Capitalizing on the ability of human bones to conduct sound underwater, France Telecom R&D, in partnership with the French communications company Amphicom, has invented what it claims is a "world first." Comprising a buoy fitted with a GSM phone relay, and an underwater terminal, the company's system allows telephone communication with an undersea diver. The terminal, hard wired to the buoy, is equipped with a telephone-like dial pad and special mouthpiece. A buzzer and flashing light alert the diver to incoming calls. Sound waves from the surface transit through the system to the mouthpiece. When the diver bites down on the mouthpiece, the vibrations propagate to the ear via the skull, which acts as a resonance chamber. Conversely, the diver can talk back in half duplex mode. Presently under test by archeologists excavating the presumed site of ancient Egypt's Alexandria lighthouse, the underwater communication system is scheduled for commercialization by the end of this year. France Telecom, meanwhile, is looking at ways to eliminate the wire link between buoy and submerged terminal. Call Manuel Lesaicherre at +33 1 44 44 93 93 or e-mail manuel. email@example.com.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.