Containers of unknown and possibly hazardous materials are often found at laboratories, industrial buildings, dump sites, and other locations. Labeled containers may have been refilled or their contents chemically changed over time. In addition, corrosion can render containers fragile and prone to rupture when moved. A researcher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory has invented two devices that can open unknown containers--without endangering the operator or the environment. The devices use a remote-controlled, air-powered piston to puncture and vent containers and draw samples. They can contain escaping substances and neutralize or pump out the container's contents. One version straps directly to large containers, such as 55-gal drums, while the second is an adjustable device that holds containers ranging from small milk bottles to 30-gal drums. According to the researcher, the sampling devices are environmentally friendly, inexpensive to produce, and compatible with breathing equipment frequently used by hazardous material teams. E-mail email@example.com.
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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