News

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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Would you like to ride in a Hyperloop?

This week's Question: A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) team took top honors this month at a competition to design the Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation concept from Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. In the absence of air or surface friction, the Hyperloop design enables passenger pods to travel through airless tubes at more than 600 mph. Using low-energy propulsion systems, the Hyperloop theoretically utilizes air pressure to “hover” above a track. MIT's team will now have the opportunity to build and test its design in the US. The researchers will perform simulations, try out braking systems, and, with great caution, test dangerously strong magnets. What do you think? Would you like to ride in a Hyperloop? 

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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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NASA Spacecraft Breaks Solar Power Distance Record

NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter broke the record to become humanity's most distant solar-powered emissary when Juno was about 493 million miles from the Sun. Launched in 2011, Juno is the first solar-powered spacecraft designed to operate at such a great distance from the Sun. That's why the surface area of solar panels required to generate adequate power is quite large. The four-ton Juno spacecraft carries three 30-foot-long solar arrays festooned with 18,698 individual solar cells.

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