Sensors don't just make vehicles more comfortable. Banner Engineering's racing Pontiac GXP.R puts a customized Banner long-range optical sensor on each corner of the car's front end to measure its downforce, the downward pressure that makes the car hug the track. The greater the downforce, the faster the car can go through curves and turns. During practice runs, the car collects a stream of data about the changing distance between the car's front end and the track. Crews then modify the car's tires and suspension to fit the track's combination of curves and straights.
Two different shape-shifting polymers have been announced from two different universities: Wyss Institute at Harvard University and Zhejiang University in eastern China. Both of them change their shapes when immersed in water, and the one from Wyss Institute was made with 3D-printing techniques.
When you think of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, you may imagine complex humanoid contraptions made of metal and wires that move like a Terminator Series T-90. But what actually happened at the much-vaunted event was something just a bit different.
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