Question of the Week
Will telemedicine improve health care delivery?

This week's Question: Telemedicine Services like American Well, a Boston, MA-based service, allow smartphone or Web users to have a video consultation with a physician. According to a July report by investment bank RBC Capital markets, telemedicine technology has the potential to save more than $40...

News : Energy
NASA Tests New Green Propellants for Satellites

To stay in the proper orbit, many satellites have thrusters – small rocket engines – that fire to change altitude or orientation in space. On Earth, where gravity dominates, five pounds of thrust, equivalent to 22 Newtons of force, may seem small, but in space, it doesn’t take much thrust to...

News : Photonics/Optics
Tool Nondestructively Characterizes Structural Materials as they Deform

Materials scientists are busy developing advanced materials, while also working to squeeze every bit of performance out of existing materials. This is particularly true in the aerospace industry, where small advantages in weight or extreme temperature tolerance quickly...

Who's Who : Materials
Kenneth O’Connor, Coatings Engineer, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Kenneth O’Connor has worked with NASA Goddard engineers to develop a nanotextured coating with hydrophobic properties. The technology minimizes dust, liquid, and ice accumulation on its surface, similar to a leaf on the lotus plant. See below for details on a...

News : Aerospace
NASA Tests New 'Twist' on Wing Design

Putting a literal and metaphorical twist on conventional designs, researchers at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and Langley Research Center investigated a new aircraft aerodynamic wing scheme.

Question of the Week
Is AI good for management?

This week's Question: The Japanese electronics maker Hitachi Ltd. said it has developed a new artificial intelligence program that will enable robots to deliver instructions to employees based on analyses of big data and the workers’ routines. According to a Hitachi spokesperson, the AI program improved a warehouse...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robots Provide 3D Map of England's Deepwater Canyons

Using a unique combination of marine robotics and ship-based measurements, the Southampton, UK-based National Oceanography Centre (NOC) produced a three-dimensional picture of submarine canyon habitats. The information captured in the new set of maps ranges in scale from the 200-km canyon...

News : Motion Control
Fluidic Actuator Harnesses Instability to Trigger Movement

Soft machines and robots are becoming more and more functional, capable of moving, jumping, gripping an object, and even changing color. The elements responsible for their actuation motion are often soft, inflatable segments called fluidic actuators. These actuators require large amounts...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New Approach Gives Robotic Grippers More Dexterity

Most robots on a factory floor are equipped with large pincers or claws to grab an object and place it somewhere else in an assembly line. Engineers at MIT have now hit upon a way to impart more dexterity to simple robotic grippers: using the environment as a helping hand. The team developed a...

News : Materials
Recycling Electric Motor Permanent Magnets

The latest generation of electric motors is increasingly being equipped with strong, multi-ton permanent magnets instead of a gearbox. The most powerful magnets are based on neodymium, iron, and boron. Dysprosium is also frequently contained. But while iron and boron are readily available, the supply of...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
New Method Builds Microscopic Robots of Complex Shapes

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego used an innovative 3D printing technology they developed to manufacture multipurpose fish-shaped microrobots that swim around efficiently in liquids, are chemically powered by hydrogen peroxide, and magnetically controlled.

News : Aerospace
Fabrication Technique Cuts Cost of Aircraft Turbine Production

Compressor disks for aircraft turbines are milled from a single piece of material. During processing, the blades begin to vibrate. Now, a novel clamping system boosts vibration absorption for the blades by more than 400 times, and cuts manufacturing costs. The new clamping system...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Manufacturing Method Creates Organic Solar Cells With Improved Efficiency

New research findings contradict a fundamental assumption about the functioning of "organic" solar cells made of low-cost plastics, suggesting a new strategy for creating inexpensive solar technology. Because organic solar cells are flexible, they could find new...

News : Photonics/Optics
High-Definition 3D Lossless Imaging System

The imaging process is often affected by the field of view, wavefront aberration, ambient light, as well as the resolution of optical imaging system and detector. As a result, the image information of the object cannot be accurately transferred to the image plane, resulting in distortion, deviation, and...

