Best achievements of engineers and technicians in 2014 - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 14:12

 Engineering is not in place. Scientists every day has worked diligently to make the lives of ordinary citizens and professionals in the production easier, accelerate work processes and provide high-quality and ultra-fast communication between the different hemispheres.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs - a tasty field of activity for engineers. Small drones and entire spacecraft remote control with every day are becoming more like a figment of the imagination science fiction writer.

Thus, in September 2014, we reported on the long-awaited initiative on distribution of wireless Internet flying drones. The idea belongs to the Portuguese company Quarkson, which, in contrast to the project Google Project Loon, plan not just to place balloons routers over the earth, but in heaven to run a fleet of drones.

The Portuguese plan to launch drones, handing the Internet

Quarkson aircraft will fly at an altitude of 3500 meters above sea level and will cover a distance of 42,000 kilometers. Each drone will operate without recharging for up to two weeks and perform a variety of tasks: giving away Wi-Fi, monitor the environment, producing aerial photography and even serve in a reconnaissance role during the war.

Recall that a similar initiative in 2013, the company announced Amazon: networking giant plans to organize delivery of small goods bought online store, no couriers and mail, namely drones.

Efficient operation of the fleet of drones can not be achieved if the management of all members of the "flock" is not established with the help of special algorithms. Fortunately, in March 2014 the engineers of the Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest demonstrated coherent maneuvering quadrocopter that flew a flock without a central control.

Communication flying robots is provided by the reception and transmission of radio signals, and orientation in space is carried out thanks to the GPS-navigation. Each robot has a flock of "leader", followed by the rest of the drones.

The first biodegradable drone save time and money

In contrast to an initiative by Quarkson, such flocks Hungarian engineers plan to adapt exclusively for peaceful purposes - the same delivery of purchases or in the distant future passenger flights.

A team from the Ames Research Center and Stanford University in 2014 thought about another important but non-obvious problem - recycling destroyed in collisions drones. Engineers have designed the world's first biodegradable UAVs and even tested it in November.

The prototype is made of special material - mycelium - which is already widely used for the production of biodegradable packaging. However, some of the details, scientists still plan to continue to be made from conventional materials to provide high performance drone. However, a couple of blades and remove the battery from the crash site - not the same thing as to disassemble the whole body of a flying robot.

aerospace engineering

In some spheres of human activity to replace the living brain with its huge range of intuition and feelings drone is not yet possible. But modernize manned aircraft can always be.

In November 2014 the US space agency NASA has tested the first airplane with wings-transformer. Testing the new system has undergone FlexFoil, which is designed to replace standard aluminum flaps, reduce fuel consumption and improve the aerodynamics of the aircraft body.

The new system of wing-flaps tranformerov replace conventional aircraft

It is not yet clear whether the new technology will replace the already used in the aviation industry, but the first tests gave excellent results. Perhaps, FlexFoil find its use even in space.

Speaking of the majestic expanse of our Universe, it is impossible not to recall one more loud achieving engineers - lightweight and flexible spacesuit future. New development engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - a plastic suit, equipped with thoUSAnds of coils that allow the fabric to shrink directly on the body and the astronaut enclose it in a safe cocoon.

Spacesuit of the future will be flexible and convenient

The coils are reduced in response to body heat and also have a shape memory. That is putting on the suit next to each astronaut will be easier than the first time. So far, engineers have constructed only a small piece of tissue prototype, but in the future, they believe it is in these costumes will walk on the Moon and Mars colonists alien worlds.

robots and exoskeletons

Each year, robotics release a dozen machines that mimic the anatomy and habits of different animals. They become more "intelligent" and nimble, and the software gives them superhuman capabilities. Engineers and give the opportunity to everyone to feel a bit of a cyborg, an example of the exoskeleton - a special suit that increases muscle strength, or even returns the joy of movement paralyzed patients.

However, while the man, even with phenomenally intricate brain is not able to cope with absolutely any task, namely that engineers want to get the robots. Like man, the car of the future will be to draw the missing knowledge and instructions from the Internet, but not through the search engines, but with the help of a computer system RoboBrain, developed at Cornell University.

Scientists have come up with the system integration of knowledge accumulated by mankind, in brain-computer robot to allow machines to deftly handle any household tasks. Thus, the robot will be able to determine, for example, what is the amount of clubs, what temperature and how coffee from objects located in the kitchen to prepare a delicious cappuccino.

robots origami themselves will gather in furniture

Researchers primarily seek to make robots independence, that is, to construct such a machine and write such software, the robot can operate without assistance from man. Another impressive example of progress in this area is the robot origami, which self-assemble when heated and moves on different surfaces.

This development belongs to the team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. As explained by engineers, they were able to create a device with built-in ability to the calculation. Moreover, robotic origami are created from materials cost and versatile in use: Small boats can be the basis of self-assembled furniture of the future or temporary shelters for the victims of natural disasters people.

Exoskeleton almost paralyzed allowed to play football

One of the most outstanding achievements of robotics in 2014 - is a historical first kick of the ball at the World Cup in Brazil. And he made the blow Giuliano Pinto (Juliano Pinto), patients with paraplegic. The impossible Pinto allowed new exoskeleton designed team Miguel Nicolelis (Miguel Nicolelis), who has spent many years on the development.

The exoskeleton is not just gives Pinto muscle strength, but is fully controlled by brain signals in real time. Chtoy create a unique robokostyum Nicolelis and his colleagues had to spend a lot of experiments ended with loud discoveries. So, the scientists were able to combine the two brain of rats at different continents, taught rodents respond to invisible infrared light and provides an interface to simultaneously control two virtual limbs, which experienced the monkeys.

