Stories tagged undefined

May
02
2013

Non-robotic jellyfish: Engineering researchers at Virginia Tech are building robots that mimic the efficient way jellyfish get around.
Non-robotic jellyfish: Engineering researchers at Virginia Tech are building robots that mimic the efficient way jellyfish get around.Courtesy Andy Field (Field Offie)
Researchers at Virginia Tech are working on several versions of robotic jellyfish that someday could be used by the military, or for mapping the ocean floor, or cleaning up oil spills.

Known affectionately as RoboJelly, the silicone blobs range from the size of a baseball to a giant five-foot floating monster. Each mimics the swimming technique used by jellyfish, those huffing and puffing water-bags that populate the world's oceans.

In nature, most jellyfish propel themselves by the seemingly simple expansion and contraction of their umbrella, using it to push water out like a rocket blast that propels it forward. But the fluid dynamics are a little more complicated than than just expelling out a big blast of water and moving the other way. It's more like when your cigar-smoking uncle would blow smoke rings into the air to impress you. Remember that? I do. These are called vortex rings, and it's the efficiency of the hydromedusean's self-created fluid flow that interest the VT researchers.

Students at VT's College of Engineering use thin layers of silicone - the same material used for swimming masks - to construct the robots. Electric batteries in watertight plexiglass boxes are used to power the mechanical blobs. The researchers are also looking into ways of extracting hydrogen from water to power them.

“Nature has done great job in designing propulsion systems but it is slow and tedious process," said Shashank Priya, associate professor at Virginia Tech, and the project's lead researcher. "On the other hand, current status of technology allows us to create high performance systems in a matter of few months.”

The on-going project involves a number of U.S. universities and industries, and will warrant several additional years of research before any prototypes are released for use. Besides possible military application, RoboJelly could be employed for such things as monitoring ocean currents and conditions, cleaning up oil spills, and studying sea-bottom flora and fauna.

SOURCES
Story at EarthSky.org
Virginia Tech website

Birth of Thomas Huxley

by Anonymous on May. 04th, 2012

Born on this day in 1825, Thomas Henry Huxley: aka Darwin's Bulldog
Thomas Henry Huxley: aka Darwin's BulldogCourtesy Public domain via Wikipedia
Thomas Huxley was known as Darwin's Bulldog due to his outspoken advocacy of the naturalist's Theory of Evolution.

"Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.“

- T. H. Huxley

MORE INFO
Thomas Huxley bio

Oct
15
2008

Thinking about donating your body?: This picture was found on flickr's "Creative Commons" page.
Thinking about donating your body?: This picture was found on flickr's "Creative Commons" page.Courtesy kevin813
Want to be useful? A once in a lifetime oppurtunity presents itself
long after you die. Many people nowadays have given their body to
science. This awkward suggestion benefits medical research and gives
u a chance to help out.

what do u think? Comment!!

Lincoln learning: One of the new penny backs will show the young Abe Lincoln studying while splitting rails in Indiana.
Lincoln learning: One of the new penny backs will show the young Abe Lincoln studying while splitting rails in Indiana.Courtesy U.S. Mint
The Buzz has buzzed in the past with talk about pennies – their usefullness and efficiency in being part of monetary system. It looks like they'll be around for at least another year as the U.S. Mint has released sketches showing the redesigns of the back of the penny that will commemorate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. And here's the link the U.S. Mint website that will give you close-ups of the new penny backs.

Jun
11
2006

How do you make a fuel cell? Print it

Calififornia-based EoPlex Technologies builds components by piling thin, patterned layers of ceramics, metals and other materials on top of each other and curing the individual layers as the structure takes shape. Although EoPlex will likely one day incorporate inkjet technology into its offerings, for now it concentrates on techniques like screen printing where fluid is pressed directly onto a surface by a drum or a plate. Conventional printing may not draw as fine lines as inkjet printing, but it costs less. Right now, the company's processes can produce features measuring less than 50 microns. In the future, EoPlex will be able to print features under 10 microns. (A micron is a millionth of meter.)

A complete set of printers for producing products with the company's technology costs about $1 million, Chait said, and can be squeezed into a space about the same size as a large conference room. The start-up right now has the ability to make about 1,000 components a year, but it hopes to be capable of building 30 million units a year by 2011. Arthur Chait, CEO of EoPlex

Source: c/net News.com