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.
According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the factors in the collapse of the original World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the reduction in the yield strength of the steel reinforcement as a result of the high temperatures of the fire and the loss of thermal insulation.
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Robots are getting more agile and automation systems are becoming more complex. Yet the most impressive development in robotics and automation is increased intelligence. Machines in automation are increasingly able to analyze huge amounts of data. They are often able to see, speak, even imitate patterns of human thinking. Researchers at European Automation
call this deep learning.
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