A palm-size robot that can jump about 3 feet high demonstrates the potential for future robots that can hop around terrain too hostile for human beings. The one-legged Saltatorial Locomotion of Terrain Obstacles robot, developed by a team at the University of California at Berkeley, achieves its leaps with an onboard motor and battery that preload a mechanical spring.
Direct brain stimulation replaces the visual interface for video games with technology that may help the visually impaired find their way in the real world. Players at the University of Washington demonstrated the gaming capability of transcranial magnetic stimulation, in which a magnetic coil at the back of a player's head gently and safely stimulated parts of the brain to guide the player through a game maze.
A Northrop Grumman drone designed to take off and land vertically is making progress, having passed two design reviews on its way to a full demonstration in 2018. The Tern program UAV will be able to fly efficiently to carry out its missions.
Eva Hakansson's hobby blends her passion for engineering, her green sympathies and thirst for speed in the form of a streamlined motorcycle that has carried her to the women's land speed record of 248.7 mph. Hakansson is modest, however, describing her 40-horsepower KillaJoule motorcycle as "just a giant cordless drill with wheels."
A chip for telescopes that does for excess light what chips in noise-canceling headphones do for unwanted sound will make it possible to directly view distant planets previously obscured by the intense light of the stars they orbit. Developed by scientists at Australian National University, the chip is essentially an interferometer, adding equal but opposite light waves that neutralize the light from a nearby star to reveal the weaker light from the target planet.
Whether in orbit or on one of the famous vomit-comet planes, achieving simulated zero gravity has been a costly proposition. A team at the Georgia Institute of Technology has a proposed cost-effective solution in the form of a quadcopter with variable-pitch propellers that could provide five seconds of zero G.
An abundance of narrow channels along the coast make Scotland a potential mighty source of power from sea tides. The Scots are beginning to take advantage with the MeyGen project, the world's largest tidal stream array, deploying generators that work much like wind turbines but instead draw their energy from ocean waves.
Researchers at Australia's University of New South Wales claim a size record for versatile and easy-to-produce perovskite solar cells, achieving 12.1% energy conversion for a cell covering 6.3 square inches. That's 10 times the size for such cells of comparable efficiency.
Liquidity may be the answer to batteries that can both store great amounts of energy and be charged quickly. Stefan Freunberger of Austria's Graz University of Technology maintains that the liquid in which ions move in a supercapacitor is the reason they can charge and discharge quickly and that the same capability is possible with high energy-density batteries using a redox active ionic liquid.
A bioplastic made from chitin in the shells of crustaceans and insects is mixed with so-called meat glue, a culinary ingredient, to create a glue that bonds with living tissue. The development at Harvard University's Wyss Institute is seen as a solution for quick battlefield treatment of gaping wounds and for securing biomedical implants and microfluidic devices in the body.
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