Robots with sticky feet can climb up, down, and all around

Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take over a month per engine. Many components are located deep inside the engine and cannot be inspected without taking the machine apart, adding time and costs to maintenance. This problem is not only confined to jet engines, …

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Breakthrough in ice-repelling materials

Icy weather is blamed for multibillion dollar losses every year in the United States, including delays and damage related to air travel, infrastructure and power generation and transmission facilities. Finding effective, durable and environmentally stable de-icing materials has been stymied by the stubborn tenacity with which ice adheres to the materials on which it forms. …

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Feathers: Better than Velcro?

You may have seen a kid play with a feather, or you may have played with one yourself: Running a hand along a feather’s barbs and watching as the feather unzips and zips, seeming to miraculously pull itself back together. That “magical” zipping mechanism could provide a model for new adhesives and new aerospace materials, …

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Apple CEO walks trade tightrope with Trump

Apple CEO Tim Cook has successfully navigated his company through President Donald Trump’s trade war with China — but the escalating fight still threatens to disrupt the iPhone giant’s bottom line. Apple’s popular gadgets were spared in the Trump administration’s latest round of tariffs on $200 billion worth of products from China, thanks in part …

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‘Stealth’ material hides hot objects from infrared eyes

Infrared cameras are the heat-sensing eyes that help drones find their targets even in the dead of night or through heavy fog. Hiding from such detectors could become much easier, thanks to a new cloaking material that renders objects — and people — practically invisible. “What we have shown is an ultrathin stealth ‘sheet.’ Right …

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Forget joysticks, use your torso to pilot drones

Imagine piloting a drone using the movements of your torso only and leaving your head free to look around, much like a bird. EPFL research has just shown that using your torso to pilot flying machines is indeed more immersive — and more effective — than using the long-established joystick. The results are published in …

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A new way to remove ice buildup without power or chemicals

From airplane wings to overhead powerlines to the giant blades of wind turbines, a buildup of ice can cause problems ranging from impaired performance all the way to catastrophic failure. But preventing that buildup usually requires energy-intensive heating systems or chemical sprays that are environmentally harmful. Now, MIT researchers have developed a completely passive, solar-powered …

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Novel flying robot mimics rapid insect flight

A novel insect-inspired flying robot, developed by TU Delft researchers from the Micro Air Vehicle Laboratory (MAVLab), is presented in Science (14 September 2018). Experiments with this first autonomous, free-flying and agile flapping-wing robot — carried out in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research — improved our understanding of how fruit flies control aggressive escape manoeuvres. Apart …

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