News : Photonics/Optics
Imaging Innovation Delivers Spatial and Spectral Info Simultaneously

Using physical chemistry methods to look at biology at the nanoscale, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researcher invented a new technology to image single molecules with unprecedented spectral and spatial resolution, thus leading to the first “true-color”...

News : Imaging
Depth-Sensing Camera Captures 3D Information in Sunlight and Darkness

Depth-sensing cameras, such as Microsoft’s Kinect controller for video games, have become widely used 3-D sensors. Now, a new imaging technology addresses a major shortcoming of these cameras: the inability to work in bright light, especially sunlight. The key is to gather...

News : Imaging
Object Recognition for Robots

SLAM, or simultaneous localization and mapping, enables mobile autonomous robots to map their environments and determine their locations. SLAM can be used to improve object-recognition systems, a vital component of future robots that have to manipulate the objects around them in arbitrary ways. A new system...

Question of the Week
Will virtual reality apps catch on?

This week's Question: After its acquisition of Oculus VR, the social network Facebook is working on a stand-alone video app that would support 360-degree, or "spherical" videos. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has called virtual reality the next "computing platform" after mobile devices, imagines that the Oculus...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers Print Glass Structures in 3D

A new system from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) creates strong, solid glass structures from computerized designs. The 3D-printing method allows researchers to construct optically transparent objects.

News : Medical
NASA’s Wi-Fi Reflector Chip Speeds Up Wearables

Whether you're tracking your steps, monitoring your health, or sending photos from a smart watch, you want the battery life of your wearable device to last as long as possible. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is working on microchips for wearable devices that reflect...

News : Propulsion
Small, Modular Fusion Plant Brings Power Source Closer to Reality

Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor — and it’s one that might be realized in as little as a decade, they say. The era of practical fusion power, which could offer a nearly...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Technology Could Reduce Wind Energy Costs

Engineers from the University of Sheffield have developed a novel technique to predict when bearings inside wind turbines will fail, which could make wind energy cheaper. The method uses ultrasonic waves to measure the load transmitted through a ball bearing in a wind turbine. The stress on wind...

Question of the Week
Will an aquatic barrier clean up the ocean?

This week's Question: According to recent research from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, there are currently 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the world's oceans. The Ocean Cleanup, an organization seeking to rid waters of plastic waste, has plans to build a massive aquatic...

News : Test & Measurement
NASA Flight-Tests Sample Return Capsule

A prototype capsule that one day will return science experiments to Earth was tested by releasing it from a high-altitude balloon. Technology like this capsule could one day return biological samples and other small payloads from space in a relatively short time. The balloon was launched to an altitude of...

News : Medical
Paper-Based Test Quickly Diagnoses Ebola in Remote Areas

To facilitate diagnosis in remote, low-resource settings, researchers have developed a paper-based device that changes color, depending on whether the patient has Ebola, yellow fever, or dengue. The test takes minutes and does not need electricity to work.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Design Tool Converts CAD Files into Visual Models

A new system from researchers at MIT and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel automatically turns CAD files into visual models that users can modify in real time. Once the design meets the user’s specifications, he or she hits the print button to send it to a 3D printer.

News : Lighting
New Technology Can Expand LED Lighting

Highly efficient, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) could slash the world’s electricity consumption. They are already sold in stores, but more widespread adoption of the technology has been hindered by high costs due to limited availability of raw materials and difficulties in achieving acceptable light...

News : Software
What Makes Quantum Dots Blink?

Quantum dots are nanoparticles of semiconductor that can be tuned to glow in a rainbow of colors. Since their discovery in the 1980s, these remarkable nanoparticles have held out tantalizing prospects for all kinds of new technologies, ranging from paint-on lighting materials and solar cells to quantum computer...

News : Lighting
Blue LEDs Could Provide Chemical-Free Food Preservation Technology

A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has found that blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) have strong antibacterial effects on major foodborne pathogens, and are most effective when in cold temperatures (between 4°C and 15°C) and mildly acidic...

Products
Wireless Occupancy Sensors

Dialight (Farmingdale, NJ) has unveiled its new wireless occupancy sensor, a battery-powered plug-and-play sensor designed to integrate seamlessly with any Dialight smart lighting system. Using Pyroelectric InfraRed (PIR) technology, each sensor can instantly switch a single light or a group of lights from off to on or...