NASA Langley Research Center has ordered a full-scale Mars airplane prototype from Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. (www.aurora.aero) as part of the Mars Scout Aerial Regional-Scale Environmental Survey project. Designed to demonstrate flight-weight components and actual aerodynamics, the prototype plane is scheduled to make its first flight later this year with a deployment test in the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere. In 2002 Aurora and NASA Langley successfully demonstrated a half-scale version of the airplane in a series of low- and high-altitude drop tests where it unfolded from a protective shell.
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.