There was a time not too long ago when any discussion of pneumatic connections involved the air and power supplies. Yet today’s pneumatic systems increasingly have to make another type of connection–to industrial Ethernet. At last week’s Pack Expo show in Las Vegas, pneumatic suppliers showed off valve manifolds and related I/O systems that can bridge the gap between air and electricity. Not all of them are brand new, but these systems continue to evolve with the addition of new connectivity options. Ethernet IP support, in particular, has become important for pneumatics. “Ethernet IP is really hot right now,” says Dave Thomas, a senior applications engineer with Festo. Others suppliers agree. “Ethernet IP is growing quickly in big markets like packaging and automotive,” says Kjell Lyngstad, pneumatics manager for Bosch Rexroth. Click here for a look at three pneumatic systems with growing connectivity options.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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