Although in development since the 1960s, NASA has recently completed two years of cycling in low earth orbit to prove the sodium sulfur cell's viability for future space missions.
It uses sodium and sulfur as the electrodes, and a solid beta alumina ceramic as the electrolyte. The end result is a battery that produces 150 W-hr/kg on the cell level, and weighs half as much as nickel-hydrogen technology.
Chuck Donet, Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, 3550 Aberdeen Ave. S.E., Kirtland AFB, NM 87117-5776; (505) 846-4899.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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