Not an aging rock star, "rod creep" is a fault in a fly-fishing cast where the rod rotates forward at the end of the back cast instead of stopping. Now, thanks to MEMs technology and Noel Perkins, mechanical engineering professor at the University of Michigan, anglers may have an easier time diagnosing such faults. Perkins wanted to master fly fishing and had previous experience simulating sensor-equipped submarine detection cables for the Navy. Modeling the fly line was similar, but Perkins needed devices to help understand how much his cast deviated from ideal. Using MEMs motion sensors, he built a device to measure fly-rod motion and wired it to his Palm Pilot attached to the rod. His "casting signature" can be compared to an expert's. He is looking for partners to develop the technology. www.engin.umich.edu
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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