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
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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