Advanced molding technologies, such as micro molding and metal injection molding, are under review as a way to lighten the load for U.S. soldiers in combat zones. One potential application: wearable antennas. Options include integrated helmet and fabric antennas. Radiation patterns and gain should be comparable to (or ideally superior to) a whip antenna. No snag hazards are acceptable, breakaway connections may be necessary, and designs that do not require wiring to the helmet are preferred. For more information, check out the new Design News Mechatronics Zone.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
Researchers at MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory are developing shoulder- and hip-mounted robotic arms to help workers in aircraft manufacturing perform difficult or complex assembly tasks that would normally require two people.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.