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Engineering


— Environment

Mirror coating to cool buildings by pumping interior heat into space

By - November 26, 2014 2 Pictures
Keeping buildings cool isn't easy. In fact, conventional air conditioning methods are very energy intensive and account for up to 15 percent of the energy used in buildings in the United States alone. However, engineers at Stanford University have come up with a new ultrathin, multilayered, nanophotonic material that not only reflects heat away from buildings, but also directs heat from inside out into space, cooling both the building and the planet as well. Read More
— Science

Lockheed Martin announces it's working on a compact fusion reactor

By - October 16, 2014 4 Pictures
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
— Health and Wellbeing

Low-cost water purifiers use chip packets to kill off dangerous bacteria

By - September 16, 2014 3 Pictures
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
— Space

NASA selects proposals for advanced energy storage technologies

By - August 9, 2014 2 Pictures
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
— Science

Stanford researchers develop self-cooling solar cells

By - July 25, 2014
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
— Automotive

Test drive: Locking horns with the Lamborghini Huracán

By - July 10, 2014 61 Pictures
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
— Robotics

Changing instructions to make robot joints more energy efficient

By - July 7, 2014
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
— Robotics

One oven-baked robot to go, please

By - June 1, 2014
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
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