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Blogs
Content posted in May 2013
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Slideshow: Anatomy of a Composite-Heavy Jetliner
Engineering Materials 
5/31/2013  21 comments
The airframe of Airbus's A350 XWB consists of a bigger proportion of carbon-fiber-reinforced composite structures than any other commercial jet to date: over 53 percent by weight.
Video: Mobile App-Driven Robot Bartender Makes, Shakes Drinks to Order
Blog 
5/31/2013  25 comments
Makr Shakr works like this: People download an app to their Android or iPhone mobile device, then create drink combinations. The robot makes the drinks requested with assembly-line efficiency and graceful movements modeled on two professional dancers.
Japan Extracts Natural Gas From Methane Hydrate Deposits
Blog 
5/31/2013  15 comments
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Japan has been on a focused mission to supplant their nuclear energy with safer alternatives (more like, non-radioactive alternatives).
Straw Lampshade-Like Cover Turns Skyscraper Into Energy Harvester
Blog 
5/30/2013  31 comments
Strawscraper, the invention of Swedish architecture firm Belatchew Arkitekter, aims to extend a building in Stockholm with an energy-producing outer shell made of piezoelectric straws that can recover wind energy.
NASA to Use Dreamliner Lithium-Ion Battery Packs to Power ISS
Blog 
5/30/2013  40 comments
NASA, throughout the 787-battery mess, has held on to a contract with Boeing for the design of a lithium-ion battery pack that will replace aging NiMH batteries on the International Space Station.
Machine Vision Using Ethernet Powerlink
Blog 
5/30/2013  11 comments
New connectivity between vision systems and automation solutions based on Ethernet Powerlink communications is creating simplified system architectures that enable higher performance application possibilities.
Slideshow: An Engineer Goes to Congress
Guest Blogs 
5/29/2013  24 comments
Many engineers often comment that Congress would make better decisions if it included more engineers. What they didn't know...
Micro-Sized Battery Promises to Deliver Power That Is Anything But
Blog 
5/29/2013  24 comments
The most significant and limiting factor for the immediate advancement of miniaturized electronics is the availability of a battery that packs a punch and is still tiny in size.
Maximizing Lifecycle & Performance of Optically Isolated Relays
Guest Blogs 
5/29/2013  4 comments
Optically isolated relays inherently have a long lifespan, thanks to their lack of moving parts and the robustness of their solid-state electronics. You can, however, make them last even longer by accounting for LED power losses.
Bioplastic's Algae Content Raised to 51% for Injection Molding
Engineering Materials 
5/29/2013  19 comments
Bioplastic manufacturing leader Cereplast has increased the post-industrial biomatter content of its second injection-molding grade of algae-based resin to 51%.
Are Your Valves Leaking?
Blog 
5/28/2013  7 comments
Here's a seminar that goes into the details of spec'ing the right valve for the right operation.
Slideshow: Semi-Autonomous Features Boost Driver Safety
Electronic News & Comment 
5/28/2013  18 comments
While self-driving cars grab headlines, semi-autonomous features are quietly working their way into production vehicles and boosting safety today.
NASA Tests Biofuel, Reports Reduced Emissions
Engineering Materials 
5/28/2013  7 comments
Initial reports from NASA's first round of flight tests of a jet biofuel based on camelina plants show fewer emissions than from conventional jet fuel.
Energy Harvesting Wireless Technology
Blog 
5/28/2013  10 comments
Self-powered wireless switches, sensors, and controls are being utilized in a wide range of building automation and industrial applications, leveraging energy harvesting wireless technology to cut installation costs and enable efficient use of energy.
TEK Scope Fixes Itself
Made by Monkeys 
5/27/2013  14 comments
When your lab is only one scope, one meter, and one homebrew function generator and power supply, the scope is stage center. But this one wasn't working right.
Rebooting the Van
Sherlock Ohms 
5/27/2013  28 comments
Now that automotive electronics are as complex as a personal computer, sometimes they need a reboot like a computer.
