Week in Review: 7/9/17 – 7/15/17


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/


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


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


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


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/