The National Science Foundation is funding a collaborative effort between NASA and the University of Buffalo's Department of Physics to develop a new type of shock-absorbing system that may one day protect skyscrapers, bridges, shops, and automobile bumpers from powerful impacts. Surajit Sen, an associate professor of physics at the university, designed the new shock-absorbing system that consists of a long, cone-shaped chain of spheres. The sphere positioned closest to the expected source of a shock impulse is the largest. Each subsequent sphere is slightly smaller, with the smallest sphere positioned closest to the thing needing protection from shock. As mass is reduced, the energy of the impulse is distributed, according to Sen. He envisions a structural material embedded with chains of the spheres. For more information, call (716) 645-5000, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.buffalo.edu.
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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