Slideshow: Brilliant Gadgets From the Hands of the Young
Gadget Freak 
5/24/2013  31 comments
We see Gadget Freak projects from all walks of life, but many of our most imaginative gadgets are created by budding engineers.
MIT Research Could Dramatically Improve Solar Cell Efficiency
Blog 
5/24/2013  26 comments
By experimenting with the photovoltaic reaction in solar cells, researchers at MIT have made a breakthrough in energy efficiency that significantly pushes the boundaries of current commercial cells on the market.
AMD's Fireproof R5000 Remote GPU Brings Multitasking to a New Level
CAD/CAM Corner 
5/24/2013  4 comments
Advanced Micro Devices' latest release brings a cloud-based graphics boost, along with unparalleled performance, to the workstation.
Green Designs for Industrial Cable
Guest Blogs 
5/24/2013  7 comments
In a world that's going green, industrial operations have a problem: Their processes involve materials that are potentially toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive. If improperly managed, this can precipitate dangerous health and environmental consequences.
Slideshow: LEDs Gaining Traction in Vehicles
Electronic News & Comment 
5/23/2013  25 comments
With LEDs dropping in price virtually every year, automakers have begun employing them, not only on luxury vehicles, but on entry-level models, as well.
3D Printing Round-Up: Innovative Medical Field & Space Exploration Pursuits
CAD/CAM Corner 
5/23/2013  16 comments
The 3D printing revolution seems to have a knack for quickly moving technology ahead by way of collaborative effort and even a little friendly competition -- all of course in the name of scientific advancement.
Your Chance to Win an Exploration & Discovery Experience & Go Behind the Scenes at NASA
Blog 
5/23/2013  13 comments
Littelfuse Inc. has created a NASA Exploration & Discovery Experience for the engineering community as part of its 2013 Speed2Design promotion.
LEDs at Heart of Cadillac CTS 'Signature'
Electronic News & Comment 
5/22/2013  36 comments
Using almost 200 light-emitting diodes in the front and back of the new 2014 CTS, Cadillac designers are showing how LEDs can change the character of a vehicle.
Slideshow: Composites Help Disintegrate Spacecraft Fuel Tanks
Engineering Materials 
5/22/2013  9 comments
Carbon fiber composites are being used in a satellite fuel tank designed to burn up on re-entry.
Startup Aims to Build a Better Lithium-Ion Battery
Blog 
5/22/2013  6 comments
One of the university-level research efforts to improve the composition of lithium-ion batteries through nanotechnology has gone commercial.
Optical Tweezers Grab Blood Cells
Blog 
5/22/2013  4 comments
Yin-Mei Li of the University of Science and Technology of China developed a way to manipulate blood cells using lasers.
Slideshow: The Greenest Cars of 2013
Blog 
5/21/2013  29 comments
We looked at a number of sources to determine this year's greenest cars, from KBB to automotive trade magazines to environmental organizations. These 14 cars emerged as being great at either stretching fuel or reducing carbon footprint.
Video: Doodle3D Prints Designs From 2D Drawings
CAD/CAM Corner 
5/21/2013  6 comments
Doodle3D brings your 2D sketches to life.
Researchers Improve Potential for Lithium-Air Batteries
Blog 
5/21/2013  2 comments
Researchers at MIT and Sandia National Labs have observed a reaction in lithium-air batteries that could help improve the design of these cells for electric vehicles and other applications.
The Internet of Things' Impact on Medical Care
Blog 
5/21/2013  8 comments
Healthcare might seem to be an unlikely target application for the Internet of Things technology, but recent developments show small ways that big-data is going to make an impact on patient care moving into the future.
Are the Power Windows Really the Problem?
Made by Monkeys 
5/21/2013  14 comments
The power windows were working as they were supposed to. That was one problem. Operator error was the other.
