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Category: Mechanical Engineering

Helping soft robots turn rigid on demand

A simulated soft robot controlled to reach the same target (red dot) while acting either soft (left) or stiff (right). Credit: James Bern and Daniela Rus Imagine a robot. Perhaps you’ve just conjured a machine with a rigid, metallic exterior. While robots armored with hard exoskeletons are common, they’re not always ideal. Soft-bodied robots, inspired by fish or other squishy creatures, might better adapt to changing environments and work more safely with people. Roboticists generally have to decide whether to…

Aircraft ‘central nervous system’ could reduce structural fatigue accidents

Credit: CC0 Public Domain The human central nervous systems provide us with the first hint that we’re not well. Now, UNSW Canberra researchers are one step closer to developing aircraft that can ‘feel’ with similar sensory perception. This technology would allow early detection of structural fatigue issues, alerting engineers that an aircraft is in need of a health check. Aerospace and Aviation researcher Dr. Graham Wild said the development of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) systems could significantly reduce the number…

How to execute an object file: Part 1

Calling a simple function without linking When we write software using a high-level compiled programming language, there are usually a number of steps involved in transforming our source code into the final executable binary: First, our source files are compiled by a compiler translating the high-level programming language into machine code. The output of the compiler is a number of object files. If the project contains multiple source files, we usually get as many object files. The next step is…

Scientists develop convenient technique to measure ripeness using laser-induced plasma shockwaves and the ensuing vibrations on the fruit’s surface — ScienceDaily

Most people are probably familiar with the unpleasant feeling of eating overripe or underripe fruit. Those who work in agriculture are tasked with ensuring a timely harvest so that ripeness is at an optimal point when the fruit is sold, both to minimize the amount of fruit that goes to waste and maximize the quality of the final product. To this end, a number of techniques to assess fruit ripeness have been developed, each with their respective advantages and disadvantages…

New Lego-like beams could revolutionize construction

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have come up with and patented a new system for manufacturing beams that aims to revolutionize the architecture, construction and civil engineering sectors. They are manufactured with 3-D-printed plastic pieces that can be assembled as if they were pieces of Lego adding a high-performance layer of concrete in the most compressed area. Its advantages, according to its creators, are several: they weigh up to 80% less than concrete…

Cutting-edge microscope helps reveal ways to control the electronic properties of atomically thin materials. — ScienceDaily

In recent years, engineers have found ways to modify the properties of some “two- dimensional” materials, which are just one or a few atoms thick, by stacking two layers together and rotating one slightly in relation to the other. This creates what are known as moiré patterns, where tiny shifts in the alignment of atoms between the two sheets create larger-scale patterns. It also changes the way electrons move through the material, in potentially useful ways. But for practical applications,…

A fluid-magnetic solution for sorting plastic waste

Credit: Eindhoven University of Technology With the ever-increasing worldwide mass production of plastic, the inefficiency of current plastic recycling strategies has raised several environmental, societal, and economic concerns. Magnetic density separation (MDS) is an efficient state-of-the-art recycling technique that uses magnetized fluids to separate different types of plastic particles. Researcher Sina Tajfirooz has developed and validated a model to predict the collective motion of particles in MDS systems. Simulation results shed new light on the separation process in MDS systems…

FAA back under spotlight with latest Boeing incidents

FAA head Steve Dickson, pictured in September 2020, says the agency is moving as quickly as possible to address problems with the Boeing 777 In the wake of a weekend scare on a Boeing 777 over engine failure, the Federal Aviation Administration moved immediately to suspend flights on planes with the same model. And on Tuesday, the regulator ordered a deeper inspection of the Pratt & Whitney engines on Boeing 777 planes that had failed over Denver days earlier, with…

Evolving Schemaless into a Distributed SQL Database

In 2016 we published blog posts (I, II) about Schemaless – Uber Engineering’s Scalable Datastore. We went over the design of Schemaless as well as explained the reasoning behind developing it. In this post today we are going to talk about the evolution of Schemaless into a general-purpose transactional database called Docstore.  Docstore is a general-purpose multi-model database that provides a strict serializability consistency model on a partition level and can scale horizontally to serve high volume workloads. Features such…

Building a Vulnerability Management Program for the Cloud – Wayfair Tech Blog

In 2018, Wayfair decided to move to a hybrid cloud infrastructure to host our storefront. We landed on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as our infrastructure as a service provider, enabling our developer and infrastructure teams to move fast by providing a robust set of APIs and a highly flexible and scalable environment. As a security team, one key thing that we had to consider was that our perimeter had significantly changed. We had moved to a software defined perimeter from…