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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

DESOLENATOR — WATER FROM SUNSHINE “Desolenator is extremely proud and thankful to all those who voted for us. We believe that the global water crisis is a serious issue, and winning recognition from a leading publication offers great support to our efforts. We will surely return to share our progress with readers over the coming years.” William Janssen, Desolenator, London, UKThe Desolenator is a water-purification technology that decontaminates water from any source using only solar energy. The technology is a very affordable ($0.005/L) “at-source” method of water purification. It offers a combination of features and capabilities that makes it extremely well suited for household use. It is GSM-mobile enabled and is data-driven through sensors, enabling service through micro mobile payment. It is eco-friendly, has a lifespan of up to 20 years, doesn’t require filters/ membranes, doesn’t drain the main’s electricity, and doesn’t expel toxic waste into the ocean. The long-term goal is to prevent the worsening of the water crisis.

Posted in: Articles, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases

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Seeing Closer and Clearer with NASA Imaging Technology

From mapping asteroids and planets, to recording rocket engine tests, to seeing farther into the human brain, NASA’s imaging technologies are giving scientists and engineers closer, more detailed views than ever before.NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Rex) spacecraft launched on September 8 to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu to harvest a sample of surface material and return it to Earth for study. But before the science team selects a sample site, they can find out a bit about Bennu’s elemental make-up.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace

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Unmanned Research Aircraft Test Cutting-Edge Innovations

NASA-funded aircraft tests parameters that can’t be modeled in simulations.Born out of a desire for aircraft to be able to take off and land capably at airports with shorter runways to alleviate congestion at the major hubs, the circulation control wing concept has been floated by the aeronautical community as a possible solution for decades. The technology calls for increased amounts of high-pressure air, derived from either the jet engines or separate compressors, to flow over the leading and trailing edges of the wings, creating greater lift. Given extra lift, an aircraft can take off and land at a lower speed, thus reducing the length of runway needed. Extra lift also enables increased weight-carrying capacity.

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff, Aerospace

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Precision Robotics and Automation: Hexapods Advance Production Processes

Hexapods — six-legged parallel-kinematic machines — are quickly gaining ground in a broad range of industrial automation applications after “learning” how to directly communicate with PLC or CNC controllers via Fieldbus interfaces. As far as the semiconductor and electronics industry, automobile industry, and precision assembly are concerned, many production processes have become inconceivable without them. Today, the six-axis positioning systems are available with load capacity from 2 kg to 2000 kg, and travel from 10 to hundreds of millimeters while maintaining submicron precision. Hexapods are used for aligning the smallest optical components in the latest silicon photonics production processes, for controlling automated labeling machines, and positioning entire body parts for automotive production. The intrinsic hexapod features contribute to a wealth of new possibilities in robotics.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Learning the "Keys" of IoT Security

Network-connected devices provide many opportunities to improve and enrich people’s lives, but the “Internet of Things” has a range of definitions. A consumer’s experience with the “IoT” may be a wearable computer for fitness tracking. A physician may place a connected heartbeat monitor on a patient. An industrial engineer may see the Internet of Things as thousands of sensor points that provide measurements of temperatures, pressures, or valve states.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Sensors

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CryoFOSS Optical Sensor Offers Next-Level Liquid Measurement

NASA engineer Allen Parker and a team at Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a fiber-optic-based sensing technology that accurately pinpoints and measures liquid levels. The CryoFOSS, or Cryogenic Fiber Optic Sensing System, uses fiber optic Bragg sensors, located along a single cable, to actively discern between liquid and gas states. The technology can be employed in a variety of applications, from NASA’s rockets to a winery’s storage tanks.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors

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NASA’s Pursuit of Power

Advances in batteries and propulsion enable innovations in both terrestrial and deep-space power applications. Advances in Capacitor MaterialsElectrochemical capacitors, or supercapacitors, have gained intense interest as an alternative to traditional energy storage devices. Applications for supercapacitors range from plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to backup power sources. While the power density of supercapacitors surpasses that of batteries, commercially available batteries have a significantly higher specific energy density.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Power Management, Propulsion, Batteries, Energy storage systems, Ultracapacitors and supercapacitors, Nanomaterials, Spacecraft

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