5 Things For January
Foldable Drone Offers Easier Access to Tight Spaces
The engineers were inspired by birds that can fold their wings mid-flight.
Super Magnesium: A New Wonder Material
Initially used in the military and aerospace sectors, Super Magnesium is now seeing new application potential.
Deep-learning technique reveals “invisible” objects in the dark
Method could illuminate features of biological tissues in low-exposure images.
Gulls inspire innovative flight design
Canadian researchers say a gull's ability to move a single elbow joint to change its wing shape could inspire better aircraft. "If you can change the shape of the wings, you can create more stable configurations with lower drag when you want more endurance," says Philippe Lavoie of the University of Toronto.
Boeing reveals ultrathin wing concept
Boeing has shared details of the newest version of its Transonic Truss-Braced Wing aircraft being developed for NASA's Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research program. It features an adjusted wing sweep; ultrathin, foldable wings with a span of 170 feet; and a new truss, which together allow the aircraft to travel at Mach 0.8.
What's on the horizon for 3D printing in 2019?
This year could be the year 3D printing "moves from prototyping into full production in the automotive industry," says HP's Christoph Schell. Other trends to look for include increased use of polyolefins and Digital Alloys' Joule Printing.
3D printing being used creatively in veterinary medicine
Veterinarians harnessed the power of 3D printing this year to make prosthetic limbs and braces for dogs and birds, carapaces for turtles, a temporary casque for a hornbill and models for surgical planning. 3D-printed robotic fish protect zebra fish from predators and are being used instead of real fish for experimentation, and 3D-printed robotic flowers attract bees to pesticide-free sites.
Robot climbs, explores icy walls
A NASA-designed robot called IceWorm scales up icy glaciers and walls by fastening its feet into ice with screws and unscrewing them one at a time to move, says Aaron Curtis, the technology's lead designer and a postdoctoral scholar at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The 1.4-meter robot, which researchers hope will one day be able to store samples during movement, can explore remote frozen areas that are too dangerous for humans, Curtis says.
Robot hand comes close to human original
Simplicity is the key for a robotic hand developed at England's University of Cambridge. Researchers acknowledged the high degree of complexity in duplicating the movements of a human hand and opted for a mix of rigid and soft materials to approximate that structure well enough for their 3D-printed hand to play simple tunes on the piano.
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