News

New Infrared Technique Remotely Detects Dangerous Materials

Brigham Young University professors have developed a technique that could spot from afar whether a site is being used to make nuclear weapons. The model precisely characterizes the material in each pixel of an image taken from a long-wave infrared camera. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration funded the project.

Posted in: Cameras, Imaging, Defense, News

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Will You Use "Transparent Texting?"

US tech giant Apple has filed a patent for new technology that aims to make texting while walking safer by replacing the text background with a live video feed of whatever is in front of the smartphone user.

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Driving Simulator Helps Engineers Calculate Human Factor

Simulations are an important development tool in the automobile and utility vehicle. The properties of vehicle components, such as how they respond in an accident, their reliability, or their energy efficiency can be investigated using simulations before the first component is manufactured. Researchers developed an interactive driving simulator using RODOS (robot-based driving and operation simulator) with which realistic interaction between human and vehicle can be analyzed.

Posted in: Motion Control, Software, Simulation Software, Transportation, Automotive, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, News

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Platform Dampens Vibrations in All Spatial Directions

When scientists wish to protect sensitive measuring devices from interference, they turn to active damping or, more specifically, an isolation platform. Each of the platform's four integrated swivel-mount modules contains a sensor that measures any vibrations in all three directions and an actuator that counterbalances them in three dimensions.

Posted in: News

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Harnessing Everyday Motion to Power Mobile Devices

Imagine powering your cell phone by simply walking around your office or rubbing it with the palm of your hand. Rather than plugging it into the wall, you become the power source. Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed the first triboelectric nanogenerator, or "TENG." The team paired two sheets of different materials together — one donates electrons, and the other accepts them. When the sheets touch, electrons flow from one to the other. When the sheets are separated, a voltage develops between them.

Posted in: News

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New Battery Technology Employs Multifunctional Materials

Researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered that fragmented carbon nanotube films can serve as adhesive conductors in lithium-ion batteries.“The problem with the current technology is that the binders impair the electrochemical performance of the battery because of their insulating properties,” says Bingqing Wei, professor of mechanical engineering. “Furthermore, the organic solvents used to mix the binders and conductive materials together not only add to the expense of the final product, but also are toxic to humans.”The new battery technology employs multifunctional materials. Fragmented carbon nanotube macrofilms (FCNTs) can serve as adhesive conductors, combining two functions in one material. FCNTs are web-like meshes with “tentacles” that are coupled with active lithium-based cathode and anode materials. They are then assembled using simple ultrasound processing. The process employs no organic solvents.The researchers see great potential for the use of this technology in vehicle applications, where quick charging and discharging are required. SourceAlso: Read other Materials tech briefs.

Posted in: News

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Robotic System Enables Early-Earth Simulations

A new robotic system at Georgia Tech’s Center for Chemical Evolution could soon let scientists better simulate and analyze the chemical reactions of early Earth on the surface of real rocks.In a proof-of-concept study, scientists selected a region for analysis using a 3-D camera on a robotic arm, which mapped the three-dimensional coordinates of the sample’s surface. The scientists programmed the robotic arm to poke the sample with an acupuncture needle. The needle collected a small amount of material that the robot deposited in a nearby mass spectrometer.To show that the system was capable of probing a three-dimensional object, the researchers imprinted ink patterns on the surfaces of polystyrene spheres. The team then used the robotic arm to model the surfaces, probe specific regions, and see if samples collected were sufficient for mass spectrometry analysis. The robot-mass spec combo may also be useful to dermatologists who often probe lesions on the skin, which have distinct molecular signatures depending on if the lesion is a tumor or normal skin tissue.SourceAlso: Learn about Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry on Satellites.

Posted in: News

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