Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
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

Algorithm Analyzes Vibrations to Monitor Machinery Health

An artificial intelligence algorithm was developed that greatly increases accuracy in diagnosing the health of complex mechanical systems. Typical vibration analysis searches for anomalies in the vibration of machinery such as engines and gearboxes. These changes in vibration can signal wear and future maintenance needs long before the machinery fails.

Posted in: News
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Robotic Drones to 'Print' Emergency Shelters

Researchers from the University of Bath, Imperial College, and University College London have developed robotic drones designed to "print" emergency shelters. The flying robots will autonomously assess and manufacture building structures to help areas suffering from natural disasters.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling
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40th Anniversary Reader Contest Winners

In the 1960s, the newly formed NASA began issuing single-sheet reports on the commercially significant technologies the agency was developing in the course of R&D being conducted for the space program – a mandate from Congress. In 1976, NASA turned those single-sheet reports into a magazine format called NASA Tech Briefs.

Posted in: Articles, News, Aerospace
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NASA Uses Electric Propulsion in Experimental Plane

NASA is researching ideas that could lead to developing an electric propulsion-powered aircraft that would be quieter, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly than today's commuter aircraft. The proposed piloted experimental airplane is called Sceptor, short for the Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology and Operations Research. The concept involves removing the wing from an Italian-built Tecnam P2006T aircraft and replacing it with an experimental wing integrated with electric motors.

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Graphene Composite Could Keep Wings Ice-Free

A thin coating of graphene nanoribbons in epoxy developed at Rice University has proven effective at melting ice on a helicopter blade. The lab melted centimeter-thick ice from a static helicopter rotor blade in a -4° F environment. When a small voltage was applied, the coating delivered electrothermal heat – called Joule heating – to the surface, which melted the ice.

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The Fourth Revolution in Manufacturing

The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is all about going digital. But the term – and the basic idea behind it – are not new. First used in 2011 at Hannover Fair in Germany, the term Industry 4.0 originates from a question posed by the German government to its country’s manufacturing industry leaders: What is the next stage of evolution for manufacturing?

Posted in: Articles, News, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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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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Thermal Cameras Reveal Materials’ Secrets

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are pioneering the use of infrared cameras to image additive manufacturing processes in hopes of better understanding how processing conditions affect the strength, residual stresses and microstructure of 3D-printed parts.

Posted in: Articles, News, Cameras, Imaging
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Researchers Turn Solar Energy into Electrical Power Using Photo-Bioelectrochemical Cells

A new paradigm for the development of photo-bioelectrochemical cells has been reported by researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in Israel, and the University of Bochum, in Germany. The design of photo-bioelectrochemical cells based on native photosynthetic reaction is attracting substantial recent interest as a means for the conversion of solar light energy into electrical power.

Posted in: Articles, News, Energy, Solar Power
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NASA Engineers Tapped to Build First Integrated-Photonics Modem

A NASA team has been tapped to build a new type of communications modem that will employ an emerging, potentially revolutionary technology that could transform everything from telecommunications, medical imaging, and advanced manufacturing to national defense. The space agency’s first-ever integrated-photonics modem will be tested aboard the International Space Station beginning in 2020 as part of NASA’s multi-year Laser Communications Relay Demonstration, or LCRD.

The cell phone-sized device incorporates optics-based functions, such as lasers, switches, and wires, onto a microchip — much like an integrated circuit found in all electronics hardware. Once aboard the space station, the so-called Integrated LCRD LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) User Modem and Amplifier (ILLUMA) will serve as a low-Earth orbit terminal for NASA’s LCRD, demonstrating yet another capability for high-speed, laser-based communications.

Posted in: Articles, News, Photonics
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