INSIDER

INSIDER : Motion Control
Mechanical Metamaterials Can Block Symmetry of Motion

Engineers and scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and the AMOLF institute in the Netherlands have invented mechanical metamaterials that transfer motion in one direction while blocking it in the other. The material can be thought of as a mechanical one-way shield that blocks...

INSIDER : Motion Control
Exo-Brake “Parachute” to Enable Safe Return for Small Spacecraft

Engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA have been testing its Exo-Brake technology as a simple design that promises to help bring small payloads back through Earth’s atmosphere unharmed. An Exo-Brake is a tension-based, flexible braking device...

INSIDER : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Unified Approach Improves the Accuracy of Five-Axis Machine Tools

Five-axis machine tools are computer-numerically controlled (CNC) machines that can move, cut, or mill a part on five different axes at the same time. Because of inherent geometric errors, manufacturers must make adjustments when calibrating these machines. Several different...

INSIDER : Motion Control
Six-Legged Robots Move Faster with Bipod Gate

Researchers in Lausanne, Switzerland have determined that a bipod gait is the fastest and most efficient way for six-legged robots to move on flat ground, provided they don’t have the adhesive pads used by insects to climb walls and ceilings. This suggests designers of insect-inspired robots should...

INSIDER : Energy
Electricity Generator Mimics Trees
Electricity Generator Mimics Trees

Iowa State University scientists have built a device that mimics the branches and leaves of a cottonwood tree and generates electricity when its artificial leaves sway in the wind. The device is derived...

Electricity Generator Mimics Trees
INSIDER : Energy
Energy Management System Cuts Hybrid Fuel Consumption by One-Third

Engineers at the University of California, Riverside have taken inspiration from biological evolution and the energy savings garnered by birds flying in formation to improve the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by more than 30 percent.

INSIDER : Test & Measurement
Data Logger Aids in Development of New Vehicles

A new data logger developed by Fraunhofer researchers simultaneously collects data from vehicles with combustion engines, electric drives, external sensors, and location data, and permits the development of new hybrid and electric vehicles. Once installed in a car, it records all the relevant...

INSIDER : Test & Measurement
High-Altitude Radiation Tests Will Protect Airline Travelers

Imagine you’re sitting on an airplane cruising at 36,000 feet. Just above you, high-energy particles, called cosmic rays, are zooming in from outer space. While we are largely protected from this radiation on the ground, up in the thin atmosphere of the stratosphere, these particles...

INSIDER : Photonics/Optics
Physics, Photosynthesis and Solar Cells

A University of California, Riverside assistant professor has combined photosynthesis and physics to make a key discovery that could help make solar cells more efficient. Nathan Gabor is focused on experimental condensed matter physics, and uses light to probe the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics....

INSIDER : Photonics/Optics
New Crystal Structure Holds Promise for Optoelectronic Devices

A Florida State University research team has discovered a new crystal structure of organic-inorganic hybrid materials that could open the door to new applications for optoelectronic devices like light-emitting diodes and lasers.

INSIDER : Photonics/Optics
Light Can Switch on Topological Materials

Theoretical physicists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory used computer simulations to show how special light pulses could create robust channels where electricity flows without resistance in an atomically thin semiconductor. If this approach is confirmed by experiments,...

INSIDER : Energy
New Fabrication Technique Creates More Efficient Plastic Solar Cells

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new strategy for fabricating more efficient plastic solar cells. The work has implications for developing solar cells with a wider absorption range and increased efficiency.

INSIDER : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Technique Could Lower Costs of Making Bioplastics and Biofuel

While abundant in nature, cellulose is difficult and expensive to find in pure or high-quality form. A Swedish research team has developed an efficient, accurate, and non-destructive way to detect the occurrence and purity of cellulose. The technique can be applied in mixtures of...

INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
Prototype Capture System Simulates Asteroid Mission

A robotic capture module system prototype was built to help NASA engineers understand the operations required to collect a multi-ton boulder from an asteroid’s surface. The hardware includes three space frame legs with foot pads, and two seven-degrees-of-freedom arms with microspine gripper...

INSIDER : Motion Control
Dike Inspection Robot is Energy-Autonomous

Inspecting the condition of dikes and other sea defense structures is typically a task for robots, working in a team and in a highly autonomous way. But if they move around across the dikes, perform tests, and communicate the results for six hours a day, they use a lot of energy.

INSIDER : Motion Control
System Harvests Energy from Automotive Shock Absorbers

Boosting the fuel efficiency of motor vehicles by “harvesting” the energy generated by their shock absorbers and feeding it back into batteries or electrical systems such as air conditioning has become a major goal in automotive engineering. A University of Huddersfield (UK) researcher...

INSIDER : Photonics/Optics
Silicon Nanoantennas Turn Light Around

A team of physicists from ITMO University, MIPT, and The University of Texas at Austin have developed an unconventional nanoantenna that scatters light in a particular direction depending on the intensity of incident radiation. The research findings will help with the development of flexible optical...

INSIDER : Photonics/Optics
Researchers Create First “Water-Wave” Laser
Researchers Create First “Water-Wave” Laser

Technion researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, that laser emissions can be created through the interaction of light and water waves. This “water-wave laser” could someday be...

Researchers Create First “Water-Wave” Laser
INSIDER : Photonics/Optics
Scientists Find New Way to Image Solar Cells in 3-D

Next-generation solar cells made of super-thin films of semiconducting material hold promise because they’re relatively inexpensive and flexible enough to be applied just about anywhere. Researchers are working to dramatically increase the efficiency at which thin-film solar cells convert...

Question of the Week
Would You Own a Robot Pet?