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Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Jul 14, 2019

Milestones in space travel: An illustrated timeline

Posted by in categories: engineering, space travel

We’ve come a long, long way since the U.S. first launched fruit flies into space in 1947. Since then, we’ve sent astronauts to the moon, installed an International Space Station in orbit and landed spacecraft on Mars. In the past couple of decades, private corporations such as SpaceX and Blue Origin have joined the fray and will likely play instrumental roles in aerospace engineering and space exploration. Here’s a look at some major advancements we’ve made in spacecraft technology and space exploration milestones over the past seven decades.

Jul 11, 2019

Scientists discover how to ‘lock’ heat in place using quantum mechanics

Posted by in categories: engineering, quantum physics

A ground-breaking study conducted by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has revealed a method of using quantum mechanical wave theories to “lock” heat into a fixed position.

Ordinarily, a source of diffuses through a conductive material until it dissipates, but Associate Professor Cheng-Wei Qiu from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the NUS Faculty of Engineering and his team used the principle of anti-parity-time (APT) symmetry to show that it is possible to confine the heat to a small region of a metal ring without it spreading over time.

In the future, this newly demonstrated phenomenon could be used to control in sophisticated ways and optimize efficacy in systems that need cooling. The results of the study were published on 12 April 2019 in the journal Science.

Jul 8, 2019

Team programs a humanoid robot to communicate in sign language

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI

For a robot to be able to “learn” sign language, it is necessary to combine different areas of engineering such as artificial intelligence, neural networks and artificial vision, as well as underactuated robotic hands. “One of the main new developments of this research is that we united two major areas of Robotics: complex systems (such as robotic hands) and social interaction and communication,” explains Juan Víctores, one of the researchers from the Robotics Lab in the Department of Systems Engineering and Automation of the UC3M.

The first thing the scientists did as part of their research was to indicate, through a simulation, the specific position of each phalanx in order to depict particular signs from Spanish Sign Language. They then attempted to reproduce this position with the robotic hand, trying to make the movements similar to those a human hand could make. “The objective is for them to be similar and, above all, natural. Various types of were tested to model this adaptation, and this allowed us to choose the one that could perform the gestures in a way that is comprehensible to people who communicate with sign language,” the researchers explain.

Finally, the scientists verified that the system worked by interacting with potential end-users. “The who have been in contact with the robot have reported 80 percent satisfaction, so the response has been very positive,” says another of the researchers from the Robotics Lab, Jennifer J. Gago. The experiments were carried out with TEO (Task Environment Operator), a for home use developed in the Robotics Lab of the UC3M.

Jul 8, 2019

Antigravity water transport system inspired by trees

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, sustainability, transportation

Efficiently moving water upward against gravity is a major feat of human engineering, yet one that trees have mastered for hundreds of millions of years. In a new study, researchers have designed a tree-inspired water transport system that uses capillary forces to drive dirty water upward through a hierarchically structured aerogel, where it can then be converted into steam by solar energy to produce fresh, clean water.

The researchers, led by Aiping Liu at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University and Hao Bai at Zhejiang University, have published a paper on the new transport and solar steam generation method in a recent issue of ACS Nano. In the future, efficient water transport methods have in and desalination.

“Our preparation method is universal and can be industrialized,” Liu told Phys.org. “Our materials have excellent properties and good stability, and can be reused many times. This provides the possibility for large-scale desalination and in the future.”

Jul 7, 2019

Demonstrations of DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI, transportation

DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program aims to improve mobility, survivability, safety, and effectiveness of future combat vehicles without piling on armor. The demonstrations featured here show progress on technologies for traveling quickly over varied terrain and improving situational awareness and ease of operation.

These demonstrations feature technologies developed for DARPA by:

Continue reading “Demonstrations of DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies” »

Jul 5, 2019

Multiplex Automated Genomic Engineering (MAGE)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, evolution

A machine that speeds up evolution is revolutionizing genome design and selection of designer microbes.

Jul 2, 2019

Mind-Uploading: The Impending Meta-System Transition of Humanity

Posted by in categories: biological, engineering, genetics, nanotechnology, neuroscience

The most probable mainstream non-invasive way to transfer human consciousness in the intermediate future, with initial stages in the 2030s, could be the convergence of optogenetics, nanotechnologies, neuroengineering, Cloud exocortex and an array of neurotechnologies allowing to connect our wetware directly to the Cloud.

Initially, each of us will have a personal exocortex in the Cloud, the third non-biological “de-cerebral” hemisphere, which will be in constant communication with the other two biological brain hemispheres.

At some point, this “third hemisphere,” will have a threshold information content and intimate knowledge of your biology, personality and other physical world attributes in order to seamlessly integrate with your persona as a holistic entity.

Jul 1, 2019

Solving a condensation mystery

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, sustainability

Condensation might ruin a wood coffee table or fog up glasses when entering a warm building on a winter day, but it’s not all inconveniences; the condensation and evaporation cycle has important applications.

Water can be harvested from “thin air,” or separated from salt in desalination plants by way of . Due to the fact condensing take heat with them when they evaporate, it’s also part of the cooling process in the industrial and high-powered computing arenas. Yet when researchers took a look at the newest method of condensation, they saw something strange: When a special type of is covered in a thin layer of oil, condensed water droplets seemed to be randomly flying across the surface at high velocities, merging with larger droplets, in patterns not caused by gravity.

“They’re so far apart, in terms of their own, relative dimensions”—the droplets have a diameter smaller than 50 micrometers—” and yet they’re getting pulled, and moving at really high velocities,” said Patricia Weisensee, assistant professor of mechanical engineering & materials science in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.

Jul 1, 2019

The Problems (and Possible Solutions) for Long Distance Space Travel

Posted by in categories: engineering, space travel

The idea of travelling amongst the stars is often romanticized in science fiction and pop culture. Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly are just a few examples where space flights are developed enough in that universe that traveling to another world is as easy as it is for us to travel to another country. Traveling by spacecraft in science fiction is often akin to travelling by airplane in the real world. But even as advanced as our technology is compared to when Star Trek first aired or when Star Wars graced the movie screens, it still is not quite at that level. The furthest mankind has ever touched down in space is the Moon, a relatively meager 238,900 miles away. For reference, Mars- the next place humanity may travel to- is 33.9 million miles away, and that’s only the next planet over from Earth! But in order to truly understand the troubles NASA and other space agencies are having with one of modern day’s biggest engineering problems, we must examine what makes it so hard for people to explore space.

Jun 28, 2019

Jason—a secretive group of Cold War science advisers—is fighting to survive in the 21st century

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, government, science

With the end of the Vietnam and Cold wars, Jason members began to branch out from physics and engineering. In 1977, they did their first assessment of global climate models and later advised DOE on which atmospheric measurements were most critical for the models. Since the mid-1990s, Jason has studied biotechnologies, including techniques for detecting biological weapons.


After near-death experience, top scientists seek a long-term home in the U.S. government.

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