Soft “Vinebot” Excels at Search and Rescue

Inspired by natural organisms like vines that cover distance by growing, researchers at Stanford University have created a soft, tubular robot that lengthens to explore hard-to-reach areas. The vine-like robot can grow across long distances without moving its whole body, which could prove useful in search-and-rescue operations and medical applications.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics
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How the Dragonfly’s Brain Offers Insights for Robotic Vision

By carefully studying the neurons of the dragonfly, University of Adelaide PhD student Joseph Fabian discovered the predator’s keen way of catching its prey. Fabian and his fellow researchers hope to translate the insect’s complex neural processes into advances that support new applications in robotic vision and autonomous systems.

Posted in: News, Automation, Robotics
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Sound-Off: How Do a Vehicle’s Imaging Sensors Filter Out Weather, Crosstalk?

A "Geiger-mode" lidar sensor sends out pulses at a high repetition rate (200 kHz), forming an image on the percent of pulses that return. The technology has been used by vehicle manufacturers to support collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, and other Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) applications. But how will factors like snow or another vehicle’s lidar impact a sensor's reading?

Posted in: News, Automotive, Imaging, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors
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Are You Using Augmented Reality in the Design Process?

A new report concludes that the augmented reality (AR) market is expected to grow from $2.39 billion in 2016 to $61.39 billion by 2023.

Posted in: News, Displays/Monitors/HMIs, Imaging
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Can Self-Driving Cars be Modeled for Morality?

Imagine a self-driving car making its way down a foggy road that is suddenly blocked by two separate obstacles – is one of them an object? A person? An animal? Would the autonomous vehicle make the right split-second decision on which one to spare? Can algorithms be used to make decisions in scenarios where harming human beings is possible, probable, or even unavoidable? A study from the Institute of Cognitive Science in Germany’s Osnabrück University suggests that autonomous vehicles have the capability to address moral dilemmas in road traffic.

Posted in: News, Automotive
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World’s Brightest Laser Sparks New Behavior in Light

Physicists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are seeing an everyday phenomenon in a new light. By focusing laser light to a brightness 1 billion times greater than the surface of the sun — the brightest light ever produced on Earth — the physicists have observed changes in a vision-enabling interaction between light and matter. Those changes yielded unique X-ray pulses with the potential to generate extremely high-resolution imagery useful for medical, engineering, scientific and security purposes.

Posted in: News, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems
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New Class of ‘Soft’ Semiconductors Could Transform HD Displays

A new type of semiconductor may be coming to a high-definition display near you. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shown that a class of semiconductor called halide perovskites can emit multiple, bright colors from a single nanowire at resolutions as small as 500 nanometers. The findings represent a clear challenge to quantum dot displays that rely upon traditional semiconductor nanocrystals to emit light. It could also influence the development of new applications in optoelectronics, photovoltaics, nanoscopic lasers, and ultrasensitive photodetectors, among others.

Posted in: News, Materials, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs
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'Magic' Alloy Could Spur Next Generation of Solar Cells

In what could be a major step forward for a new generation of solar cells called "concentrator photovoltaics," University of Michigan researchers have developed a new semiconductor alloy that can capture the near-infrared light located on the leading edge of the visible light spectrum. Easier to manufacture and at least 25 percent less costly than previous formulations, it's believed to be the world's most cost-effective material that can capture near-infrared light—and is compatible with the gallium arsenide semiconductors often used in concentrator photovoltaics.

Posted in: News, Materials, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs
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'Smart' Transformer Supports Power Grid of Tomorrow

Imagine a system that handles electricity flow not just from the power company to our homes, but also back from our homes to the power company. North Carolina State University researchers say an existing technology – the solid-state transformer — could make the conceptual "smart grid" a reality.

Posted in: News, Power Management, Power Supplies, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy
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Sound-Off: How to Simulate the Impacts of an Exoskeleton

Over the past decade, warfighters’ personal loads have increased, leading to more injuries, pain, and discomfort. To relieve the burden, the military is investigating performance-enhancing exoskeletons. But how does an exoskeleton impact the soldier wearing it?

Posted in: News, News, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Simulation Software, Software
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