New Carbon Nanotube Yarn Harvests Mechanical Energy

UT Dallas

UT Dallas researchers have made novel carbon nanotube yarns that convert mechanical movement into electricity more effectively than other material-based energy harvesters. Their new version is constructed much like traditional wool or cotton yarns and could be incorporated into clothing to harvest human motion.

Researcher Dr. Ray Baughman, “Our materials do something very unusual. When you stretch them, instead of becoming less dense, they become more dense. This densification pushes the carbon nanotubes closer together and contributes to their energy-harvesting ability.”

https://news.utdallas.edu/science-technology/carbon-nanotube-yarn-2023/
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-022-01191-7

Helping People Talk Again With Brain Computer Interfaces

Stanford University

Researchers at Stanford recently published a preprint paper showing their thought-to-text BCI working at 62 words per minute, allowing a woman who lost the ability to speak due to ALS, to communicate by thinking.

Similar technologies already exist, but the team claims this is around 3x faster than other systems.

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.01.21.524489v1.full
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF3FKPZdCTY

Researchers Explore Harvesting Energy From Moving Trains

Virginia Tech

“Virginia Tech researchers have created a new type of railroad tie that generates electricity as a train’s wheels roll over it, providing power in remote locations to operate rail systems.”

“Their high-tech tie, placed underneath the rail, is topped with a heavy metal bar mounted on a spring. As the wheels of the train pass over the rail, the train’s weight pushes down on that bar, triggering a series of gears. Those gears rotate a generator, creating electricity, which can then be stored in a battery.”

https://vtx.vt.edu/articles/2023/01/eng-me-energy-harvesting-train-rails.html

A Self-Cooling Tent That Runs On Just Water And Sunshine

Pixabay

Al Kasani, a research assistant at UConn has invented a novel way of cooling tents with only water and sunshine. The technology combines a water reservoir with a propietary fabric that wicks the water through the entire surface area of the tent, and the evaporation cools it down.

A single gallon of water can cool the tents internal temperature by up to 20F below ambient levels for 24 hours.

https://today.uconn.edu/2023/01/a-self-cooling-tent-that-runs-on-just-water-and-sunshine/

Illinois & Princeton Researchers Use Biomimicry For Tiny Bots

Youtube / NewsAtIllinois

“Mechanical science and engineering professor Sameh Tawfick led a new study introducing click beetle-sized robots small enough to fit into tight spaces, powerful enough to maneuver over obstacles and fast enough to match an insect’s rapid escape time.”

“The team envisions these robots accessing tight spaces to help perform maintenance on large machines like turbines and jet engines, for example, by taking pictures to identify problems.”

https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/448046594

Dolphin-Inspired Sonar For Underwater Acoustic Imaging

Hari Vishnu et al

The researchers trained a dolphin to investigate it’s surroundings using sound pulses (clicks), then they recorded the echoes the dolphin receives back and extracted object shape data from it.

They then subsequently built a biomimetic sonar system which they believe could lead to better, more compact, and higher resolution sonar imaging technologies than what’s currently available.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s44172-022-00010-x

Quadcopter Drone Clocks Over 220MPH For Record Speed

Ryan Lademann

At the end of last year, engineer Ryan Lademann set a new record for the fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-controlled (RC) quadcopter, clocking 224.00 mph (360.503 km/h) under supervision of a Guiness World Records officiator.

The actual drone is surprisingly small and has an interesting ‘x’ design that combines a traditional quadcopter and a mini rocket.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msvusAbrWlM
https://quad-star-drones.com/xlr-v3/

Researchers Develop Way To Visualize Humans With WiFi Signals

Carnegie Mellon University

A trio of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have used a neural network to take WiFi signals and accurate represent human forms when they are within range. They call it DensePose.

From the paper: “We developed a deep neural network that maps the phase and amplitude of WiFi signals to UV coordinates within 24 human regions. The results of the study reveal that our model can estimate the dense pose of multiple subjects, with comparable performance to image-based approaches, by utilizing WiFi signals as the only input.”

https://arxiv.org/abs/2301.00250

Feathered Robotic Wing Paves Way For Flapping Drones

Lund University

A Swedish-Swiss research team at Lund University have been exploring how using bird biomimicry could help develop efficient, flapping drones, and have constructed a robotic wing.

“We have built a robot wing that can flap more like a bird than previous robots, but also flap in way that birds cannot do. By measuring the performance of the wing in our wind tunnel, we have studied how different ways of achieving the wing upstroke affect force and energy in flight”, says researcher Christoffer Johansson.

https://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/feathered-robotic-wing-paves-way-flapping-drones
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aisy.202200148

Laser Research Lays Groundwork For Faster Data Transmission

TechXplore

Japanese scientists have designed a new type of distributed feedback (DFB) laser, and have demonstrated it’s ability to transmit data at speeds of 200 Gb/s over a record distance of 10km.

The research will be presented at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference taking place March 5–9 2023 in San Diego, California, U.S.

https://techxplore.com/news/2023-01-laser-lays-groundwork-next-generation-ethernet.html

Researchers Convert Harvested Water Into Hydrogen

EPFL

From press release: “EPFL chemical engineers have invented a solar-powered artificial leaf, built on a novel electrode which is transparent and porous, capable of harvesting water from the air for conversion into hydrogen fuel. The semiconductor-based technology is scalable and easy to prepare.”

https://actu.epfl.ch/news/a-step-towards-solar-fuels-out-of-thin-air/
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.202208740
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VGMw4dd23Q

This Paper-Thin Smart Label Is Designed To Track Packages

Pod Group

Pod Group, SODAQ and Lufthansa Industry Solutions have teamed up to create an ultra thin tracking label which looks like a regular paper sticker.

The device has a printed battery which lasts up to 6 months, and can track location (via low power 5G cellular connection) and temperature. The companies say this is designed primarily for tracking high value packages.

https://www.podgroup.com/launch-of-first-commercial-smart-label-tracking-devices-at-ces/

Caltech Launched Space Solar Power Demo into Orbit in January

Caltech

At team at Caltech recently successfully launched a space solar power technology demo which aims to study the feasibility of harvesting solar energy directly in space.

The hardware, which went up via SpaceX’s Transporter-6 mission, uses photovoltaic cells on it’s frame, and beams the energy back to earth using microwaves.

https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/caltech-to-launch-space-solar-power-technology-demo-into-orbit-in-january
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2mgpMy-_mU

Article On Opener’s BlackFly Single Person E-VTOL Vehicle

Opener

IEEE Spectrum just wrote a detailed piece on the BlackFly E-VTOL by Opener. A unique looking flying vehicle, which is currently seeking FAA certification for personal use.

Designer Marcus Leng had stated previously that he believes this may cost in the region of a luxury SUV once available to the public.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/opener-blackfly-evtol
https://opener.aero/

Researchers Develop Simple, Small Soft Robot Based On Hair Clip

Columbia University

A team of researchers from Columbia University have created an interesting robot based on a hair clips 2 functioning states.

This means the ‘clip’ works as both the skeleton and the muscle of the soft robot, so only a small amount of electricity going to a servo is required to make it move.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vxqgBPo9S8
https://arxiv.org/abs/2210.02352

MIT Researchers Create Soft Implantable Venitlator

MIT

The soft ventilator is implantable, and can augment the diaphragm’s natural contractions, providing a new proof-of-concept way to approach ventilation.

Designer Ellen Roche explains: “The biomechanics of this design are closer to normal breathing, versus ventilators that push air into the lungs, where you have a mask or tracheostomy. There’s a long road before this will be implanted in a human.”

https://news.mit.edu/2022/diaphragm-implantable-ventilator-1212