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NASA Uses Electric Propulsion in Experimental Plane

NASA is researching ideas that could lead to developing an electric propulsion-powered aircraft that would be quieter, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly than today's commuter aircraft. The proposed piloted experimental airplane is called Sceptor, short for the Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology and Operations Research. The concept involves removing the wing from an Italian-built Tecnam P2006T aircraft and replacing it with an experimental wing integrated with electric motors.

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Graphene Composite Could Keep Wings Ice-Free

A thin coating of graphene nanoribbons in epoxy developed at Rice University has proven effective at melting ice on a helicopter blade. The lab melted centimeter-thick ice from a static helicopter rotor blade in a -4° F environment. When a small voltage was applied, the coating delivered electrothermal heat – called Joule heating – to the surface, which melted the ice.

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Researchers Develop Power-Generating Shoes

An energy-harvesting technology developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers captures the energy of human motion to power mobile electronic devices. The footwear-embedded energy harvester could be especially useful for the military, as soldiers currently carry heavy batteries to power their radios, GPS units, and night-vision goggles in the field.

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'Cockroach' Robots Squeeze Through Cracks

UC Berkeley biologists have found robotic inspiration in the creepy ability of cockroaches to squeeze through even the tiniest crack.

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'Proximity Hat' Reveals Surroundings in Real Time

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) researchers have developed a "Proximity Hat" that uses head pressure to inform users about their surroundings. The ultrasonic sensors, batteries, and pressure pads can be worn like a hat or headband.

Posted in: News, Detectors, Sensors, Transducers

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New 3D-Printed Part Allows NASA to Measure Sea Ice

Slated for launch in 2018, NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will carry a 3D-printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), a material that has never been used in additive manufacturing, let alone flown in space.

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Gigantic Blades Could Generate More Offshore Energy

A new design for gigantic blades longer than two football fields could help bring offshore 50-megawatt (MW) wind turbines to the United States and the world. Sandia National Laboratories designed a low-cost, offshore, 50-MW turbine requiring a rotor blade more than 650 feet long, two and a half times longer than any existing wind blade. Most current U.S. wind turbines produce power in the 1- to 2-MW range, with blades about 165 feet long.

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