Mars is becoming a proving ground for the lifetimes of lithium-ion batteries. The Phoenix Mars Lander is carrying Lithion modules from Yardney Technical Products Inc. When it lands on May 25, after a 423 million mile journey, the batteries will power the vehicle at night when solar panels can’t. Yardney’s intergalactic durability was already proven in the Mars Exploration Rovers launched in 2003. One of the spacecraft’s jobs will be to study the history of water, reusing instruments from two earlier Mars landers, one that failed to work and one that wasn’t launched.
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 vehicle’s 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 that’s 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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