News

Researchers Keep Hydrogels Hydrated

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a way to prevent hydrogels from dehydrating. The water-based technique could lead to longer-lasting contact lenses, stretchy microfluidic devices, flexible bioelectronics, and even artificial skin.

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New Method Combats Virtual Reality Sickness

Views of the virtual environment before and after subtle, dynamic FOV modification. (Photo: Ajoy Fernandes and Steve Feiner) Researchers have developed a method of combating virtual reality (VR) sickness that can be applied to consumer head-worn VR displays such as the Sony PlayStation VR. The approach dynamically, yet subtly, changes the user’s field of view (FOV) in response to visually perceived motion.

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Soft Actuator Provides Gentle Strength for Robots

Compliant electrodes are attached to each side of the membrane and cause it to stretch when voltage is applied. A membrane switches from its more compact state to its stretched state when voltage is applied to its electrodes. (©Alejandro Posada) Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart developed a motion system that is compliant and can be integrated in robots thanks to its space-saving design. The device consists of a dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA), which is a membrane made of hyperelastic material like a latex balloon with flexible electrodes attached to each side. The stretching of the membrane is regulated by means of an electric field between the electrodes.

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Technique Controls Autonomous Vehicles in Extreme Conditions

Georgia Tech researchers are using an electric-powered autonomous vehicle to help driverless vehicles maintain control at the edge of their handling limits. (Photo: Rob Felt) Researchers have devised a novel way to help keep a driverless vehicle under control as it maneuvers at the edge of its handling limits. The new technology is being tested by racing, sliding, and jumping one-fifth-scale, fully autonomous auto-rally cars at the equivalent of 90 mph. The technique – model predictive path integral control (MPPI) – was developed to address the nonlinear dynamics involved in controlling a vehicle near its friction limits.

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System Makes Airport Surface Traffic More Efficient

Researchers are attempting to improve the control tower software system using mathematics and optimization techniques. (Photo: ThinkStock) Researchers have developed an optimization system that identifies the optimal timing and taxiing sequences for runway use by a given aircraft. It plans detailed taxiing routes, recommends new routes automatically, and responds to a continuous stream of updated information. The model takes into account the basic rules and physical restrictions that apply at all airports, such as safety zones around turning aircraft and one-way taxiing routes.

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NASA Tests Technologies to Increase Drone Uses

Photo: NASA/David C. Bowman NASA researchers and drone industry representatives foresee a day when small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are used in wildfire spotting, precision agriculture, wildlife monitoring, and small package delivery.

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3D-Printed Polymer Turns Methane to Methanol

By combining biology and 3D printing, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have created a reactor that continuously produces methanol from methane at room temperature and pressure.

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