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Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Mar 26, 2020

This is why Elon Musk wanted to avoid Parachutes

Posted by in categories: engineering, space, space travel

By Bill D’Zio Originally published on www.westeastspace.com

Parachutes are plaguing space programs. SpaceX doesn’t like Parachutes. They are difficult to design, hard to package, and easy to damage. The larger the mass of the spacecraft, the more effort to slow down. Larger, more efficient, complex parachute systems are needed. Several failures have hit the industry over the last few years, including SpaceX Crew Dragon, ESA ExoMars, Boeing CST-100, and the NASA Orion to name a few.


How do parachutes work and why are they hard?

The idea of a parachute is simple. All falling objects fall the same when under the same conditions… that is so long as no outside force is exerted on it. So two objects dropped from the same altitude, one a feather and hammer will fall equally. Don’t believe me? NASA tested it on the Moon. During Apollo 15 moon walk, Commander David Scott performed a live demonstration for the television cameras. Commander Scott did the Apollo 15 Hammer and Feather test. He held out a geologic hammer and a Falcon feather and dropped them at the same time. Because there is not an atmosphere on the Moon, they were essentially in a vacuum. With no air resistance force, the feather fell at the same rate as the hammer. Ironically, Apollo 15 had a second demonstration of falling objects when one of the parachutes failed to function as planned.

Apollo 15 parachute Failure Credit NASA

On Earth, and any other planet with an atmosphere, air acts as a resistance force for an object moving through it. We can get more air resistance force by increasing the surface area. Depending on the shape of the object, it’s orientation, and the amount of resistance will increase, and therefore slow the object down. Unbalanced and uncorrected resistance can cause the object to start to turn, twist and tumble. A parachute system is deployed to generate air resistance from the atmosphere. (note that the thicker the atmosphere the more resistance) Parachutes designed for use on Earth will not be the same as a parachute designed for Mars.

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Mar 26, 2020

Israeli scientist’s shrimp antiviral could be adapted for coronavirus

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

The 43-year-old scientist is a member of the Technion’s Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering, and his lab first developed a food additive to boost the immune system of animals to protect them from contracting viral diseases. This invention formed the basis of his own commercialized start-up company, ViAqua Therapeutics, which focused the development of the drug on shrimp, as over 30% of the global shrimp population is wiped out yearly by a viral disease known as white spot syndrome.


Israeli scientist and entrepreneur Prof. Avi Schroeder is working on a preventative drug for the coronavirus by adapting a food additive designed for shrimp.

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Mar 26, 2020

Helm.ai raises $13M on its unsupervised learning approach to driverless car AI

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

Four years ago, mathematician Vlad Voroninski saw an opportunity to remove some of the bottlenecks in the development of autonomous vehicle technology thanks to breakthroughs in deep learning.

Now, Helm.ai, the startup he co-founded in 2016 with Tudor Achim, is coming out of stealth with an announcement that it has raised $13 million in a seed round that includes investment from A.Capital Ventures, Amplo, Binnacle Partners, Sound Ventures, Fontinalis Partners and SV Angel. More than a dozen angel investors also participated, including Berggruen Holdings founder Nicolas Berggruen, Quora co-founders Charlie Cheever and Adam D’Angelo, professional NBA player Kevin Durant, Gen. David Petraeus, Matician co-founder and CEO Navneet Dalal, Quiet Capital managing partner Lee Linden and Robinhood co-founder Vladimir Tenev, among others.

Helm.ai will put the $13 million in seed funding toward advanced engineering and R&D and hiring more employees, as well as locking in and fulfilling deals with customers.

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Mar 25, 2020

Elon Musk: Tesla Model Y heat pump is some of the best engineering I’ve seen in a while

Posted by in categories: climatology, Elon Musk, engineering, sustainability

Elon Musk praised Tesla’s team for the Model Y’s heat pump — a feature that could make the electric SUV much more efficient in colder climates.

Last week, Tesla started deliveries of the Model Y, its fourth vehicle in the current lineup and fifth model ever.

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Mar 23, 2020

New device quickly detects harmful bacteria in blood

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

Engineers have created a tiny device that can rapidly detect harmful bacteria in blood, allowing health care professionals to pinpoint the cause of potentially deadly infections and fight them with drugs.

