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Engineering

Science

Stanford researchers develop self-cooling solar cells

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

Robotics

Changing instructions to make robot joints more energy efficient

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

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

Science

Regenerating plastic is better on the "hole"

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

Space

SpaceHabs: One man's architectural vision for colonizing Mars

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

Architecture

Zaha Hadid's stunning Dongdaemun Design Plaza opens in Seoul

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

Marine

GE using medical X-rays to inspect undersea pipelines

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

Architecture

Taizhou Bridge awarded supreme structural engineering gong

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

Electronics

Summon the geek squad: An Oscilloscope Watch!

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

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