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

Will origami-inspired crawler robots support pipe inspection?

This week’s lead story featured an origami-inspired robot. Assistant professor Aimy Wissa sees possible pipe inspection applications for the crawler.

"Pipes have different kinds of diameters, and you want something that can fit in there with ease," Wissa said in our Tech Briefs Q&A.

What do you think? Will origami-inspired crawler robots support pipe inspection?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Robotics
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Sound-Off: What’s Next for Optical Design Processes?

Mechanical engineers require a variety of tools to ensure the proper design of optical products like cell phones and autonomous vehicle sensor systems. In a presentation titled "Trends Driving Innovations in Optical Product Design," an attendee asked our expert: What will be integrated into the design process next?

Posted in: News, Optical Components, Optics
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Future Fashion Statement? New Material Generates Power from Human Motion

Vanderbilt University researchers developed an ultra-thin system that can harvest energy from the slightest of human motions — even sitting. Made from materials five thousand times thinner than a human hair, the technology may someday be woven into clothing to power personal devices.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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How the Dragonfly’s Brain Offers Insights for Robotic Vision

By carefully studying the neurons of the dragonfly, University of Adelaide PhD student Joseph Fabian discovered the predator’s keen way of catching its prey. Fabian and his fellow researchers hope to translate the insect’s complex neural processes into advances that support new applications in robotic vision and autonomous systems.

Posted in: News, Automation, Robotics
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Sound-Off: How Do a Vehicle’s Imaging Sensors Filter Out Weather, Crosstalk?

A "Geiger-mode" lidar sensor sends out pulses at a high repetition rate (200 kHz), forming an image on the percent of pulses that return. The technology has been used by vehicle manufacturers to support collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, and other Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) applications. But how will factors like snow or another vehicle’s lidar impact a sensor's reading?

Posted in: News, Automotive, Imaging, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors
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Are You Using Augmented Reality in the Design Process?

A new report concludes that the augmented reality (AR) market is expected to grow from $2.39 billion in 2016 to $61.39 billion by 2023.

Posted in: News, Displays/Monitors/HMIs, Imaging
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Can Self-Driving Cars be Modeled for Morality?

Imagine a self-driving car making its way down a foggy road that is suddenly blocked by two separate obstacles – is one of them an object? A person? An animal? Would the autonomous vehicle make the right split-second decision on which one to spare? Can algorithms be used to make decisions in scenarios where harming human beings is possible, probable, or even unavoidable? A study from the Institute of Cognitive Science in Germany’s Osnabrück University suggests that autonomous vehicles have the capability to address moral dilemmas in road traffic.

Posted in: News, Automotive
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'Smart' Transformer Supports Power Grid of Tomorrow

Imagine a system that handles electricity flow not just from the power company to our homes, but also back from our homes to the power company. North Carolina State University researchers say an existing technology – the solid-state transformer — could make the conceptual "smart grid" a reality.

Posted in: News, Power Management, Power Supplies, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy
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Sound-Off: How to Simulate the Impacts of an Exoskeleton

Over the past decade, warfighters’ personal loads have increased, leading to more injuries, pain, and discomfort. To relieve the burden, the military is investigating performance-enhancing exoskeletons. But how does an exoskeleton impact the soldier wearing it?

Posted in: News, News, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Simulation Software, Software
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Sound-Off: How to Set Pass/Fail Thresholds for Self-Driving Vehicles

As Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technology evolves, how do you test autonomous cars that ‘learn from their mistakes?’

Posted in: News, Automotive, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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