News: Robotics, Automation & Control
Station Astronauts Remotely Control Planetary Rover From Space

Just as remotely operated vehicles help humans explore the depths of the ocean from above, NASA has begun studying how a similar approach may one day help astronauts explore other worlds. NASA tested the Surface Telerobotics exploration concept, in which an astronaut in an orbiting...

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Researchers Create Devices from Water-Based Hydrogels

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for creating devices out of a water-based hydrogel material that can be patterned, folded, and used to manipulate objects. The technique holds promise for use in “soft robotics” and biomedical...

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Bio-Inspired Coating Toughens Glass

A new transparent, bio-inspired coating makes ordinary glass tough, self-cleaning, and incredibly slippery. Researchers created the glass honeycomb-like structure with craters, coating it with a Teflon-like chemical that binds to the honeycomb cells to form a stable liquid film. The film repels droplets of...

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Researchers Produce 'Electronic Ink'

University of Minnesota engineers have discovered novel technology for producing "electronic ink." The specialized type of ink is made from non-toxic, nanometer-sized crystals of silicon.

Question of the Week
Is an "Exercise Pill" a Good Idea?

This month, researchers at the Scripps Institute in Florida found that mice injected with a protein called REV-ERB underwent physiological changes usually associated with exercise, including increased metabolic rates and weight loss. The scientists suggested that we are therefore closer than ever before to...

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NASA Technologist Develops Automated Tool to Steer Spacecraft

A NASA technologist has developed a fully automated tool that gives mission planners a preliminary set of detailed directions for efficiently steering a spacecraft to hard-to-reach interplanetary destinations, such as Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, and most comets and asteroids.

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Controlling Robots With Your Thoughts

Angel Perez Garcia, a student at NTNU in Norway, uses the movements of his eyes, eyebrows, and other parts of his face to control a robot. "With my eyebrows, I can select which of the robot's joints I want to move," explains Angel. Facial grimaces generate major electrical activity (EEG signals) across our...

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Sensor Helps Microphone Listen With Light

A sensor developed by scientists at SINTEF’s MiNaLab will help to make microphones hypersensitive. With technology of this sort, a microphone will be able to “see” where the sound comes from, pick up the voice of the person speaking, and filter out other sources of noise in the room.

The...

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NASA Fit Check Sets Stage for Orion Recovery Test

Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Langley Research Center in Virginia, and Lockheed Martin Space Operations in Denver, CO, prepared unique hardware that was used in a fit check of equipment that will recover Orion upon splashdown in the Pacific...

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Custom-Made GPS Spoofing Device Coerces Superyacht Off Course

In June, a radio navigation research team from The University of Texas at Austin successfully coerced an $80 million, 213-foot yacht off its course using a custom-made GPS device.

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Heftier Unmanned Ground Vehicle Offers More Lifting, Hauling Strength

A small car can't pull a heavy trailer, and sports utility vehicles don't have a compact car's fuel efficiency. A perfect, one-size-fits-all vehicle doesn't exist, and the same goes for unmanned ground vehicles, known as UGVs.

Soldiers use UGVs – such as the 40-pound...

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New Software Tool Tests Weapon Lethality Against Moving Targets

Military analysts now have a tool that brings together unprecedented modeling and simulation features to help them better choose or build weapons to overpower future threats. Such features allow military researchers to analyze, for example, how a grenade, artillery round or any...

News: Materials
Army Develops Stronger, Lighter Composite Materials

In the future, Army aircraft may be made of all composite materials, and the Prototype Integration Facility Advanced Composites Laboratory is ready. Part of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center's (AMRDEC's) Engineering Directorate, the Prototype Integration...

Chuck Taylor is principal investigator of in-space propulsion and space power generation within the Game Changing Development Program. He is responsible for a...

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NASA Uses GPS Signals to Measure Hurricane Winds

By figuring out how messed up GPS satellite signals get when bouncing around in a storm, NASA Langley researchers have found a way to do something completely different with GPS: measure and map the wind speeds of hurricanes.

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Researchers Generate Invisible Tag for 3D-Printed Objects

The same 3D printing process used to produce an object can simultaneously generate an internal, invisible tag, say scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft Research.

Question of the Week
Will We Travel Faster Than the Speed of Light?

NASA engineers at Johnson Space Center have been designing instruments to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it travels in a certain area, and then observing the change with an interferometer. The team is experimenting with photons to see if warp drive — traveling...

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Measuring Drivers’ Brain and Eye Activity Could Lead to Fewer Accidents

Latest advances in capturing data on brain activity and eye movement are being combined develop a system that can detect when drivers are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel. The technique combines high-speed eye tracking that records eye movements in unprecedented...

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Imaging Method Makes Nanoscale Measurements of Plasmonic Materials

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland have shown how to make nanoscale measurements of critical properties of plasmonic nanomaterials — the specially engineered nanostructures that modify the interaction of...

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Paper-Thin E-Skin Responds to Touch

A UC Berkeley research team led by Ali Javey, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, has created the first user-interactive sensor network on flexible plastic. The new electronic skin, or e-skin, responds to touch by instantly lighting up. The more intense the pressure, the...

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Computer-Designed Algorithms Control Network Congestion

TCP, the transmission control protocol, is one of the core protocols governing the Internet. One of TCP’s main functions is to prevent network congestion by regulating the rate at which computers send data.

At the annual conference of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special...

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NASA Engineer Advances Nanotechnology for Tiny Satellites

A NASA engineer has achieved a milestone in his quest to advance an emerging super-black nanotechnology that promises to make spacecraft instruments more sensitive without enlarging their size.

Question of the Week
Will You Ever Make Payments Using Facial Recognition Technology?

Technologies like Google Wallet allow users to walk into a store and pay for goods with the swipe of a smartphone. Now, some companies, including the Finland-based startup Unqul, are creating payment systems that use facial recognition to handle all kinds of transactions. Instead...

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Energy Department, Navy, and Industry Join to Make Jet Fuel from Switchgrass

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is partnering with Cobalt Technologies, U.S. Navy, and Show Me Energy Cooperative to demonstrate that jet fuel can be made economically and in large quantities from a renewable biomass feedstock such...

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Modular Plane Provides Glimpse of Tomorrow’s Aircraft

The Clip-Air project envisions an airplane consisting of a single flying wing onto which capsules carrying passengers or freight can be attached. More than a new type of flying device, its innovative concept could revolutionize the airports of the future. Go to the train station to take the...

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Understanding Dark Lightning Radiation Could Protect Crew and Passengers

Scientists now know that thunderstorms, working as powerful natural terrestrial particle accelerators, produce intense flashes of ionizing radiation called "dark lightning." To further their understanding of this phenomenon, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research...

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Supercomputers Help Microfluidics Researchers Make Waves

In May 2013, researchers from UCLA, Iowa State and Princeton found a new way of sculpting tailor-made fluid flows by placing tiny pillars in microfluidic channels. By altering the speed of the fluid and stacking many pillars with different widths, placements, and orientations in the...

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Researchers Use Thermocell to Harvest 'Waste Heat'

A small team of Monash University researchers working under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) has developed an ionic liquid-based thermocell.

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Repairing Turbines With Robots

The blades in compressors and turbines are subject to particularly high levels of stress and strain. The job of the blades is to convert fluid energy into mechanical energy. They ensure that aircraft engines generate the required thrust and that power plant generators produce sufficient electricity.

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