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Assisting An Aging Population: Designing Medical Devices With Force Sensing Technology

With the geriatric population on the rise, design engineers are challenged with designing responsive, noninvasive, user-friendly medical devices that cater to the needs of an older generation. Patients are looking for cost-effective, easy to use assistive tools that help them regain independence and confidence in their everyday life. Force feedback is a key feature for many of these devices that provide the user and doctor with great insight that ultimately results in better quality of life for the patient. Medical devices with force feedback allow design engineers to create innovative products that differentiate them from the competition. 

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Electronics

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Micro-Tentacles Help Robots Handle Delicate Objects

Engineers from Iowa State University developed micro-tentacles that enable robots to handle delicate objects. “Most robots use two fingers. To pick things up, they have to squeeze,” said Jaeyoun (Jay) Kim, an Iowa State University associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. “But these tentacles wrap around very gently.”

Posted in: News

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NASA Tests Aircraft Wing Coatings that Slough Bug Guts

Bug guts create drag, and drag increases fuel consumption. But aircraft of the future could be made more fuel-efficient with non-stick coatings NASA recently tested on Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 757. NASA and Boeing engineers tested non-stick wing coatings designed to shed insect residue and help reduce aircraft fuel consumption. Researchers assessed how well five different coatings worked to prevent insect remains from sticking to the leading edge of the airplane's right wing.

Posted in: News

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Fuel Cell Carts Deliver Power to Airplane Galleys

Airplane galleys consume a huge amount of power. Additional power units may soon come to the rescue: housed inside trolley carts in the galleys, these units deliver both supplemental power and thus uncouple the power to the cabin and the kitchen from power supplied to the rest of the aircraft. In addition, the cart does not need new approval every time the airplane gets a retrofit or a facelift.

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System Lets Drones Fly Autonomously and Learn New Routes

Drones, say goodbye to pilots. With the goal of achieving autonomous flight of these aerial vehicles, researchers developed a vision and learning system to control and navigate them without relying on a GPS signal or trained personnel. The method estimates the position and orientation of the vehicle, allowing it to recognize its environment, replacing the GPS location system with low-cost sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and camcorders.

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Will seaplanes take flight?

This week's Question: As global air traffic increases and airports expand, researchers from Imperial College London's Department of Aeronautics have developed a design concept for a medium to long-range seaplane. The proposed design, the Imperial College team says, may reduce the pressure on inland airports, lower noise pollution, and the halt the need for extensive infrastructure. The design has a V-shape hull, inspired by the flying boat aircraft the 1940s. The hull provides buoyancy and navigability as the plane lands and take off from the water. The team says their concept seaplane design would have the capacity to carry up to 2000 passengers at a time. In an interview with CNN, Dr. Errikos Levis, a researcher in the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London, said he doesn't believe seaplanes would replace land planes or match their current fuel efficiency, and it would take a decade for the design to become a reality. What do you think? Will seaplanes take flight?

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Who's Who at NASA: Kurt Leucht, Command & Control Software Developer

Kurt Leucht, Command & Control Software Developer, Kennedy Space Center, Florida Project Lead Kurt Leucht has spent recent months testing the software of NASA's "Swarmie" robots. Using an evolving genetic algorithm, the robots operate as connected, ant-like swarms. The technology could prove to be valuable as humans explore harsh, remote, or inaccessible locations where teleoperation and resource gathering is required.

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