Week in Review: 5/11/14 – 5/17/14

May 14, 2014

Poking cells, solving mysteries and other reasons scientists love basic research
Scientists and engineers frequently seek solutions to specific problems. But the goal — and challenge — of basic research is to tackle broad questions without an immediate application in mind. As part of our ongoing series on the subject, PBS NewsHour asked undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral researchers why they do basic research.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/reasons-scientists-love-basic-research/

May 13, 2014

Virginia Tech to host debut 3-D printed ground and air vehicle competition finale May 15
Fourteen student teams from across Virginia Tech will compete May 15 in the finale of a debut competition designed to encourage the creation of remote-controlled 3-D printed air and ground vehicles.

The teams – from across the university, and including students from engineering, geosciences, public relations, physics, biology, and more – are competing in the Spring 2014 Additive Manufacturing Grand Challenge, in part sponsored by the U.S. Air Force. Up for grabs: $15,000 in cash prizes, including $3,000 for first prize in each category, and $250 for each team that creates a functional vehicle. Seven teams in each category – air and ground – will compete.

Leading the competition is Christopher Williams, head of Virginia Tech’s Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems – or DREAMS, for short – Lab.
http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/05/051314-engineering-3dprintvehiclemcompetition.html

A Week in Review: 4/28/13 – 5/4/13

April 30, 2013

UMD Robot Bird Takes Maneuverability to New Height
University of Maryland professors S. K. Gupta and Hugh Bruck and their students have developed and demonstrated a new robotic bird, “Robo Raven”, whose wings flap completely independently of each other, and also can be programmed to perform any desired motion, enabling the bird to perform aerobatic maneuvers. This is the first time a robotic bird with these capabilities has been built and successfully flown.
http://umdrightnow.umd.edu/news/umd-robot-bird-takes-maneuverability-new-height

May 1, 2013

Printable Functional ‘Bionic’ Ear Melds Electronics and Biology
Scientists at Princeton University used off-the-shelf printing tools to create a functional ear that can “hear” radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capacity. The researchers’ primary purpose was to explore an efficient and versatile means to merge electronics with tissue. The scientists used 3D printing of cells and nanoparticles followed by cell culture to combine a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they term a bionic ear. This research was supported by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Grand Challenges Program at Princeton University.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130501193208.htm

May 2, 2013

Robotic insects make first controlled flight
In culmination of a decade’s work, RoboBees achieve vertical takeoff, hovering, and steering
The demonstration of the first controlled flight of an insect-sized robot is the culmination of more than a decade’s work, led by researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.
http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpressrelease/110/

May 3, 2013

X-51A Waverider achieves breakthrough in final flight
The final flight of the X-51A Waverider test program has accomplished a breakthrough in the development of flight reaching Mach 5.1 over the Pacific Ocean May 1. The crusier achieved Mach 5.1 traveling 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes, making this test the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight ever.
http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123346970