Orlando, FL--This week Florida is the place to be for the latest developments in robotics. Most significant is Thursday's launch aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour of the Canadian robot arm to the International Space Station. This next generation grappler is similar to the arm on the Shuttle that is used to release or snare payloads, and will be used on the station to perform maintenance tasks as well. But unlike the Shuttle arm, the new arm will eventually ride on rails along the station's truss structure or can move inchworm-like, end-over-end among special fixtures, containing power and data ports, mounted in several spots on station components. Visit www.pao-ksc.nasa.gov
for more details.
All week, SPIE, the international society for optical engineering (www.spie.org), is holding its annual AeroSense symposium in Orlando-devoted to developments in aerospace/defense sensing, simulation, guidance, and control. Specific conference sessions include topics such as thermal imaging in law enforcement, robotic technology for industrial vehicles, military tactical robots and unattended ground sensors, and medical developments including a non-contact prisoner health monitor and far-forward battlefield life support. Rounding out the symposium are dozens of short courses and an exhibit hall with over 150 companies and organizations, including a Russian product pavilion.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
Norway-based additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is building what it says is the first industrial-scale 3D printing plant in the world for making aerospace-grade metal components. The New York state plant will produce 400 metric tons each year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium parts.
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