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Cockroaches: Helping to fine-tune robots of the future

February 8, 2011 4:59 am | News | Comments

Ask anyone who has ever tried to squash a skittering cockroach—they're masters of quick and precise movement. Now Tel Aviv Univ. is using their maddening locomotive skills to improve robotic technology too.

Future surgeons may use robotic nurse

February 4, 2011 3:13 am | News | Comments

Surgeons of the future might use a system that recognizes hand gestures as commands to control a robotic scrub nurse or tell a computer to display medical images of the patient during an operation.

Helping to build the biggest-ever map of the universe

February 3, 2011 4:24 am | News | Comments

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) research and development center for ground-based astronomy, has announced its conditional approval of the BigBOSS Collaboration’s proposal to use 500 nights of valuable observing time on the NOAO 4?meter Mayall Telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona. The time would be used to build the biggest-ever map of the universe, for investigating the mysterious dark energy that permeates the universe.

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Air laser may sniff bombs, environmental pollutants from a distance

January 31, 2011 3:25 am | News | Comments

Princeton Univ. engineers have developed a new laser sensing technology that may allow soldiers to detect hidden bombs from a distance and scientists to better measure airborne environmental pollutants and greenhouse gasses.

Want robust robots? Let them be babies first

January 20, 2011 9:09 am | News | Comments

Want to build a really tough robot? Forget about Terminator . Instead, watch a tadpole turn into a frog. Or at least that’s not too far off from what Univ. of Vermont roboticist Josh Bongard has discovered . In a first-of-its-kind experiment, Bongard created both simulated and actual robots that, like tadpoles becoming frogs, change their body forms while learning how to walk. And, over generations, his simulated robots also evolved, spending less time in “infant” tadpole-like forms and more time in “adult” four-legged forms.

Free electron laser hits milestone

January 20, 2011 4:45 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Los Alamos National Lab, N.M., have achieved a remarkable breakthrough with the Office of Naval Research's Free Electron Laser (FEL) program, demonstrating an injector capable of producing the electrons needed to generate megawatt-class laser beams for the Navy's next-generation weapon system.

Mechanical Amazonian fish could pave way for highly agile underwater robots

January 19, 2011 4:31 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Northwestern Univ. have created a robotic fish that can move from swimming forward and backward to swimming vertically almost instantaneously by using a sophisticated, ribbon-like fin.

Reactor paves the way for efficiently producing fuel from sunlight

January 19, 2011 3:57 am | News | Comments

Using a common metal most famously found in self-cleaning ovens, Sossina Haile hopes to change our energy future. The metal is cerium oxide—or ceria—and it is the centerpiece of a promising new technology developed by Haile and her colleagues that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels.

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Toyota developing alternative electric motor

January 16, 2011 9:40 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The maker of the popular Prius hybrid car is developing a new type of electric motor to cut its dependence on rare earth metals and lower costs. The world’s No. 1 automaker hopes the new technology will free it from reliance on China, which produces 97% of the global output of rare earths.

Method discovered to determine when metals reach end of life

January 14, 2011 3:42 am | News | Comments

We live in a world almost completely dependent upon machinery. Since the creation of the simple wheel, humans have found ways to increase quality of life and advance scientific knowledge using these devices. Though the prevalence of machinery has benefited us, our dependence upon them has limitations. Everything that moves can and will break, especially metals under strain. And when they fail, the consequences can be catastrophic. LSU's Michael Khonsari has developed and proven a novel method to avoid the danger that comes with reaching the breaking point.

Nano-laser developed for medicine and electronics

January 13, 2011 4:28 am | News | Comments

Lasers have revolutionized the communications and medical industries. However, the physical length of an ordinary laser cannot be less than one half of the wavelength of its light, which limits its application in many industries. Now the Spaser, a new invention developed in part by Tel Aviv Univ., can be as small as needed to fuel nano-technologies of the future.

