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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.

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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.

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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.

LHC proton run for 2011 reaches successful conclusion

November 1, 2011 4:35 am | News | Comments

After some 180 days of running and four hundred trillion proton proton collisions, the Large Hadron Collider's (LHC's) 2011 proton run came to an end at 5:15 p.m., October 30, 2011. For the second year running, the LHC team has largely surpassed its operational objectives, steadily increasing the rate at which the LHC has delivered data to the experiments.

Robot roach sheds light on evolution of flight

October 18, 2011 5:32 am | News | Comments

When engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, outfitted a six-legged robotic bug with wings in an effort to improve its mobility, they unexpectedly shed some light on the evolution of flight.

All for one, 'R-one' for all

October 11, 2011 12:44 pm | News | Comments

Robots for everyone. That's James McLurkin's dream, and as the director of a Rice University robotics laboratory, he's creating an inexpensive and sophisticated robot called the "R-one" to make the dream a reality.

Contract awarded for ITER early delivery cooling water system equipment

October 10, 2011 4:49 am | News | Comments

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has awarded a $13.2 million task order to AREVA Federal Services for fabrication of five drain tanks for the ITER tokamak cooling water system. ITER is an international project to demonstrate the feasibility of commercial fusion energy.

Dark and bright: ESA chooses next two science missions

October 5, 2011 5:42 am | News | Comments

The powerful influence of the Sun and the nature of mysterious dark energy motivate ESA’s next two science missions. Solar Orbiter will venture closer to the Sun than any previous mission, and Euclid will be a space telescope designed to map out the large-scale structure of the cosmos.

A robot brain implanted in a rodent

October 3, 2011 8:54 am | News | Comments

With new cutting-edge technology aimed at providing amputees with robotic limbs, a Tel Aviv University researcher has successfully implanted a robotic cerebellum into the skull of a rodent with brain damage, restoring its capacity for movement.

SpaceX to attempt fully reusable orbital booster

September 30, 2011 1:01 pm | by John Antczak, Associated Press | News | Comments

California space-launch entrepreneur Elon Musk said Thursday his company will try to develop an orbital booster system with components capable of flying back to Earth for reuse. The complexities of the engineering have canceled previous efforts by others.

Berkeley Lab tests cookstoves for Haiti

September 28, 2011 2:07 pm | by Sabin Russell | News | Comments

Engineers in California who developed the fuel-efficient Berkeley-Darfur Stove for refugee camps in central Africa are now in Haiti, evaluating inexpensive metal cookstoves for the displaced survivors of last year’s deadly earthquake.

Eco aircraft to paint California skies green

September 21, 2011 8:08 am | News | Comments

Vying for a $1.65 million purse, the largest aviation prize ever offered, competitors in the Green Flight Centennial Challenge will take to the air this weekend. To qualify, the electric, biofuel, and hybrid-powered planes must exceed 200 passenger miles per gallon, about double what even the best large commercial jets now achieve.

Researchers develop smarter robot arms

September 21, 2011 4:31 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

By combining two innovative algorithms developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers have built a new robotic motion-planning system that calculates much more efficient trajectories through free space. This will allow robots to execute tasks more efficiently and move more predictably.

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