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

Smart Building Responds to all Climate Conditions

A grid of sensors embedded into an innovative building insulation activates specific façade components to optimize energy savings while improving aesthetics. This high-tech kind of retrofitting approach uses several types of modules that allow real-time monitoring. The multifunctional modular façade system is able to adapt to a variety of climatic conditions.

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Vibration Table Promises Different Ways of Testing

Vibration machines are crucial to test the forces that make things fall apart in the bumpy real world, from small components to complete systems like airplanes or nuclear weapons. Large, high-frequency vibration machines that shake things in several directions simultaneously are relatively new. Sandia National Laboratories has developed a large, high-frequency, 6-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) vibration machine to qualify weapons components and revolutionize the way it does mechanical testing.

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Measurements of Pluto’s Atmosphere Reveal Surprises

NASA's New Horizons probe performed the first-ever flyby of Pluto, zooming within 7,800 miles of its frigid surface. The close encounter is giving researchers their first up-close looks at Pluto, which has remained mysterious since its 1930 discovery.

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'Electron Camera' Reveals Nature's Fastest Processes

Using a method known as ultrafast electron diffraction (UED), a scientific instrument from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory reveals nature's fastest processes, including the rapid motions of atoms and molecules. 

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Simulations Reveal Material with Record-Setting Melting Point

Using advanced computers and a computational technique to simulate physical processes at the atomic level, researchers at Brown University have predicted that a material made from hafnium, nitrogen, and carbon would have the highest known melting point: 4,400 kelvins (7,460 degrees Fahrenheit), about two-thirds the temperature at the surface of the sun.

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Physicist Develops New Laser Technique to Study Electronic Properties

It’s often said that necessity is the mother of invention. Such was the case for Ames Laboratory physicist Adam Kaminski who took a challenge he was facing and turned it into a new solution that will help advance his research.

Posted in: Articles, News, Lasers & Laser Systems
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Theory Turns into Reality for Nonlinear Optical Metamaterials

A research team has realized one of the long-standing theoretical predictions in nonlinear optical metamaterials: creation of a nonlinear material that has opposite refractive indices at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of light. Such a material, which doesn’t exist naturally, had been predicted for nearly a decade.

Posted in: Articles, News, Optical Components
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Algorithm Magnifies Motions Indiscernible to the Naked Eye

MIT has been investigating techniques for amplifying movements captured by video, but indiscernible to the human eye. The algorithms can make the human pulse visible and even recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of objects filmed through soundproof glass. A new version of the algorithm can amplify small motions even when they’re contained within objects executing large motions. So, for instance, it could make visible the precise sequence of muscle contractions in the arms of a baseball player swinging the bat, or in the legs of a soccer player taking a corner kick.

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Robots Learn to Observe, Adjust Their Force, and React


When robots and humans have to work together, it often leads to problems. Researchers on the CogIMon project want to teach robots to understand the forces during the movement of an object, and how to appropriately react to changes in weight or contact with the object while carrying it. Humans have no problem estimating the weight of an object, but robots lack this ability.

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Tests Show Football Player Concussions are Caused by Different Head Motions

When modern football helmets were introduced, they all but eliminated traumatic skull fractures caused by blunt force impacts. Mounting evidence, however, suggests that concussions are caused by a different type of head motion, namely brain and skull rotation. Stanford engineers have produced a collection of results that suggest that current helmet-testing equipment and techniques are not optimized for evaluating these additional injury-causing elements.

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