News

Unified Approach Improves the Accuracy of Five-Axis Machine Tools

Ph.D. students Jennifer Creamer and Le Ma work in Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Precision Motion Control Laboratory. (Credit: Missouri S&T)

Five-axis machine tools are computer-numerically controlled (CNC) machines that can move, cut, or mill a part on five different axes at the same time. Because of inherent geometric errors, manufacturers must make adjustments when calibrating these machines. Several different approaches exist to help compensate for the errors, but none of them provides a complete picture. Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology set out to find a way to eliminate that piecemeal approach and develop a new way to capture complicated geometric errors and automatically generate compensation tables.

Posted in: News, Industrial Controls & Automation, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Six-Legged Robots Move Faster with Bipod Gate

Researchers have discovered a faster and more efficient gait, never observed in nature, for six-legged robots walking on flat ground. Bio-inspired gaits, which are less efficient for robots, are used by real insects because they have adhesive pads to walk in three dimensions. (Credit: EPFL/Alain Herzog)

Researchers in Lausanne, Switzerland have determined that a bipod gait is the fastest and most efficient way for six-legged robots to move on flat ground, provided they don’t have the adhesive pads used by insects to climb walls and ceilings. This suggests designers of insect-inspired robots should make a break with the nature-inspired tripod-gait paradigm.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics
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Researchers Advance Printable Solar Cell Possibilities

By finding a new way to manufacture low-cost perovskite solar cells, a team at the University of Toronto believes that making solar cells could someday be as easy and inexpensive as printing a newspaper. The researchers' alternative solar technology supports the development of low-cost, printable solar panels capable of turning nearly any surface into a power generator.

Posted in: News, Solar Power
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Long-Lasting Flow Battery Advances Renewable Energy Efforts

A new flow battery from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) stores energy in organic molecules dissolved in neutral pH water. Losing only one percent of its capacity per 1000 cycles, the non-toxic, non-corrosive device offers the potential to significantly decrease the costs of production.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Wind Power
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Electricity Generator Mimics Trees

The biomimetic tree's leaves, modeled after cottonwood leaves, rely on piezoelectrical processes to produce electricity. (Photo by Christopher Gannon)

Iowa State University scientists have built a device that mimics the branches and leaves of a cottonwood tree and generates electricity when its artificial leaves sway in the wind. The device is derived from biomimetics, or the use of artificial means to mimic natural processes. Such biomimetic technology could become a market for those who want to generate limited amounts of wind energy without the need for tall and obstructive towers or turbines.

Posted in: News, Energy Efficiency, Wind Power
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Energy Management System Cuts Hybrid Fuel Consumption by One-Third

Xuewei Qi and a team of UCR researchers are using vehicle connectivity and evolutionary algorithms to improve the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Engineers at the University of California, Riverside have taken inspiration from biological evolution and the energy savings garnered by birds flying in formation to improve the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by more than 30 percent.

Posted in: News, Energy Efficiency
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Light-Absorbent Material Keeps Buildings Cool

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have created a thin, flexible, light-absorbing material that absorbs more than 87 percent of near-infrared light. The technology could someday support the development of solar cells; transparent window coatings to keep cars and buildings cool; and lightweight shields that block thermal detection.

Posted in: News, Materials
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Data Logger Aids in Development of New Vehicles

A new data logger developed by Fraunhofer researchers simultaneously collects data from vehicles with combustion engines, electric drives, external sensors, and location data, and permits the development of new hybrid and electric vehicles. Once installed in a car, it records all the relevant operational data from the trips the car makes over a period of several weeks or months, enabling evaluation of how a car is used, including characteristics such as route profiles or driving style – when does the driver drive more cautiously, when more aggressively?

Posted in: News, Monitoring, Test & Measurement
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High-Altitude Radiation Tests Will Protect Airline Travelers

The RaD-X payload ascended into the stratosphere to measure cosmic radiation coming from the Sun and interstellar space. (NASA)

Imagine you’re sitting on an airplane cruising at 36,000 feet. Just above you, high-energy particles, called cosmic rays, are zooming in from outer space. While we are largely protected from this radiation on the ground, up in the thin atmosphere of the stratosphere, these particles can affect humans and electronics alike.

Posted in: News, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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Researchers Build Solar-Powered Water Purifier

Using low-cost materials, academics from the University of Buffalo developed a solar-powered water purifier. The device could help to address global drinking water shortages, especially in developing areas and regions affected by natural disasters.

Posted in: News, Recycling Technologies
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