Erik Herbert of Michigan Technological University in Houghton is narrowing his research on improving lithium-ion batteries to the anode and the critical factor of the number of lithium ions it can safely hold. "Mechanical behavior is going to be somewhere near the bottom of the list when you think about factors that are really mission-critical in determining device performance," Herbert says, although his work suggests these properties are crucial to battery reliability.
People with impaired ability to heal and those suffering from muscular dystrophy may get some help from future injections that actively help muscles heal themselves. Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a hydrogel infused with muscle satellite cells that, when injected at an injury site, begin the process of repair.
Researchers at Duke University have developed a kind of liquid biopsy for early detection of cancer that requires only a blood sample. The method uses sound waves that can identify a few circulating tumor cells amid millions of blood cells.
Employee morale benefits from tangible measures, but intangibles may figure more prominently, giving a team a sense of its importance in a vibrant company culture. TaskUs co-founder Jaspar Weir writes that this requires a servant approach to leadership that focuses on listening to employees and prioritizes their well-being while keeping lines of communication open.
Robots are increasingly being used to inspect infrastructure, especially in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries, which are not an obvious test bed for new technology. Because their assets range into the billions of dollars, their managers are very cautious about entrusting their facilities to any new technology. Yet even something as simple as inspecting storage tanks for corrosion and leaks shows why robots are increasingly popular. Read Mechanical Engineering magazine’s special report.
Two MIT students have found a way to get a spaghetti noodle to split in half instead of into several pieces -- an iteration of a problem that perplexed famed American physicist Richard Feynman -- by using a device that bends and twists it to apply pressure evenly to both ends. The students believe insight from their experiment can be used to study fractures for a wide range of materials.
Robots typically cannot be productive without power sources, but engineers at Caltech have developed a self-sufficient, 3D-printed robot that doesn't need batteries or fuel to power itself. Instead, the robot comes with a paddling mechanism that is activated by rising temperatures.
A team of Peruvian students has made an award-winning device that collects potable water in Peru's Amazon rainforest region. The system involves a set of vertical tubes that can double as walls in homes while collecting water from the roof, treating it and then delivering it to water networks.
Tangier Island in Chesapeake Bay faces an existential threat due to changing weather patterns that lead to rising water levels and increased erosion. The Army Corps of Engineers is planning to address erosion on the island with a $3 million jetty, and the Corps is seeking approval for a study examining the best ways to protect the island.
The Navy is testing a system that can be lowered from a helicopter to destroy enemy sea mines. The technology, which is expected to be deployed within a few years, involves a warhead equipped with sonar and video that is connected via a fiber-optic link to a console on the helicopter.
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