Today on Engineering Newswire, we’re controlling robotic arms with our eyes, sketching massive prototypes with the Protopiper, and designing aircraft that withstand hypersonic flight.
Tape Tubes for Prototyping
A group of researchers at the Hasso-Plattner-Institut’s Human Computer Interaction Lab have created a hand-held fabrication device that allows users to sketch room-sized objects at their actual scale.
Aptly named the Protopiper, the device forms adhesive tape into tubes, which serve as the device’s main building material. The tape tubes are much lighter than extruded plastic or photopolymer lines would be, which makes the tubes suitable for large structures.
The device itself works as an assembly line: the tape is drawn from the roll, shaped into a tube, and sealed together, before being cut with a wing connector.
Robot Becomes Third Arm
Scientists from Imperial College London have developed computer software that allows a person to control a robotic arm to paint using only their eye movements. The researchers believe their technology shows how robots can give people a second pair of hands.
Instead of following a set of computer commands, the robotic arm is guided by a tracker that follows the direction of the eyes, with an algorithm translating the path of the user’s gaze into commands that control the robotic arm.
Although the finished paintings are quite rudimentary, the demonstration shows how the technology could allow people to extend the human body with additional limbs.
How to Make Aircraft Withstand Hypersonic Flight
Looking to revive efforts to build high-speed aircraft that are capable of flying smoothly and efficiently through shock waves, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research has issued a $900,000 grant to study how air behaves when traveling faster than the speed of sound.
The lump sum was handed to a team led by assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering Jesse Little of the University of Arizona’s College of Engineering to fund the “Investigation of 3D Shock-Boundary Layer Interaction: A Combined Approach Using Experiments, Numerical Simulations and Stability Analysis.”
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense