Size really does matter when it comes to direct-drive linear actuators. The smaller the actuator, the more that can be crammed side-by-side into the tight spots normally occupied by pneumatic cylinders or ball screws. But size isn't everything. Force and acceleration capabilities matter too. So does ease-of-installation. Copley Controls has just developed a compact actuator that balances all of these needs. Sized to mount on 28-mm centers, the new ServoTube Model STA11 is the company's most compact direct-drive linear actuator to date. Yet it's no weakling. The STA11, which has an 11-mm thrust rod, offers a peak force of 92N and continuous force of 23.5N. It has maximum velocity of 5.6 m/sec, accelerates instrumentation-type loads to 25g, and provides a 14- to 232-mm stroke. Read more about the new actuator here, including comments from one of the first engineers to use it.
A group of researchers at the Seoul National University have discovered a way to take material from cigarette butts and turn it into a carbon-based material thats ideal for storing energy and creating a powerful supercapacitor.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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