Advances in materials and manufacturing process are yielding the second generation of high-temperature superconducting materials. These so-called 2G materials are now making their grid-connected debut in New York. As reported in the Physics Today article by Jeremy N. A. Matthews, “Next-generation high-Tc superconducting wires debut in the power grid”, a new material called YBCO (YBa2Cu3O7–x) has emerged to replace first-generation BSCCO (Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3O10-x) high-temperature superconducting cable. YBCO has several advantages over BSCCO including increased energy carrying capacity (106 A/cm2 versus 104 A/cm2 for BSCCO) and reduced dependence on expensive silver sheathing.
In addition to its higher capacity and economic advantages, 2G cable has an inherent security feature. Above a critical current, 2G YBCO wire transitions from being a superconductor to a resistor. This feature enables passive suppression of power surges that can cause current faults in the grid. This novel attribute has attracted funding from the Department of Homeland Security for live, utility-scale testing of YBCO wires, and the intrinsic safety of 2G wire may elevate superconducting cable from a niche curiosity to a mainstay component of the US electricity grid. By strategically replacing power lines with 2G cable, grid failures resulting from current surges could be mitigated.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.