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Will ground-based delivery robots catch on?

This week's Question: This fall, Starship Technologies, an Estonia-based startup created by two Skype co-founders, will begin testing its autonomous delivery robot in Washington, D.C. Washington is the first U.S. municipality to approve ground-based robots to traverse city sidewalks. Starship aims to bring packages from its fulfillment center directly to customers' homes. Ground-based delivery, Starship’s founders say, is an easier delivery option compared to drones, which require compliance with FAA regulations. What do you think?

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Dr. Bin Chen, Materials Scientist, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Dr. Bin Chen, Materials Scientist, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA Dr. Bin Chen has led the development of nanomaterials and ultra-sensitive detection techniques. Her materials development work directly supports radiation-shielding efforts, artificial photosynthesis, and sustainable energy conversion and storage, including applications in fiber solar cells, piezoelectrics, and supercapacitors.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Instruments Measure Large-Scale Motion Around San Andreas Fault

Uplift (red) and subsidence (blue) based on GPS data (top) confirm predicted motion (bottom). An array of GPS instruments near the San Andreas Fault System in Southern California detects constant motion of Earth’s crust — sometimes large, sudden motion during an earthquake, and often subtle, creeping motion. The GPS array records vertical and horizontal motion of Earth’s surface. The challenge was to discern the broad, regional tectonic motion from the shorter-scale, local motion.

Posted in: News

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Introducing Surface Analysis for Automotive Applications

In Conjunction with SAE As the materials used in the construction of automobiles become ever more advanced, the breadth of analytical challenges also increases. The surface or layer chemistry of these materials can be of considerable importance, from understanding the appearance of the paint finish, to tailoring the chemical activity of the catalytic converter in the exhaust system.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars

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Morphing Nanotubes into Tougher Carbon for Aerospace

Rice researchers (l-r) Robert Vajtai, Enrique Barrera, and Sehmus Ozden at the two-stage gas gun used to fire nanotube pellets at hypervelocity speeds. (Jeff Fitlow) Rice University materials scientists are making nanodiamonds and other forms of carbon by smashing nanotubes against a target at high speeds. The process will enrich the knowledge of engineers who design structures that resist damage from high-speed impacts. The diamonds are the result of a detailed study on the ballistic fracturing of carbon nanotubes at different velocities. Such high-energy impacts caused atomic bonds in the nanotubes to break and sometimes recombine into different structures.

Posted in: News

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Existing Navigation Data Can Help Pilots Avoid Turbulence

Scientists demonstrated that turbulence can be detected in a much faster and more precise way using data already routinely broadcast by commercial airliners. (FUW, jch) Detecting turbulence remains the Achilles' heel of modern-day aviation. The reports submitted by pilots, subjective and often very inaccurate, are the least expensive and the most frequently used method for trying to predict where it will occur. Scientists from the University of Warsaw demonstrated that turbulence can be detected in a much faster and more precise way using data already routinely broadcast by the aircraft operated by commercial airlines.

Posted in: News

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NASA Shines Lasers on Future Aircraft Concept

Boeing engineer Stephen Provost checks out a blended wing body model before a wind tunnel test at NASA Langley. (NASA/David C. Bowman) As NASA aeronautics engineers prepare to develop a series of greener, quieter, faster X-planes, they are already testing concepts that could be candidates. One of those is a Boeing blended wing body (BWB). A blended wing body doesn't look like a conventional airplane. Instead of the usual tube and wing design – it's shaped more like a triangle where the wings are merged into the body. Another difference is that it does not have a tail.

Posted in: News

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