Enhancing the resilience of the American electricity system

July 21st, 2017 Engineering

With growing risks to the nation’s electrical grid from natural disasters and as a potential target for malicious attacks, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should work closely with utility operators and other stakeholders to improve cyber and physical security and resilience, says a new congressionally mandated report.

New type of soft, growing robot created

July 21st, 2017 Engineering

A newly developed vine-like robot can grow across long distances without moving its whole body. It could prove useful in search and rescue operations and medical applications.

Variable Valve Timing Explained: An Appreciation of How Quickly Engines Operate

July 20th, 2017 Automotive, Engineering

From the August 2017 issue When it comes to the many variables of combustion inside an engine, engineers measure the timing of key events in degrees of crankshaft rotation, a relative frame of reference that remains constant without needing to compensate for the engine’s changing rpm. Absent a familiar, conventional time scale, it’s easy to […]

Novel 3-d printing process strengthens parts by 275 percent

July 20th, 2017 Engineering

A new way to make 3-D printed parts stronger and immediately useful in real-world applications has been revealed by researchers. They applied the traditional welding concepts to bond the submillimeter layers in a 3-D printed part together, while in a microwave.

New algorithm, metrics improve autonomous underwater vehicles’ energy efficiency

July 20th, 2017 Engineering

Robotics researchers have found a way for autonomous underwater vehicles to navigate strong currents with greater energy efficiency, which means the AUVs can gather data longer and better.

Toward 20-Story Earthquake-Safe Buildings Made From Wood

July 20th, 2017 Engineering

A two-story wooden structure endured four different earthquake simulations on July 14, 2017 on the world’s largest outdoor shake table here in San Diego. And it’s still standing before more tests in the coming weeks. The goal of the tests is to gather enough data to design wood buildings as tall as 20 stories that do not suffer significant damage during large earthquakes. That is, not only can occupants leave the building unharmed, but they can come back and resume living in the building shortly after a temblor.

Folding robots: No battery, no wire, no problem

July 19th, 2017 Engineering

Folding robots based on origami have emerged as an exciting new frontier of robotic design, but generally require onboard batteries or a wired connection to a power source, limiting their functionality. Scientist have now created battery-free folding robots that are capable of complex, repeatable movements powered and controlled through a wireless magnetic field.

Robotics-based study provides insight into predator-prey interactions

July 19th, 2017 Engineering

Scientists have put forth a robotics-based study to control information flow in predator-prey interactions, as well as test the validity of transfer entropy when attempting to understand causal influences of the system.

Empowering robots for ethical behavior

July 18th, 2017 Engineering

Scientists have developed a concept called Empowerment to help robots to protect and serve humans, while keeping themselves safe. Rather than trying to make a machine understand complex ethical questions, the concept is based on robots always seeking to keep their options open, and doing the same for the humans around them.

Virtual laboratory: Fast, flexible and exact

July 18th, 2017 Engineering

During the forming process, sheet metal materials are often stressed to their limits. Computer simulations are used to test how far it is possible to go in production. However, the simulation is only ever as exact as the data on which it is based. Scientists have now developed a virtual test laboratory that allows them to examine different load states for metal materials and determine precise mechanical data.

Hundred-year-old law on fluid flow overturned by research

July 18th, 2017 Engineering

Engineers have dispelled a 100-year-old scientific law used to describe how fluid flows through rocks. The discovery could lead to a range of improvements including advances in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). This is where industrial emissions will be captured by CCS technology, before reaching the atmosphere, and safely stored in rock deep underground.

Helping robots learn to see in 3-D

July 14th, 2017 Engineering

While it’s relatively straightforward for robots to ‘see’ objects with cameras and other sensors, interpreting what they see, from a single glimpse, is difficult. New technology enables robots to spot a new object and recognize what it is, whether it is right side up or upside down, without examining it from multiple angles. It can also fill in the blind spots in its field of vision and ‘imagine’ any parts that are hidden from view.

Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

July 13th, 2017 Engineering

A model system has been presented by researchers that allows the investigation of atomic-scale friction effects and friction dynamics that are similar to those taking place, for instance, in proteins, DNA strands and other deformable nanocontacts. This model system consists of laser-cooled ions, which arrange themselves in so-called Coulomb crystals.

Testing a soft artificial heart

July 13th, 2017 Engineering

A silicone heart has been developed that beats almost like a human heart. Researchers have now tested how well it works.

Granular media friction explained: Da Vinci would be proud

July 12th, 2017 Engineering

There is a very peculiar dynamics of granular matter, such as dry sand or grains of wheat. When these granular particles are left on a vibrating solid surface, they are not only subject to random vibrations, they are also under the spell of solid friction forces. In a new study published, researchers have extended our understanding of this problem.

News laser design offers more inexpensive multi-color output

July 11th, 2017 Engineering

A more cost-effective laser design has been created that outputs multi-color lasing and offers a step forward in chip-based lasers and miniaturization. The findings could allow encrypted, encoded, redundant and faster information flow in optical fibers, as well as multi-color medical imaging of diseased tissue in real time.

Spontaneous system follows rules of equilibrium

July 10th, 2017 Engineering

A new discovery could be the beginning of a general framework of rules for seemingly unpredictable non-equilibrium systems, explain researchers.

Brain-computer interfaces revolutionized using silicon electronics

July 10th, 2017 Engineering

An implanted brain-interface device could transform the lives of people with neurodegenerative diseases or people who are hearing and visually impaired, suggest researchers.

In the fast lane: Conductive electrodes are key to fast-charging batteries

July 10th, 2017 Engineering

Can you imagine fully charging your cell phone in just a few seconds? Researchers can, and they took a big step toward making it a reality with their recent work unveiling of a new battery electrode design.

New way to produce pure hydrogen efficiently

July 9th, 2017 Engineering

A new low-temperature catalyst has been created for producing high-purity hydrogen gas while simultaneously using up carbon monoxide.