All this led to the fact that the paralyzed patient could once again feel his legs.

Medical equipment

Engineers can help not only paralyzed but also virtually any patient. Without the latest achievements in the field of robotics, there would be no modern medicine. And this year was presented a few impressive prototypes.

Particular attention should be paid to the camera, created by scientists from DUKe University. This device for shooting in real-time allows you to take pictures in very high resolution and thus diagnose cancer even at the earliest stages.

New gigapixel camera allows you to explore large areas of the skin in great detail for the presence of melanoma - skin cancer. This survey will allow time to notice any changes in color and structure of the skin, quickly diagnose the disease and cure it. Recall that this type of cancer, though the most deadly, but perfectly treatable in the early stages.

Gigapixel camera will make it possible to diagnose melanoma at an early stage

For the diagnosis should always be treated, and it is best if this treatment - targeted, ie sighting. Deliver drugs directly to the affected cells to allow another invention created in 2014. Tiny Nanomotors will provide movement army of nanobots that can send aggressive medication directly to cancerous tumors without affecting healthy cells. Thus, the treatment of cancer will not be noticeable, painless and without side effects.

High-tech materials

materials that surround us, such as glass, plastic, paper or wood, are unlikely to surprise us with their properties. But scientists have learned how to create materials with unique properties, using the most common raw materials budget. They allow real design futuristic design.

For example, in February 2014, engineers from the University of Texas in Dallas presented the most powerful in the world of artificial muscles created from ordinary fishing line and sewing thread. Such fibers are able to raise up to 100 times more weight than natural human muscle, and generate a hundred times more mechanical energy. But weave artificial muscle is quite simple - just jewelry just to wind the fishing line of high-strength polymer layers of sewing thread.

To create the world's most powerful muscles need regular line and thread

The new development can be widely used at home in the future. Of polymer muscles can create adapt to weather clothing, self-closing greenhouses and, of course, superstrong humanoid robots.

By the way, humanoid robots are likely to have not only heavy-duty muscle, but also flexible armor. Engineers from McGill University in 2014, inspired by armadillos and crocodiles and designed the armor of hexagonal glass plates on a polymeric substrate. Compared with a rigid shield flexible armor turned out to be 70% stronger.

Flexible armor, like a crocodile, 70% stronger than rigid

However, in the future will likely be hard to do not plate of glass and of a more high-tech materials, such as heavy-duty ceramics.

In July 2014 a team from MIT has created a material that will allow robots to change their physical state from solid to liquid, just like in the movies. To do this, engineers used a conventional wax and foam construction - two budget and it is obvious substances that are a perfect example of changing the state of the substance.

Foam and wax - components robot changes its state of aggregation

When exposed to high temperatures melted the wax, and the robot becomes liquid. So he squeezes into any slot. Once the heat is lost wax hardens, the foam fills the pores, and the robot becomes solid again. Scientists believe that their invention find a use in medicine, and in the rescue operations.

Home appliances

Create domestic robots and easy to use device - one of the greatest challenges of engineering. The townsfolk will not be trained to use a special technique, and therefore the development should be simple, useful, and most importantly - inexpensive cost.

Back in the early 2014 British inventor and owner of Dyson James Dyson (James Dyson) announced that its engineers will be engaged in creating a domestic robot that will help the housewife at home. Entrepreneur has allocated £ 5 million to the task, which will take the first of all the engineers at Imperial College London.

Budget household robots will change the lives of housewives

Work is already in full swing, and when it will end, many smozhgut buy a robotic assistant that will not only wash, iron and clean, but also to sit with the elderly and sick people, to engage in small children and animals. Mandatory condition of the project - as far as possible low cost machines.

Working in the kitchen, the robot Dyson, will probably often use the recent invention of the Chinese company Baidu - "smart" sticks, which will check the quality of food. devices equipped with a display and a plurality of sensors that will determine whether fresh dish or there is a risk of poisoning.

Smart Sticks prompt, whether fresh dish

However, it is not clear whether the will "smart" sticks commercial project. During the tests, some users have complained that the criteria in embedded system so severely that finding suitable food is almost impossible.

From the kitchen will go into the office. Normal printing for print also experienced a revolution in 2014. Just two impressive development scientists will save on paper and ink cartridges, save hundreds of trees from being cut down and make printing easier and more environmentally friendly.

A group of researchers from Jilin University in China, announced in January 2014 that the print on paper can not with ink and water. To make this possible the team of chemists has developed a special coating for plain paper, which activates the dye molecules when exposed to water. After one day, the liquid evaporates and the paper can be re-inserted into the printer, and the day just enough to get acquainted with most of the documents.

Instead of ink in the printer, you can use plain water if special paper

Later, in December 2014, scientists from the University of California at Riverside suggested replacing special paper plates and ink - redox dyes. Their technique involves printing by exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which leaves on the plate only colored letters and the rest area "paper" remains transparent.

As for the re-use of recycled household items, it is impossible not to recall the project researchers from the Institute of IBM Research. Experts estimate that recycled notebooks almost always contain a working battery, the ability to feed a sufficient amount of light bulbs to illuminate the whole house.

The experiment showed that after uncomplicated processing thrown in the trash computers can get a new life and light house people in developing countries.

in total

Over 2014 engineers and technicians who may have committed the biggest leap forward in comparison with other areas of science. Do not forget that without progress in this area will not do any one fundamental area of research.

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