News

Ultra-Thin Solar Cells Rest on a Soap Bubble

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have demonstrated a solar cell so light and thin that it can rest atop a soap bubble.Though it may take years before the device is developed into a commercial product, the laboratory proof-of-concept shows a new approach to making solar cells that could help power the next generation of portable electronic devices.

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Researchers Charge Up ‘Water Batteries’

Researchers from TU Graz and the Wetsus research center in The Netherlands have produced electrically charged water by means of a floating water bridge. The electric charge of the "water battery" can be stored for a short time.

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NASA Shakes Up Earthquake Warning Systems

The most important information that is immediately needed for earthquake disasters is the location, depth, and magnitude of the earthquake. The most common method of establishing an earthquake's magnitude is using seismic sensors on the ground that measure the shaking of the earth's crust. Authorities and first responders need better data to accurately and quickly assess the risk associated with the earthquake.

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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.

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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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