Cockroach inspires robotic hand to get a grip

January 11, 2011 3:46 am | News | Comments

A new type of mechanical hand developed by researchers at Harvard and Yale promises to solve the issue of overthinking. In a makeover inspired by cockroach legs, the engineers chose not to make their robotic hand smarter, but to redesign its form to suit a dumb robot.

Prototyping here to stay, in 3-D

September 22, 2010 9:55 am | by Paul Livingstone | Blogs | Comments

Industry hates the cost of prototyping, but when it does need to create one, it needs to do so quickly. The rise of rapid prototyping machines, such as 3-D printers, has gone some way to address this problem, but it might instead transform manufacturing methods themselves.

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Spindle company to adopt wireless maintenance system

August 26, 2010 6:12 am | Product Releases | Comments

GTI Spindle Technology is partnering with InCheck Technologies to demonstrate InSite – a new online wireless predictive maintenance system – at a conference at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, Ill., Sept. 13-18. InSite provides data collection, storage, and processing facilities for condition and performance monitoring.

The invisible stop and start

August 11, 2010 5:16 am | Award Winners

Hybrid vehicles have the ability to stop an engine at idle and restart again automatically to contribute considerably to overall fuel economy. Toyota Motor Corp., with development assistance from a number of companies, has engineered the Permanently Engaged Gear Starting Mechanism for Stop & Start system to help streamline the integration of this capability into future vehicles.

Precision machining in minutes

August 11, 2010 4:46 am | Award Winners

Today’s large machine tools must be carefully calibrated to perform increasingly complex tasks, but diagnosing errors can be frustrating. A partnership led by Automated Precision Inc. has pioneered a methodology, Volumetric Error Compensation (VEC), to address the need for improving close tolerance and working accuracy.

Mobility made tougher and cheaper

August 11, 2010 4:24 am | Award Winners

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Mobility Lab has developed the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), which is both maneuverable within the home and can travel long distances on rough roads rural or developing areas.

Wave modulation supercharges drilling

August 11, 2010 4:13 am | Award Winners

TriboMAM, from M4 Sciences LLC and Purdue University, is an industrial drilling system for computer-controlled machine tools that is based on the theory of modulation-assisted machining, which involves the introduction of a sinusoidal motion into the physics of mechanical drilling.

Covering the photon bases

August 10, 2010 1:00 pm | Award Winners

Requirements for efficient, high-speed, photon counting receivers have driven communication waveform and receiver design. MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has introduced a Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detector Array that is able to substantially improve this ability by using multiple nanowires.

Imaging a miniature star

August 10, 2010 12:52 pm | Award Winners

The goal of the National Ignition Campaign is to produce small thermonuclear explosions from material compressed to conditions near those at the centers of stars. GATOR - Grating Actuated Transient Optical Recorder was developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to capture 2D images in trillionths of a second.

Crash Course

June 7, 2010 1:00 pm | by SIMULIA | Articles | Comments

Building a better crash dummy requires sophisticated data management tools and methods.

Phase Shift

April 13, 2010 9:04 am | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

The high-vacuum market is difficult to comprehend from a brief glance. Segmentation is substantial, as would be expected from a billion-dollar industry. But what really challenges manufacturers of this type of equipment are the differing requirements of the customers.

imec virtual camera delivers new angle on reality

April 12, 2010 4:48 am | Product Releases | Comments

Imec Virtual Camera turns the input from fixed cameras into a 3D space where a director or cameraman has total freedom to choose any angle or distance to the action.

America’s Cup winner trounces “tradition” with technology

February 16, 2010 8:38 am | Blogs | Comments

A fine sail off the coast of Spain is hardly the reality for most Americans, who have been locked in a snowy wonderland for months. But that's apparently where the technology is: the USA 17 that brought home the America's Cup for the first time in 23 years could be the most advanced sailboat ever built.

Beyond Plug-and-Play

January 7, 2010 2:46 am | by Bill Kennedy | Application Notes

Computer-based machining systems make basic metalcutting a largely plug-and-play process. In most cases, a 3-D CAD file run through a CAM package and posted to a CNC machine tool will produce a part that resembles the original model.

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