Anyone who has been to Festo's stand at the Hannover Fair in Hannover, Germany knows to expect an amazing, technological "wow factor" combined with a certain, well, silliness. From pneumatic-powered "moon boots" to a bionic hand with realistic, articulating fingers that you can shake (watch the grip!) to a series of automated mops sweeping furiously like something out of Disney's Fantasia, the show that Festo engineers put on is always entertaining. The company's recent press conference was no exception either. It was the venue for the reprise of the "Airfish," a helium-filled, remote-controlled, dirigible-like flying machine that Festo first introduced a few years ago. Designed by the firm Effekt-Technik, the unmanned, 7.5m-long airfish employs a series of remote-controlled fans that can be oriented accordingly for lift, pitch, yaw, and roll control. In this way, inventor (and engineer) Rainer Mugrauer could control what is essentially a helium-filled balloon with at least a modicum of precision. For effect (or maybe by accident, who could tell?), he sent the airfish into a Kamikaze-like dive onto the stage, prompting Dr. Eberhard Veit, director of product and technology management, to recoil in mock horror at the attack. Festo engineers promise more merriment—and some pretty cool serious stuff as well—at their stand at this year's Hannover Fair (April 11-15, 2005). Check out the show details at www.hannovermesse.de.
Sharon Glotzer and David Pine are hoping to create the first liquid hard drive with liquid nanoparticles that can store 1TB per teaspoon. They aren't the first to find potential data stores, as Harvard researchers have stored 700 TB inside a gram of DNA.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
UK researchers have come up with a method for machining aerospace-grade, carbon fiber-reinforced composites, along with high-strength aerospace alloys, using an ultrasonically assisted machining device. It also works on high-strength aerospace alloys.
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