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Maintenance

Military

Solid lubricant smooths the way for reduced weapon maintenance

One the most tedious yet vital tasks of the foot soldier is personal weapon cleaning and maintenance. Under field conditions, it has to be done daily and failure to do so can literally mean the difference between life and death. To reduce this task and make the weapon more durable and reliable, the US Army Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey is developing a Durable Solid Lubricant (DSL) that replaces the more conventional wet lubricants.Read More

Drones

Researchers developing drones to autonomously repair the cities of the future

A lot of time and effort goes into keeping our cities in working order. Potholes need filling, power lines need maintaining and street light globes need replacing when blown. But a new initiative led by the University of Leeds could soon see these labor-intensive tasks taken care of by an army of drones that keep a watchful eye over our streets, tending to cracks in our urban environment the moment they begin to appear.Read More

Music

Grundorf releases folding guitar maintenance table

Though the tone of a guitar won't be affected by regular maintenance, removing the accumulated gunk, giving it a good polish and paying some attention to the hardware will not only help it retain its looks, but it should play better, too. Trying to find a suitable surface to perform these essential tasks, having all the necessary tools at hand and making sure that the instrument is adequately supported can be quite a challenge. Grundorf's portable GMT-004 folds out to accommodate acoustic or electric guitars, includes compartments for stowing away tools, strings and supplies, and features a pop-up support for the instrument's neck.Read More

Volkswagen reportedly working on new 10-speed gearbox

How many gears are too many for the average commuter vehicle? If you’re pulling a load of cattle across Saskatchewan, then a semi-tractor unit with nine gears should suffice. But if you’re Volkswagen, then the magic number for your upcoming models is in fact 10. Read More

Robotics

Snake-like robot to help automate aircraft wing construction

Although modern jet airliners may be at the cutting edge of technology, assembling them is, in many ways, still as much of a craft as 18th century shipbuilding, requiring loads of skill and manual labor to get the job done. The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (IWU) in Chemnitz, Germany wants to bring airplane construction into the 21st century with a snake-like robot that can assemble airplane wings by reaching into narrow, hard to reach cavities. Read More

Science

Fiber optics on the right wavelength to prevent rail accidents

A team from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University is to release details of a seven-year program to monitor a 36-km stretch of high-speed rail line using a series of special fiber optic sensors . According to a press release put out by the Optical Society, the system has detected "anomalous vibrations" on 30 occasions, allowing the early rectification of emerging problems that could conceivably have gone on to cause rail accidents.Read More

Automotive

Compact laser system scans road surfaces at 100 km/h

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques have come up with a car-mounted laser scanner the size of a shoe box, that can survey the contours of road surfaces at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph). The system detects potholes and other road damage in need of repair. According to the Institute, the Pavement Profile Scanner (or PPS) has surveyed 15,000 km of road since mid-2012, in which time it has proven cheaper, faster and more accurate than existing systems which require hefty attachments to the carrier vehicle.Read More

3D Printing

Inching SkySweeper robot provides cheap way to inspect powerlines

If you look up at a power line in a few years and see something skittering along the wires, it (hopefully) won't be a mutant crab monster, but a powerline inspection robot costing less than US$1,000. A prototype of such a robot, called SkySweeper, was presented this month at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering's Research Expo. The robot was built with off-the-shelf electronics and plastic parts printed on an inexpensive 3D printer. Read More

Robotics

Prototype robots autonomously strip paint from aircraft using lasers

If you think stripping paint off an end table can be a messy, time consuming job, imagine removing paint and other coatings from an aircraft like the C-130 transport plane. Tasked with developing a robotic system that would take such a chore out of the hands of maintenance personnel, Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, developed a team of robots that gets the job done – using laser beams, no less. Read More

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