Question of the Week
Will Google Glass make a comeback in the workplace?

This week's Question: According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has been distributing a new version of its smart eyewear, Google Glass, to companies, engineered specifically for professionals in workplaces like health care, manufacturing, and energy. The new version will have improved...

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...

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...

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...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
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...

When modern football helmets were introduced, they all but eliminated traumatic skull fractures caused by blunt force impacts. Mounting evidence, however, suggests...

INSIDER: Materials
Simulations Reveal Near-Frictionless Material

Scientists from Argonne National Laboratory used simulations to identify and improve a new mechanism for reducing friction. The resulting hybrid material exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale.

Question of the Week
Is long-term Mars living possible?

This week's Question: A recent study created by the Arizona-based Paragon Space Development Corporation says its life support system could help humans survive on Mars. The proposed Environmental Control and Life Support System, the company says, could extract water from Mars’ rocky material and convert some...

INSIDER: Energy
New Nanowires Absorb Light

Harvard University scientists have created nanowires with new useful properties. The wire not only absorbs light at specific wavelengths, but also light from other parts of the spectrum. The technology could have applications in areas ranging from consumer electronics to solar panels.

Question of the Week
Will robots be suitable emotional companions?

This week's Question: In June, Softbank sold its first 1,000 Pepper robots in less than a minute. Using cameras, touch sensors, an accelerometer, and other sensors in its neural network, Pepper has the ability to read (and develop its own) emotions. According to the company's Web site, the social...

INSIDER: Automotive
Nanogenerator Harvests Power from Rolling Tires

A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers and a collaborator from China have developed a nanogenerator that harvests energy from a car's rolling tire friction. The technology ultimately could provide automobile manufacturers with a new way to reuse energy and provide greater vehicle...

Researchers at Rice University have discovered a new way to make ultrasensitive conductivity measurements at optical frequencies on high-speed nanoscale electronic components. The...

An advanced driving simulator will be used to test a patient’s driving ability after cataract surgery. The trial will help determine if a newly developed artificial lens will be...

The first of five instruments for a spacecraft that will collect a sample from an asteroid and bring it back to Earth has arrived at Lockheed Martin for installation onto NASA’s Origins Spectral...

Question of the Week
Will robo-cabs lower gas emissions?

This week's Question: In last week's Nature Climate Change journal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers reported that, by 2030, traveling by driverless electric taxi could lower greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 90% compared with the same length ride in a privately owned gas-powered car...

News: Materials
Diamond-Like Coating Application Improves Engine Components

Applying carbon coatings to engine components, such as piston rings and pins, reduces friction and lowers fuel consumption. Using a new laser-based method, researchers at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Munich, Germany, say they can now produce layers of carbon that are almost as hard as...

News: Energy
Researchers Prevent Fires in Next-Gen Lithium Batteries

New research from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA, could help remove a major barrier to developing lithium-sulfur and lithium-air batteries. The SLAC engineering team discovered that adding two chemicals to a lithium metal battery's electrolyte prevents the formation of...

INSIDER: Energy
New System Stores Solar Energy at Night

Common solar energy systems today are unable to use the generated energy at night or in cloudy conditions. A University of Texas at Arlington materials science and engineering team has developed a new energy cell that stores large-scale solar energy even when it is dark.

Question of the Week
Will remote-controlled passenger flights take off in the next 5 years?

This week's Question: Last month, the Manassas, VA-based Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. tested its 4100-pound twin-propeller experimental airplane. The Centaur flew without a pilot and within airspace also being used by commercial aircraft. John Langford, the CEO of Aurora, is...

Kim Hambuchen is currently building user interfaces for Vakyrie, a six-foot-two, 286-pound humanoid robot. The two-legged Valkyrie...

The high cost to manufacture nanofibers has relegated them to just a few niche industries. MIT researchers developed a new technique for producing nanofibers that increases the...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Speedy Laser Mirrors Enable Better Welding

Silicon micromirrors can guide laser beams at extremely high speeds, allowing operators to dose heat input to workpieces with absolute precision. But to date, they have not been robust enough to be...

A new type of graphene aerogel will make for better energy storage, sensors, nanoelectronics, catalysis, and separations. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made graphene aerogel microlattices...

INSIDER: Medical
Micro-Tentacles Help Robots Handle Delicate Objects

Engineers from Iowa State University developed micro-tentacles that enable robots to handle delicate objects.

“Most robots use two fingers. To pick things up, they have to squeeze,” said Jaeyoun (Jay) Kim, an Iowa State University associate professor of electrical and computer engineering...

INSIDER: Materials
Tiny Origami Robot Folds Itself Up

MIT researchers have developed a printable origami-inspired robot that, when heated, folds itself up from a flat sheet of plastic. The robot weighs a third of a gram and measures about a centimeter from front to back.

Drones, say goodbye to pilots. With the goal of achieving autonomous flight of these aerial vehicles, researchers developed a vision and learning system to control and navigate them...

Question of the Week
Will seaplanes take flight?

This week's Question: As global air traffic increases and airports expand, researchers from Imperial College London's Department of Aeronautics have developed a design concept for a medium to long-range seaplane. The proposed design, the Imperial College team says, may reduce the pressure on inland airports, lower...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Fluid Makes Geothermal Power Cleaner

More American homes could be powered by the Earth's natural underground heat with a new, nontoxic, and potentially recyclable liquid that is expected to use half as much water as other fluids used to...

Using a tablet and a red beam of light, researchers at Georgia Tech have created a system that controls a fleet of robots with the swipe of a finger. A person taps the tablet to control where the...

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