The Rutgers coauthored study, led by researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology, is published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

“The rapid identification of drug-resistant bacteria allows to prescribe the right drugs, boosting the chances of survival,” said coauthor Ruo-Qian (Roger) Wang, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Mar 19, 2020

Stretchable supercapacitors to power tomorrow’s wearable devices

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, engineering, wearables

Researchers at Duke University and Michigan State University have engineered a novel type of supercapacitor that remains fully functional even when stretched to eight times its original size. It does not exhibit any wear and tear from being stretched repeatedly and loses only a few percentage points of energy performance after 10,000 cycles of charging and discharging.

The researchers envision the being part of a power-independent, stretchable, flexible electronic system for applications such as wearable electronics or .

The results appear online March 19 in Matter, a journal from Cell Press. The research team includes senior author Changyong Cao, assistant professor of packaging, and electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University (MSU), and senior author Jeff Glass, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke. Their co-authors are doctoral students Yihao Zhou and Qiwei Han and research scientist Charles Parker from Duke, as well as Ph.D. student Yunteng Cao from the Massachusetts Institutes of Technology.

Mar 19, 2020

The imitation game: Scientists describe and emulate new quantum state of entangled photons

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, information science, nanotechnology, quantum physics

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A research team from ITMO University, with the help of colleagues from MIPT (Russia) and Politecnico di Torino (Italy), has predicted a novel type of topological quantum state of two photons. Scientists have also applied a new, affordable experimental method for testing this prediction. The method relies on an analogy: Instead of expensive experiments with quantum systems of two or more entangled photons, the researchers have used resonant electric circuits of higher dimensionality described by similar equations. The obtained results can be useful for the engineering of optical chips and quantum computers without the need for expensive experiments. The research was published in Nature Communications.

Light plays a key role in modern information technologies: With its help, information is transmitted over large distances via optical fibers. In the future, scientists anticipate the invention of optical chips and computers that process information with the help of photons—light quanta—instead of electrons, as it is done today. This will decrease energy consumption, while also increasing the capabilities of computers. However, to turn these predictions into reality, fundamental and applied research of light behavior at the micro- and nanoscale is needed.

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Mar 18, 2020

New scanner can improve the detection of cancer tissue and brain disease diagnoses

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, engineering, neuroscience

A group of neuroscience and neurotechnology researchers have conducted extensive research and developed a new brain imaging technology in two EU projects led by Aalto University. As a result of the successful research, a new project funded by Business Finland just started with the aim of making the devices usable for patients. The project’s budget is one million euros.

“More can be helpful in locating epileptic activity before surgery. The new device is also expected to help distinguish brain tumours from healthy tissue more accurately prior to cancer surgery. In addition, the device will increase our understanding of the connections between the different brain regions. This will help us understand abnormal brain activity in connection with, for example, depression or the progress of Alzheimer’s disease,” explains Professor Risto Ilmoniemi, Head of Aalto University Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering.

The improved accuracy can also be useful in the study of stroke, autism and brain injuries; and especially as part of basic brain research.

Mar 14, 2020

The Future is Now. Biomedical advances that will change the human body

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, computing, cyborgs, engineering, life extension, transhumanism

Dreams of human immortality may remain so, but extending our lives beyond 100, even 150 years, can soon become a reality. ‘The Future is Now’ explores ground-breaking technology that might help us to slow down the ageing process and overcome our physical limitations.

3D-printing of brand new human organs, controlling bionic prosthetics with your mind, or invading your body with disease-fighting microrobots. Hosts Kate and Talish bring you the latest developments in biomedical engineering.

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Mar 13, 2020

A flower pollination algorithm for efficient robot path planning

Posted by in categories: engineering, information science, robotics/AI

Over the past decade or so, researchers worldwide have developed increasingly advanced techniques to enable robot navigation in a variety of environments, including on land, in the air, underwater or on particularly rough terrains. To be effective, these techniques should allow robots to move around in their surroundings both safely and efficiently, saving as much energy as possible.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in India have recently developed a new approach to achieve efficient path planning in mobile robots. Their method, presented in a paper published in Springer Link’s Nature-Inspired Computation in Navigation and Routine Problems, is based on the use of a flower pollination (FPA), a soft computing-based tool that can identify ideal solutions to a given problem by considering a number of factors and criteria.

“Flower pollination algorithms (FPAs) have shown their potential in various engineering fields,” Atul Mishra, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told TechXplore. “In our study, we used the algorithm to solve the problem of path planning for mobile robots. Our prime objective was to plan, in the least time possible, the most optimal path in terms of minimum path length and energy consumption, with maximum safety.”

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