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Brian Dodson

Design Engineer Ackeem Ngwenya contemplating  the internal structure of his Roadless varia...

Graduate student Ackeem Ngwenya has combined the 6000 year-old wheel with modern materials to develop a new type of all-terrain wheel assembly that switches from narrow to wide tread at the turn of a screw. His Roadless wheel system, while envisioned for rural applications in his native Malawi, has the potential to be as big a change to road (and off-road) transport as was the introduction of anti-lock braking.  Read More

Laser enrichment of isotopes has major potential to reduce the cost of nuclear power (Phot...

With the world’s first laser enrichment plant having received a construction and operating license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2012, the stage has been set for a radical change in the industry. So how does laser enrichment work, and what commercial benefits, along with proliferation concerns, does this new process present compared to current methods?  Read More

An engineering startup is taking on development of a demonstrator Hyperloop (Image: Elon M...

Well, Elon Musk can relax now. Having previously announced his intention to at least build a Hyperloop demonstrator, he now appears relieved to leave that task to HTT (Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc). HTT is an engineering startup company operating under the wing of California-based JumpStartFund. It has developed basic organization and operational plans, as well as having established key partnerships to help navigate a path to a working Hyperloop.  Read More

50 kW CO2 laser in action (Photo: Laser Effects Test Facility - US Government)

A group of researchers at NIST working with engineers from Colorado-based Scientech has developed a new approach to measuring laser power using a mirror and a scale. This method, which measures the force on the mirror driven by the radiation pressure of the laser light, presents a more rugged and more portable solution than current meters.  Read More

A cross-sectional view of the LUX dark matter detector (Image: LUX)

The Large Underground Xenon experiment, buried nearly a mile beneath South Dakota, has completed 85 days of seeking dark matter particles. The results are consistent with a null result, and essentially rule out the 8.6 GeV dark matter candidate noted in the data of other experiments.  Read More

A 110-core CPU chip based on a new architecture has been developed that reduces on-chip tr...

A 110-core CPU chip has been developed by computer scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The chip is based on a new architecture in which instead of bringing data across the chip to the core that happens to want it, you move the program to the core where the data is stored. In practice, this new architecture reduces the amount of on-chip data exchange tenfold, along with the heat and infrastructure demanded by conventional chip architecture.  Read More

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has carried out the first gliding approach and landing tes...

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) carried out the first gliding approach and landing test of their Dream Chaser spacecraft at Edwards Air Force Base on October 26. The vehicle dropped from its carrier aircraft at 11:10 am, and carried out gliding and landing maneuvers flawlessly. However, the left landing gear door did not function, causing the test spacecraft to flip on landing.  Read More

The TWI 5 kw laser torch in operation (Photo: TWI)

To address the challenges encountered in decommissioning a nuclear facility, the UK-based firm TWI has since 2009 been developing laser tube-cutting methods for the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. It has now demonstrated a 5 kW fiber laser projector, configured rather like a rifle, that can be wielded by a single person.  Read More

Gaia mapping the stars of the Milky Way (Photo: ESA/ATG medialab; background image: ESO/S....

The Gaia mission to map a billion stars in the Milky Way has been delayed for about two months by the European Space Agency. Problems in X-band transponders used in other satellites have begun to appear, and the ESA has decided to replace those modules prior to launching. The likely blastoff date will be in late December of this year.  Read More

Artist's concept of the World View balloon capsule in flight (Photo: World View Enterprise...

The newest entry in the fledgling space (or near-space) tourism sector will see passengers take a balloon ride to an altitude of 30 km (18.6 mi) from where they will be treated to a spectacular view of the Earth. World View Enterprises has now obtained US Federal Aviation Administration approval for its proposed balloon experiences, which will cost US$75k, and are projected to begin in 2016.  Read More

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