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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the factors in the collapse of the original World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the reduction in the yield strength of the steel reinforcement as a result of the high temperatures of the fire and the loss of thermal insulation.
Robots are getting more agile and automation systems are becoming more complex. Yet the most impressive development in robotics and automation is increased intelligence. Machines in automation are increasingly able to analyze huge amounts of data. They are often able to see, speak, even imitate patterns of human thinking. Researchers at European Automation
call this deep learning.
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that devices, gadgets, and appliances we use every day will be able to communicate with one another. This potential is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things we find in our yard and garden, as evidenced by a recent challenge from the element14 design community.
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