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The Less is More Approach to Robotic Cable Management

In recent years, cable management has come into the limelight because machine reliability has increased dramatically, even though robots have grown more complex. Unfortunately, the methods used to attach and guide cables have not quite followed suit. While managing cables and hoses is often an afterthought in most designs, it is truly a vital part of any well-functioning robot.

Posted in: White Papers

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Energy Chain® Cable Carriers: The Right Material for Any Application

Cable carriers are often an afterthought for many design engineers, but many times, they are the key to protecting vital cables and hoses on automated machinery. Cable carriers can be considered the lifeline that keeps a machine running. They not only guide the cables and hoses, but protect against harsh external elements, including dirt and dust, flying debris, chemicals and excessive heat.

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TechTalk Design Advice Series: The Cable Distribution Rules You Need To Obey

The key advantage of a cable carrier is that bus and motor cables, pneumatics, electrics and hydraulics can all be guided safely in one system. However, correctly arranging each cable and hose within your chosen cable carrier according to the recommended spacing requirements is vital if you want to prolong the service life of your system.

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Researchers Turn Packing Peanuts into Battery Parts

While setting up their new lab, Purdue University researchers ended up with piles of packing peanuts. Professor Vilas Pol suggested an environmentally friendly way to reuse the waste.The team converted their lab's extra packing peanuts into high-performance carbon electrodes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The batteries outperform conventional graphite electrodes. Carbon-nanoparticle and microsheet anodes were built from polystyrene and starch-based packing peanuts, respectively.Packing peanuts, though valuable for shipping, are difficult to break down and often end up in landfills. The polystyrene peanuts also contain chemicals and detergents that can contaminate soil and aquatic ecosystems.With the Purdue method, the peanuts are heated between 500 and 900 degrees Celsius in a furnace under inert atmosphere, and in the presence or absence of a transition metal salt catalyst. The resulting material is then processed into the anodes.Commercial anode particles are about 10 times thicker than the new anodes and have higher electrical resistance, which increase charging time. The Purdue method is potentially practical for large-scale manufacturing."In our case, if we are lithiating this material during the charging of a battery it has to travel only 1 micrometer distance, so you can charge and discharge a battery faster than your commercially available material," Pol said.Future work will include steps to potentially improve performance by increasing the surface area and pore size to improve the electrochemical performance.SourceAlso: Learn about an Optical Fiber for Solar Cells.

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Carolyn Parcheta, NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

     A geologist by training, Carolyn Parcheta had an idea in July of 2013 to develop a robot that explores and measures the shape of volcanic fissures. She worked with engineering teams at JPL to develop the VolcanoBot. In May 2014, the robot explored Mauna Ulu on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone in Hawaii. A smaller, more compact version, VolcanoBot 2, will return early this month.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Will self-driving cars be ready for the road this summer?

This week's Question: Last week, Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, said that the electric car maker would introduce autonomous technology, an autopilot mode, by this summer; the technology will allow drivers to have their vehicles take control on major roads and highways. The CEO also announced that a software update for the Model S will be rolled out in 90 days and give Tesla owners new safety features, including automatic emergency braking and blind-spot and side-collision warnings. Some industry experts, however, are skeptical that such autonomous driving is legal and meets current regulations. Although some states have passed laws legalizing autonomous vehicles, those laws address the testing of driverless cars, not their use by consumers. What do you think?

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SWaP-C and Why Your Component Partner Matters

Is SWaP-C important to your project? Then working with the right contract manufacturer is critical to your success. From knowing the unique requirements of military requirements to having the capabilities to maximize component functionality, the right partner for your project can help you decrease the size, weight, power and cost of your electronics. Discover how to select the right partner and what questions to ask in our white paper, “SWaP-C and Why Your Component Partner Matters.” Download it now and learn techniques for ensuring that your next project is a successful one.

Posted in: White Papers

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