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Engineering

Squink is a miniature factory (Photo credit:Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)

When I saw BotFactory's Squink in action at MakerCon in New York last month, it was one of those innovations that took a few minutes to sink in. It looks like a modified 3D printer, but it does much more. In essence, it is a home factory in a single package.  Read More

Lockheed sees its compact fusion reactor as ready in 10 years

Fusion reactors are a bit like buses; you wait forever for one, then two come along at once. No sooner does the University of Washington announce that it’s working on a breakthrough compact fusion reactor (CFR) than Lockheed Martin says that its Revolutionary Technology Programs unit, AKA the Skunk Works, in Palmdale, California has one that could be ready for market within ten years.  Read More

The high powered engine is also designed to improve weight distribution between the front ...

The unveiling of a new four-banger engine wouldn’t normally garner much attention, but Volvo's High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept is an exception. The 2.0 liter, gas-powered unit features "triple boost" technology capable of generating no less than 450 hp.  Read More

The water runs through a piece of piping, which rests in a trench-shaped structure coated ...

Armed with plywood, a glass tube and some empty chip packets, mechanical engineering students from the University of Adelaide have developed a low-cost water purification system capable of killing off harmful bacteria. The solution is designed for remote communities in Papua New Guinea (PNG), an area where water is particularly susceptible to pathogen infestation.  Read More

The proposals are intended to produce new power sources, such as the fuel cell used in thi...

Once upon a time, energy systems for space missions were simple. You used batteries for very short missions, solar panels in the inner Solar System, nuclear power generators if you were beyond Mars or needed a lot of power, and fuel cells for manned spacecraft. However, as space exploration starts looking into lunar polar craters, comets, and the icy moons of Jupiter, new energy systems will be needed. To anticipate that need, NASA has made awards to four proposals to develop advanced energy storage technology for future manned and unmanned space missions..  Read More

The Stanford University system uses a glass layer patterned with micro-pyramids and cones ...

Photovoltaic cells are one of the more promising alternative energy sources. Mechanically they are very simple, with no moving parts, and are clean and emission-free. Unfortunately they are also inefficient. One of the reasons for this is that they overheat, a problem that a Stanford University team under electrical engineering professor Shanhui Fan is addressing with the development of a thin glass layer that makes solar cells self-cooling.  Read More

In the two hours of driving about the Bolognese countryside, the Huracán showed itself to ...

Having seen the sumptuous collection of angles and curves that is the Lamborghini Huracán in person during its North American debut a few months back, I can attest to its visual impact, so I was just slightly pleased to learn I’d be driving the 610 hp specimen out of Lamborghini’s headquarters in Sant’Agata this month. So what's it like to drive the new baby bull?  Read More

Changing how orders are given to robotic joints has the potential to cut energy usage

Getting robots to carry out repetitive tasks precisely and untiringly is relatively easy. Getting them to do it in the most efficient way possible is another thing entirely. Unai Ugalde-Olea, lecturer in the Department of Electronics Technology of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country is working on a new way of controlling robot joints that promises energy savings of up to 40 percent by changing the way the robot handles instructions.  Read More

New components and techniques could allow robots to self-assemble when heated (Photo: MIT)

Lots of people make their own robots, and in all sorts of ways, but have you ever heard of anyone baking one in an oven? Researchers at MIT have demonstrated how to create self-assembling bodies that fold together when baked, as well as showing how a similar technique can be used to generate electronic components to control them.  Read More

A regenerative plastic developed at the University of Illinois seals up more than cracks

Dropping your mobile phone can ruin your whole day as you look down at the spiderweb of cracks surrounding a small hole in the once-pristine plastic case. Now imagine watching as those cracks and that hole seal up by themselves, leaving behind a completely healed case. That may sound like science fiction, but it may not be for long with a team of researchers at the University of Illinois having developed a new system that doesn't just repair minor cracks in plastic, but regenerates to heal large holes.  Read More

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