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University of Sheffield

— Robotics

IBM developing robot assistance for technicians

If you've ever tried typing while talking to technical support with the phone crammed between ear and shoulder, then you know the meaning of frustration. Now imagine doing that upside down inside an airplane wing while juggling wires, crimps and a schematic printout. For some field engineers, that sort of thing is an everyday occurrence, so IBM in collaboration with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in the UK is developing a mobile maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) prototype robot. It's a combination of a smartphone app and a camera/projector mounted on a robot arm, that allows supervisors and experts to have a more active presence on the job. Read More
— Robotics

Scientists hope to put artificial bee brains in flying robots

Honey bees are fascinating creatures. They live harmoniously in large communities, divided into different castes, with some of the worker bees heading out on daily expeditions to gather nectar and pollen from flowers. Already, a study has suggested that the efficient method in which bees visit those flowers could inspire the improvement of human endeavors such as the building of faster computer networks. Now, scientists from the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex hope to build a computer model of the honey bee’s brain, with the ultimate hope of using it to control tiny autonomous flying robots. Read More
— Environment

Liquid laundry additive turns clothes into air purifiers

A laundry additive created by researchers from the University of Sheffield and the London College of Fashion turns clothing into a photocatalytic material that can help remove nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the air. One of the most prominent air pollutants, nitrogen oxides are emitted from the exhausts of ICE-powered vehicles and aggravate asthma and other respiratory diseases. The researchers claim one person getting around town in clothing treated with the additive for a day would be able to remove roughly the same amount of nitrogen oxides produced by the average family car each day. Read More
— Good Thinking

New system saves time and money in locating leaks in water pipes

Tracking down the source of a leak in water pipes can be a tricky business. Current techniques rely on acoustic sensing with microphones often used to identify noise resulting from pressurized water escaping the pipe. In plastic pipes in particular, that noise can fall away quickly, making leak detection difficult and time consuming. Researchers at the University of Sheffield claim to have developed a much more accurate system that locates leaks by sending a pressure wave along the pipe that sends back a signal if it passes any anomalies in the pipe’s surface. Read More
— Science

New process could revolutionize electron microscopy

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have created what sounds impossible - even nonsensical: an experimental electron microscope without lenses that not only works, but is orders of magnitude more powerful than current models. By means of a new form of mathematical analysis, scientists can take the meaningless patterns of dots and circles created by the lens-less microscope and create images that are of high resolution and contrast and, potentially, up to 100 times greater magnification. Read More