Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Engineering

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

On Earth, every aspect of our homes has been an evolving process for generations whereas o...

With a projected settlement date of 2025, the Mars One project has received over 200,000 applications for the one way trip to the Red Planet. But creating a living, sustainable community on the distant planet for the select inhabitants will require not only unique technological and engineering solutions, but also novel architectural systems. Bryan Versteeg is a conceptual designer who’s been working with the Mars One team in anticipation of the planet’s eventual colonization.  Read More

The façade itself is not solid; instead it incorporates a field of pixilation and perforat...

Known for her futuristic, curvilinear architectural forays, Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi Pritzker prize winning architect, has never been one to shy away from making a statement. From London’s Aquatics Centre to the Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion to the Guangzhou Opera House, Zaha’s architectural style remains unique. Now the Iraqi born designer can add Korea’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza to her resume.  Read More

Artist's impression of the undersea pipline X-ray in operation (Image: GE)

Using X-rays and other forms of radiation has been a standard tool for testing pipelines for decades, but until now it's been largely confined to factories and land-based pipelines instead of the deep seabed. That’s changing as GE adapts its medical X-ray systems to work in the crushing pressures of the deep oceans, as part of a remote-controlled submersible rig for examining pipelines in place.  Read More

Taizhou Bridge under construction

The 2,940-m long Taizhou Bridge has won the Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence at this year's Structural Awards. The event gives the nod to a variety of structures across numerous categories, but it was the three-tower, long-span suspension bridge, the first of its kind, which received the overall "Supreme" gong. Read more about the project and the individual category winners after the cut.  Read More

The Gabotronics Oscilloscope Watch is a testlab on your wrist (Photo: Gabotronics)

What do you wear on your wrist, is one-third the size of a deck of cards, and helps you troubleshoot your latest electronics project? The Oscilloscope Watch, of course. The Swiss army knife of electronics, this tiny test lab (or bulky watch) includes a 2-channel oscilloscope, frequency analyzer, arbitrary function generator, and a protocol sniffer. The price? An amazing US$125. Oh yes ... it also tells time.  Read More

Manuel Dominguez' Very Large Structure (Image CC BY-SA Manuel Dominguez)

Of all the questions one might like to ask Manuel Domínguez about his architecture thesis project, why he called it Very Large Structure is probably low on the list. Domínguez' concept depicts compactly planned cities atop vast mobile structures, capable of crawling to new locations as the needs or desires of the populace dictate. The idea clearly recalls Ron Herron's Walking City essay for Archigram in 1964, and though Domínguez cites that as an inspiration, he says it's just one among many. Real-world technology seems to have been the main influence.  Read More

The Tri-D engine test firing

Like something out of a Robert Heinlein novel, students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have built a metal rocket engine using a technique previously confined to NASA. Earlier this month, the students conducted a hot fire test for a 3D-printed metal rocket engine at a launch site in California’s Mojave Desert. This is the first such test of a printed liquid-fueled, metal rocket engine by any university in the world and the first designed and printed outside of NASA.  Read More

X-RHex-Light shows off its obstacle beating agility

Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible. It's a challenge for humans, so how would robots fare? In an effort to push the boundaries of robotic agility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to find out by teaching their RHex robot some Parkour moves.  Read More

With Disney Research's new software, even complex movements like four-legged walking can b...

Mechanized characters, such as clockwork automatons that move using a series of gears, go back hundreds of years. Now the most difficult aspect of their mechanical design, which took specialized engineering skill and lots of trial and error, has largely been eliminated by a pair of new software tools developed by Disney Research labs in Zürich and Boston, and labs at ETH Zürich and MIT. They're being presented this week at ACM SIGGRAPH 2013, the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.  Read More

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