Week in Review: 7/9/17 – 7/15/17

7/14/2017

Fluorine grants white graphene new powers

A little fluorine turns an insulating ceramic known as white graphene into a wide-bandgap semiconductor with magnetic properties. Rice University scientists said that could make the unique material suitable for electronics in extreme environments. http://news.rice.edu/2017/07/14/fluorine-grants-white-graphene-new-powers-2/

7/13/2017

NASA’s 2017 Distinguished Public Service Medal Honorees

For outstanding contributions to the field of combustion science and for his pioneering work using microgravity space experiments to reveal exciting new phenomena. https://www.nasa.gov/specials/2017medalhonorees/#dsm

7/12/2017

Low-cost smart glove translates American Sign Language alphabet

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a smart glove that wirelessly translates the American Sign Language alphabet into text and controls a virtual hand to mimic sign language gestures. The device, which engineers call “The Language of Glove,” was built for less than $100 using stretchable and printable electronics that are inexpensive, commercially available and easy to assemble. The work was published on July 12 in the journal PLOS ONE. https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/low-cost-smart-glove-translates-american-sign-language-alphabet

7/11/2017

Miniaturizing the brain of a drone

Now, engineers at MIT have taken a first step in designing a computer chip that uses a fraction of the power of larger drone computers and is tailored for a drone as small as a bottlecap. They will present a new methodology and design, which they call “Navion,” at the Robotics: Science and Systems conference, held this week at MIT. http://news.mit.edu/2017/miniaturizing-brain-smart-drones-0712

7/10/2017

Spiky Ferrofluid Thrusters Can Move Satellites

Brandon Jackson, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University, has created a new computational model of an electrospray thruster using ionic liquid ferrofluid—a promising technology for propelling small satellites through space. Specifically, Jackson looks at simulating the electrospray startup dynamics; in other words, what gives the ferrofluid its characteristic spikes. http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2017/july/spiky-ferrofluid-thrusters-can-move-satellites.html

Nature-inspired material uses liquid reinforcement
Rice U. nanoengineers create liquid-solid composites using clues from nature

Materials scientists at Rice University are looking to nature — at the discs in human spines and the skin in ocean-diving fish, for example — for clues about designing materials with seemingly contradictory properties — flexibility and stiffness. http://news.rice.edu/2017/07/10/nature-inspired-material-uses-liquid-reinforcement-2/