Airbus is expanding the use of fiber-reinforced materials, slashing weight by 25 percent over aluminum. But as usage increases, so does the likelihood reinforced parts will crack. Though cracks in fiber-reinforced materials expand more slowly as they grow, pilots and passengers would still like to know these cracks are spotted and fixed quickly. Airbus is working with Belgian sensor maker XenICs to integrate long, fiber-like sensors within fiber-reinforced plastic components. The resulting in-flight aircraft structural analysis system will monitor the internal health of crucial structural components continuously during flight. Up to 40 sensor fields can be evaluated simultaneously within one fiber.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicleís parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but thatís just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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