Slideshow: Energy Harvesters Lift Power From Surprising Sources
Blog 
5/20/2013  24 comments
As energy efficiency becomes more and more a concern for makers of electronics devices, researchers are coming up with new ways to harvest energy from sound vibration, footsteps, and even electromagnetic fields in the air.
Video: 'A Boy & His Atom'
Blog 
5/20/2013  7 comments
Watch IBM's atomic scale stop motion film about, you guessed it, a boy and his atom.
Slideshow: Feds Study Human Brain; DARPA Wants to Make Robots Autonomous
Blog 
5/20/2013  15 comments
The government wants to study your brain, and DARPA wants to use similar information to give robots true autonomy beyond any artificial intelligence developed to date. Sound like science fiction? It's not.
Fuse Holder Mismatched to Fuse
Sherlock Ohms 
5/20/2013  17 comments
If the fuse and fuse holder don't match up right, hefty repair bills might follow.
The Brake Sensor’s Gone Mad
Made by Monkeys 
5/20/2013  28 comments
The brakes work just fine, but the brake sensor light has a life of its own.
Gadget Freak Case #241: Gloved Hand Controls Airplane's Flight
Gadget Freak 
5/17/2013  41 comments
A team of Colorado State University students has created a gadget that guides a remote control airplane through the sensors in a glove.
It's Still About the Battery
Captain Hybrid 
5/17/2013  29 comments
The Tesla Model S' performance in Consumer Reports tests was a major victory for electric cars, but a bigger challenge still lies ahead.
Peak Sine Drive Controller Packs 15X the Power
Blog 
5/17/2013  5 comments
By refining topologies and using new fluid technology, Moog's new peak sine drive controller increases available power without increasing controller volume.
Video: Worm Hooks Inspire Better Bandages
Engineering Materials 
5/17/2013  16 comments
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
Video: Enter the Smartmouse
CAD/CAM Corner 
5/16/2013  31 comments
Laura Sapiens' Ego! Smartmouse offers users a unique interactive experience by providing 2D and 3D connectivity, hardware identity authentication, data storage, and more.
8 Ways to Design End-of-Life Into Your Products
Guest Blogs 
5/16/2013  17 comments
An analysis of what’s needed to implement Design for Disassembly and Design for Recycling results in eight strategies engineers can use to design an intentional end-of-life stage into their products.
Harvard, MIT Researchers Design 3D Printed, Self-Assembling Robots
Blog 
5/16/2013  10 comments
Researchers from MIT and Harvard have designed a 3D printed robot that crawls like an inchworm and can self-assemble with an electric jolt.
Video: Seahorse Armor Inspires Robot Design
Engineering Materials 
5/16/2013  5 comments
Engineers at the University of California, San Diego are designing a robotic arm that takes inspiration from the loose, flexible, yet very strong structure of the armored plates on a seahorse's tail.
Slideshow: 22 More People You Didn't Know Were Engineers
Electronic News & Comment 
5/15/2013  37 comments
We recently posted an online slideshow called, “18 People You Didn’t Know Were Engineers.” Within hours of its publication, readers began to suggest names of other luminaries -- astronauts, politicians, athletes and actors -- who were educated or had worked as engineers.
We Know What the IoT Is, but How & When It Arrives Is Unclear
Blog 
5/15/2013  14 comments
IoT technology has become so prevalent that there’s now a consortium based on the topic.
Do We Really Need an App for That?
Blog 
5/15/2013  28 comments
Huggies TweetPee sends a tweet to your mobile device when your baby's diaper gets wet. Is this necessary?
The Messed Up RF Generator
Made by Monkeys 
5/15/2013  9 comments
After the Monkeys messed with the RF generator, it was a puzzle to get it right.
Ethernet Drives Networking Advances
Blog 
5/15/2013  3 comments
Two new introductions in the world of motion drives for automation are moving toward use of standard Ethernet communications, eliminating the use of custom hardware.
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Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
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