Air delivery of supplies to areas where there's no place to land is typically done by parachute or helicopter. A parachute is reusable, but requires a trained rigger, periodic inspection, occasional repairs, controlled storage conditions and, of course, some way to return it to base after the drop. In dire battlefield conditions, used parachute components must at least be made unavailable to the enemy. In jungle areas, parachutes tend to leave the cargo hanging in the trees. Helicopters are expensive to operate, impossible to hide, make for high-risk operations behind enemy lines and can't land in the jungle without a prepared site.
Chase Warren and his teammates at DropMaster Inc. have a better idea: an economical, single-use delivery system that's compact, simple to rig and has the rectangular shipping container with all of the parts inside transforming into the hexagonal drop box! A small drogue chute with a metering line orients the package in free-fall and then deploys the deceleration system — three rotor blades that spin with the cargo (no bearings) at about 450 rpm and create lift to control the descent rate. It penetrates tree cover without a hitch and you can even use the parts as a camp stove to cook those fresh groceries!
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.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
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.