Special Coverage

Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water

New at Sensors Expo: IoT Platform Collects Data via Bluetooth

Fujitsu Components America released its enhanced BlueBrain Sensor-Based IoT System Platform at the 2017 Sensors Expo & Conference, hosted in San Jose, CA. The BlueBrain platform is now available with boards that allow designers to create a wireless monitoring and data collection system via Bluetooth®.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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Ultra-Thin Camera Says Good-Bye to the Lens

A new proof-of-concept design retires one of the most familiar parts of a traditional camera: the lens. By swapping out the glass lens with a tiny array of light receivers, a California Institute of Technology team believes the thinner, lighter model supports a new wave of ubiquitous imaging.

Posted in: News, Cameras, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics
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3D Printed Tensegrity Object Can Change Shape

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a way to use 3D printers to create objects capable of shape change. The objects use tensegrity, a structural system of floating rods in compression and cables in continuous tension. The researchers fabricated the struts from shape memory polymers that unfold when heated. The technology could someday be used in applications ranging from space missions to biomedical devices.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Mechanical Components, Motion Control
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Self-Learning Robot Hands Adapt to Grasp Objects

A new grasp system with robotic hands works without previously knowing the characteristics of objects. The system, which learns by trial and error, was developed by researchers at Bielefeld University in Bielefeld, Germany. It features two hands that are based on human hands in terms of both shape and mobility. The robot brain for the hands must learn how everyday objects like pieces of fruit or tools can be distinguished based on their color or shape, as well as what matters when attempting to grasp the object; for example, a banana can be held, and a button can be pressed. The system learns to recognize such possibilities as characteristics, and constructs a model for interacting with and re-identifying the object.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Positioning Equipment, Automation, Robotics
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Crawling Robot is Powered by Moisture

Using an off-the-shelf camera flash, researchers at Jilin University, China, turned an ordinary sheet of graphene oxide into a material that bends when exposed to moisture. They then used this material to make a spider-like crawler and claw robot that move in response to changing humidity, without the need for any external power.

Posted in: News, Materials, Motion Control, Robotics
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Sound-Off: How Does Connectivity Improve Vehicle Design?

Vehicle connectivity enables suppliers and manufacturers to gather new kinds of customer-specific information. See how automotive OEMs — and construction equipment makers like Caterpillar — use connected data systems and sensors to identify product flaws and improve future design efforts.

Posted in: News, Automotive, Data Acquisition
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‘Solar Paint’ Produces Energy from Sunlight

A team from Australia’s RMIT University created a “solar paint” that generates its own energy. The sunlight-absorbing substance absorbs and splits water atoms, resulting in hydrogen that could someday be used to power fuel cells and conventional combustion engines.

Posted in: News, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Coatings & Adhesives
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Survey: Aerospace Engineers Seek Clarity on Cadmium

A survey of more than two hundred aerospace manufacturing professionals demonstrated a lack of understanding about cadmium, a highly toxic metal that is still being used frequently in the U.S. aerospace industry.

Posted in: News, News, Aerospace
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Super-Strong 'Glassy Carbon' is Elastic and Electric

A new compressed form of glassy carbon opens up possibilities for applications requiring low weight and high strength — from aerospace parts to football helmets.

Posted in: News, News, Ceramics
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Sound-Off: 'Big Data' Best Practices

There was a time when the R&D powertrain group at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) would log up to 500 GB of data per day. How do you sift through such a large number of files? Anjelica Warren, Product Marketing Manager at National Instruments, reviews ways to spend less time analyzing data and creating reports.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition
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