to manning its own space station, which could occur within the next decade. The U.S. and Russia are the only other countries to master the space docking technique.

Tank robot drives itself up the wall

November 2, 2011 12:54 pm | News | Comments

Researchers in the U.K. have built a tank-like robot that has the ability to scale smooth walls. It gets its ability from tiny mushroom cap-shaped fibers on its treads that use van der Waals forces to adhere to flat surfaces. Inspired by the feet of geckos, the robot could find use in power plants or search and rescue.

Sandia's Annular Core Research Reactor conducts 10,000th operation

November 2, 2011 5:07 am | News | Comments

With a muffled "pop," a flash of blue light, and a few ripples through 14,000 gallons of deionized water, Sandia National Laboratories' Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) recently conducted its 10,000th operation.

Toyota shows machines to help sick, elderly move

November 1, 2011 11:13 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

On Tuesday, the auto giant Toyota showcased experimental robots that can help disabled patients work, or even get up out of bed. The company intends to commercialize its walk-assist products sometime after 2013.

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.

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