News

Film Industry Technology Enables Motion Analysis of Stroke Patients

Researchers have been using 3D technology from the film industry to analyze the everyday movements of stroke patients. The results indicate that computerized motion analysis increases knowledge of how stroke patients can improve their ability to move through rehabilitation.

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Micro-Sized Motor is 1,000 Times More Powerful Than Human Muscle

A team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has demonstrated a micro-sized robotic torsional muscle/motor made from vanadium dioxide that for its size is a thousand times more powerful than a human muscle, able to catapult objects 50 times heavier than itself over a distance five times its length within 60 milliseconds – faster than the blink of an eye.

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Handheld Device Hoists Soldiers in Seconds

Since MIT spinout Atlas Devices’ flagship product, the Atlas Powered Rope Ascender (APA), first hit the market in 2007, it’s been touted as a real-world version of Batman’s famed utility-belt grappling gun: At the pull of a trigger, the handheld device can hoist two people about 30 stories up a rope in 30 seconds. Now the device is becoming a practical tool for motorized scaling (or “power ascension”) in the military and other fields.

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Electrical Generator Harnesses Power of Evaporating Water

A new type of electrical generator uses bacterial spores to harness the untapped power of evaporating water, according to research conducted at the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Its developers foresee electrical generators driven by changes in humidity from sun-warmed ponds and harbors.The prototype generators work by harnessing the movement of a sheet of rubber coated on one side with spores. The sheet bends when it dries out, much as a pine cone opens as it dries or a freshly fallen leaf curls, and then straightens when humidity rises. Such bending back and forth means that spore-coated sheets or tiny planks can act as actuators that drive movement, and that movement can be harvested to generate electricity.SourceAlso: Learn about a Phase Change Material Thermal Power Generator.

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Researchers Create 3D-Printed Soil

Soil scientists at Abertay University are using 3D printing technology to find out, for the very first time, exactly what is going on in the world beneath our feet.The detailed plastic cubes are replicas of the structure of the soil, and are being used by the scientists as experimental systems in the lab.By inserting microorganisms (such as fungi and bacteria) into the pore spaces within the plastic soil, the scientists can now observe how these microorganisms move through it, survive, find food sources and interact. Source Also: NASA’s Next Rover Features 3D-Printed Parts.

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Research Develop 'E-Whisker' Tactile Sensors

Researchers with Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have created tactile sensors from composite films of carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles similar to the highly sensitive whiskers of cats and rats. The new e-whiskers respond to pressure as slight as a single Pascal, about the pressure exerted on a table surface by a dollar bill. Among their many potential applications is giving robots new abilities to “see” and “feel” their surrounding environment.In this latest effort, the team used a carbon nanotube paste to form an electrically conductive network matrix with excellent bendability. To this carbon nanotube matrix they loaded a thin film of silver nanoparticles that endowed the matrix with high sensitivity to mechanical strain.SourceAlso: Read about Blade Tip Clearance Sensors for Engine Health Monitoring.

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Research Aircraft Measures Climate Effects on Clouds

Which climate effects do clouds have? Under what conditions do they warm or cool the atmosphere? The research aircraft HALO (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft) is measuring vertical profiles of all components of atmospheric water such as vapor, liquid, and ice in both cloud and precipitation forms, as well as the aerosol particles upon which cloud droplets form. The aircraft, equipped with a large amount of advanced technology, is an initiative by German climate and environmental research institutions.

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