After UNLV, my university-hopping trip through the Southwest took me to Arizona State University (ASU). My principle reason for stopping at ASU was to visit with Professor Jonathan Posner, who went to school with me about a thousand years ago at UC Irvine.
Many energy conversion processes are limited by flow phenomena occurring at extremely tiny length scales. For example, ion transport through semi-permeable membranes governs rates of energy generation in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Membrane hydration is critical to PEMFC performance. However, over-hydration causes liquid build-up in the fuel cell cathode, reducing oxygen transport to reaction sites, which hinders performance.
Professor Posner and his colleagues developed a mechanism to actively pump water away from the fuel cell cathode. In a recent paper on the subject, Posner and his co-authors say “removal of liquid water with a low power, robust, active method should allow PEMFCs to operate in regimes otherwise inaccessible due to flooding.” Not only did they improve performance, but they also extended the effective PEMFC operating range to lower temperatures.
With their well-developed expertise in small-scale fluid flow, ASU’s Micro/Nanofluidics Laboratory is nicely positioned to make an impact in energy generation and other allied industries. Professor Posner is a researcher worth keeping your eye on.
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.