News

Infrared 3D Scanner Measures Like Human Vision

A 3D scanner, with a resolution of one million pixels and real-time data processing, operates using measuring technology that works in a similar way to human vision. To detect an object, periodic patterns are projected onto the surface using a specially developed near-infrared projector. A sequence of different patterns is projected in rapid succession in order to record as many measurement points as possible by the two cameras.

Posted in: News, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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Will Mars habitats be built from Martian soil?

This week’s Question: Today’s lead INSIDER story described a potentially new way of building Mars habitats. What do you think? Will Mars habitats be built from Martian soil?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials
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High-Efficiency Power Converter for the Internet of Things

Internet of Things sensors will have to operate at very low powers to extend battery life for months, or make do with energy harvested from the environment. But that means that they’ll need to draw a wide range of electrical currents. Researchers from MIT developed a new step-down power converter that features a variable clock that can run switch controllers at a wide range of rates.

Posted in: News, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy
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Self-Charging Battery Could Make Chargers Obsolete

New technology developed by Hydro-Québec and McGill University is capable of harvesting and storing energy using light – a self-charging battery. To create the light-charged batteries, a standard cathode from a lithium-ion battery can be “sensitized” to light by incorporating photo-harvesting dye molecules.

Posted in: News, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage
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New Device Harnesses Heat to Power Computers

One of the biggest problems with computers is keeping them cool so they don’t overheat. University of Nebraska–Lincoln engineers developed an alternative energy source that would allow computing at ultra-high temperatures. The nano-thermal-mechanical device, or thermal diode, could be used in space exploration, for exploring the core of the earth, for oil drilling, or in applications requiring calculations and data processing in real time in places where computers have not been able to function.

Posted in: News, Energy Harvesting, Thermoelectrics
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Creating the Future: A Better Way to Map Terrain

Mark Skoog, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, led the development of new software that stores terrain data in a more efficient and accurate way. The achievement, Skoog says, opens the prospect of anyone – yes, anyone – being able to fly.

Posted in: News, News, Aerospace, Imaging, Sensors
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A New Material for Mars Habitats? Mars Itself

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego demonstrated a compaction technique that may someday be used to turn Mars soil into building blocks for the Red Planet. The scientists' new method of applying pressure offers construction possibilities as NASA plans manned Mars missions in the upcoming decades.

Posted in: News, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Materials
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Are you concerned about potential asteroid impacts on Earth?

This week’s Question: Our lead INSIDER story addressed NASA’s efforts to track and characterize asteroids. What do you think? Are you concerned about potential asteroid impacts on Earth?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Aerospace
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What’s New on TechBriefs.com: Asteroid Detection, Blood-Pressure Monitoring, and Breaking the ‘Bandwidth Bottleneck’

Did you know that a 1-kilometer-wide asteroid flew past the Earth this month? Or that a chip-scale device provides broader bandwidth instantaneously to more users? Or that a new "Bold Band" offers a wearable way to monitor blood pressure? Make sure you've seen the latest stories on TechBriefs.com.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Imaging, Patient Monitoring, Photonics
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Interface Simplifies Remote Robot Operation

The traditional interface for remotely operating robots employs a computer screen and mouse to independently control six degrees of freedom, turning three virtual rings and adjusting arrows to get the robot into position to grab items or perform a specific task. But for someone who isn’t an expert, the ring-and-arrow system is cumbersome and error-prone. It’s not ideal, for example, for older people trying to control assistive robots at home.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics, Software
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