An intense but brief form of lightening known as "red sprites" that occurs high in the atmosphere above large thunderstorms may not be the amorphous blob of light that scientists had first thought. Researchers from Stanford's Very Low Frequency Research Group, who have been studying this phenomenon for several years, now propose that sprites may consist of thousands of fiery streamers, each only a few meters wide. Current observations of sprites, which can be more than 25 miles wide and 25 miles in height, have been made from a considerable distance with high-speed cameras capable of capturing the images of these extremely brief flashes. The best resolution of these images has been several hundred feet, much larger than the size of the streamers that the Stanford model predicts. The group hopes to acquire a special telescope that can capture details in sprites as small as a few feet across. That will allow the scientists to determine if the structure that they have predicted does in fact exist. For more information, contact David F. Salisbury, Stanford News Service, at (650) 725-1944.
The landscape of product development is changing. Electronic components and the devices that use them are shrinking, while power and functionality are rising. As a result, heat management is now in the forefront of the design process.
Ahead of their appearance at Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis, we look at some of the engineering behind two robots from the hit show, BattleBots, as well as some tried-and-true fighting tactics engineers should keep in mind when taking their own robots into battle.
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