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Engineering News

Integrated technologies to recover metal and plastic from electronic waste

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a new electronic waste recycling concept that combines a range of technologies and reduces waste. One of the technologies included in the concept is gasification, which is used to recover not only metals and rare-earth elements from the waste but also organic components that can be used to produce energy or products, such as plastic and chemicals. VTT has brought together a group of Finnish partners to promote material-efficient production. Vast amounts…

Stem cell laboratory in a bag

The mini laboratory is 150 mm long, 120 mm wide and 20 mm high. The screw cap is made using 3D printing. Hydrophilic spots are visible on the upper interior surface of the bag. Credit: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Human stem cells are considered a major new hope in the field of medicine. In the future, it is expected that they will make it possible to treat a wide range of ailments such as neurodegenerative diseases. With LabBag, Fraunhofer researchers have developed an…

Simple, rapid determination of cable properties

The tests run automatically – all the user needs to do is clamp in the cable and press the start button. Credit: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Trying to fit all the necessary cables into a car is anything but an easy task. Simulations can be helpful, but the properties of each cable need to be precisely defined up front. The automated MeSOMICS measurement system enables carmakers, for the first time, to define these parameters simply and rapidly, without having to call on outside…

A powerful duo

Bracket with EWOD chip and connections for probe injection and the circuits. Credit: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft An important aspect of pharmacology is understanding how active drug ingredients cross-react with endogenous molecules. But until now, such reactions could only be determined after the event. The precise details of the interacting factors remained unclear. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a new technology that enables biochemical reactions to be monitored from start to finish at the single-molecule level. All that is needed to perform such tests…

The future for defense drones may be under the oceans

The next frontier for unmanned military drones may not be solely in the skies. It could be undersea. The U.S. Navy and defense contractors such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and others are increasingly focusing on ocean drones as the next big market for unmanned technology. Lockheed Martin Ventures in September month invested an undisclosed amount in San Diego-based Ocean Aero, a 25-employee startup that is developing the Submaran—a solar and wind powered ocean drone capable of operating above and…

The First Evidence of Exoplanets — ScienceDaily

Beneath an elegant office building with a Spanish-style red tiled roof in Pasadena, California, three timeworn storerooms safeguard more than a century of astronomy. Down the stairs and to the right is a basement of wonder. There are countless wooden drawers and boxes, stacked floor to ceiling, with telescope plates, sunspot drawings and other records. A faint ammonia-like smell, reminiscent of old film, fills the air. Guarding one storeroom is a short black door with a sign saying “This door…

Laser-based method creates force-sensitive, flexible microstructures that conduct electricity — ScienceDaily

For the first time, researchers have used a single-step, laser-based method to produce small, precise hybrid microstructures of silver and flexible silicone. This innovative laser processing technology could one day enable smart factories that use one production line to mass-produce customized devices combining soft materials such as engineered tissue with hard materials that add functions such as glucose sensing. The metal component of the microstructures renders them electrically conductive while the elastic silicone contributes flexibility. This unique combination of properties…

A new breathing monitor signals the coming generation of pervasive healthcare

Credit: 9nong, Shutterstock Pervasive healthcare is an approach which addresses the challenge of straining health services with evidence-based, preventative strategies. The increased accessibility of personal monitoring devices is helping breathe life into efforts. Researchers recently announced the development of technology which can monitor breathing rates using mobile phones. The team, publishing their results in the journal Biomedical Optics Express, report how they created new software to be used in conjunction with an inexpensive thermal camera. Breathing rates were tested in…

Making your water safer with UV light

In Natalie Hull’s hometown in rural Kentucky, well water was contaminated by heavy metals from mining, and sewage from pipes emptied into a creek that ran near her house. So it’s not entirely surprising that when it came time to choose a PhD topic, she decided to focus on water purification and disinfection. Now in the final year of her environmental engineering studies, Hull’s research looks into the different wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation that will best kill dangerous pathogens in…

Fabricating shape-shifting objects with hobbyist 3-D printers

Credit: Amir Zadpoor / TU Delft Researchers at TU Delft have combined origami techniques and 3-D printing to create flat structures that can fold themselves into 3-D structures like tulips. The structures self-fold according to a pre-planned sequence, with some parts folding sooner than others. Usually, expensive printers and special materials are needed to fabricate such objects. But the TU Delft scientists have created a new technique that requires only a common 3-D printer and ubiquitous material. Among other applications,…