The leading advances in materials and mechanical devices over the past year are showcased among the finalists in the Mechanical Devices/Materials awards category by a selection committee for R&D Magazine. The awards, based on each entrants' past, present and future significance, will be presented in November at a ceremony dubbed the "Oscars of Invention."
The exceedingly thin but durable needle of a mosquito is the inspiration behind a new method for treating hard-to-reach brain tumors. The device, developed by University of Texas mechanical engineer Chris Rylander and his research team, employs seven microneedles that branch out around a tumor to deliver a cancer-fighting drug in multiple areas at once.
Demand is growing globally for buildings and cities that are smart and sustainable. Catherine McKalip-Thompson, manager of sustainability for Bechtel Infrastructure, describes how the close integration of engineering, architecture and planning figure in this trend in a video from ASME's 2016 Power & Energy Conference in Charlotte, N.C.
Next year the Australian government will designate the bandwidth necessary to create a nationwide communications network that allows vehicles to connect with each other and the transportation infrastructure around them. The nation's automakers applauded the decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to use the 5.9GHz band for connected car communications.
Solar thermal energy converters, generators that capture and use heat from the sun, have greater potential than solar cells for efficient, low-cost energy production. Preventing heat loss through conduction or convection is the key, and researchers at the UK's University of Bristol have developed a three-layer sandwich with carbon and gold that effectively accomplishes this.
Solar stills to purify water are typically costly affairs due to the mirrors or lenses required to concentrate the heat of the sun. But MIT mechanical engineer Gang Chen has developed a low-cost alternative that employs a commonly used metal and ceramic composite material, copper and bubble wrap as an insulator, thus lowering the cost to about 5% of conventional technology.
Computerized maintenance management systems are a powerful way to use predictive maintenance and can make positive contributions if other departments are allowed access. In such scenarios, CMMS can serve as the go-to source for an agreed-on "version of the truth" and reduce drains on productivity and communications.
Remote diagnostics for truck fleets are now refined enough to distinguish between faults that require immediate attention and those that can wait, thus keeping more trucks on the road. And now they can even make engine adjustments remotely, eliminating the need to visit a shop.
BRAINtellect 2, a wearable device with sensors that was developed to improve sleep quality, could help reduce the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as treat PTSD, according to researchers at the Military Health System Research Symposium. Researchers looked at data from a large number of combat personnel and found an association between sleep disturbance and PTSD.
For those willing to commit to crowdfunding, a 3D printer that prints in ceramics can now be had for $165. The VAY kit is the product of a team of Chinese students led by mechanical engineer Wen-Qiang Liu, a long-time advocate of bringing the technology to the masses at low cost.
- Page 1