News

Smartphone-Based System Could Speed Development of Driverless Cars

Two new systems for driverless cars can identify a user’s location and orientation in places where GPS does not function, and identify the various components of a road scene in real time on a regular camera or smartphone, performing the same job as sensors costing much more. The separate but complementary systems have been designed by researchers from the University of Cambridge.

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Water-Impact Testing Will Protect Future Astronauts

When astronauts return to Earth in the Orion spacecraft, they will reenter on an extremely hot and fast journey through the atmosphere before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. To protect the crew on landing, NASA will evaluate how the spacecraft may behave in parachute-assisted landings in different wind conditions and wave heights by conducting water-impact testing. To prepare for this testing, the first major step was to couple an Orion crew module mockup with the heat shield from Orion’s first flight test.

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A New Generation of Cooling

Energy efficiency is key to the total cost of ownership of enclosure climate control solutions, and electricity consumption is a major element of operating costs. Hybrid technology, developed and patented by Rittal, combines conventional compression cooling, similar to what has been used in traditional air conditioners, with a heat pipe. The heat pipe uses evaporation of a working fluid in an evacuated tube.

Posted in: Articles, News, Energy Efficiency
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Help NASA Improve Robonaut's Vision

To improve a robot's ability to "see", the fix is in the code.

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Micrchip Enables Palm-Sized Radar Camera

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a chip that allows new radar cameras to fit into the palm of your hand.

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High-Precision Robot Installs Webb Telescope Mirrors

The James Webb Space Telescope team is installing telescope mirror segments using a high-precision robotic arm. To precisely install the segments, the robotic arm can move in six directions to maneuver over the telescope structure. While one team of engineers maneuvers the robotic arm, another team of engineers simultaneously takes measurements with lasers to ensure each mirror segment is placed, bolted, and glued perfectly before moving to the next.

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Soft Electronics Change the Way Robot Fingers Move

A new soft robotic gripper made out of rubber and stretchable electrodes can bend and pick up delicate objects like eggs and paper. It uses electroadhesion – flexible electrode flaps that act like a thumb-index gripper – to pick up fragile objects of arbitrary shape and stiffness, like an egg, a water balloon, or paper.

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Algorithm Analyzes Vibrations to Monitor Machinery Health

An artificial intelligence algorithm was developed that greatly increases accuracy in diagnosing the health of complex mechanical systems. Typical vibration analysis searches for anomalies in the vibration of machinery such as engines and gearboxes. These changes in vibration can signal wear and future maintenance needs long before the machinery fails.

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Robotic Drones to 'Print' Emergency Shelters

Researchers from the University of Bath, Imperial College, and University College London have developed robotic drones designed to "print" emergency shelters. The flying robots will autonomously assess and manufacture building structures to help areas suffering from natural disasters.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling
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40th Anniversary Reader Contest Winners

In the 1960s, the newly formed NASA began issuing single-sheet reports on the commercially significant technologies the agency was developing in the course of R&D being conducted for the space program – a mandate from Congress. In 1976, NASA turned those single-sheet reports into a magazine format called NASA Tech Briefs.

Posted in: Articles, News, Aerospace
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