Rapid prototyping, small-batch output and product design on a tight budget all come together in Shenzhen, China, making it a prime destination for engineers. MIT, in fact, is teaming with Shenzhen's Southern University of Science and Technology to give mechanical engineering students firsthand experience with rapid scale-up of product design.
Rocket Lab is planning mass production for its boosters with a new 80,700-square-foot facility in Auckland, New Zealand, that it hopes will produce one Electron rocket booster per week. The plant will carry out vertically integrated manufacturing and expects to use 3D printing for the primary components of the rocket's electric turbopump engine.
Electroporation, a technique normally used to open cell walls to deliver medicine, is the key to a newly developed nanochip Ohio State University researchers have used to regenerate nerve and muscle cells. The chip injects customizable DNA molecules that contain biological instructions that send electric shocks to force the DNA through the membrane.
Rolls-Royce is looking to build on its Intelligent Awareness system for ships that gathers data from sensors around the vessel and to move toward autonomous ships monitored from land. "Tugs, ferries, and short-sea transport, these are all classes of vessels that we believe would be suitable for completely autonomous operations," said Kevin Daffey, Rolls-Royce's director of marine engineering and technology.
Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division will use powdered metal and lasers to produce the first 3D-printed part, a prototype piping assembly, for a US nuclear aircraft carrier. Charles Southall, the division's vice president of engineering and design, called the news a "watershed moment" and "a significant step forward in naval and marine engineering."
New Zealand-based Sealegs has introduced a rigid-hulled, inflatable boat known as the Electric E4 with three retractable wheels that allow it to move in and out of water independently. The boat's motors are powered by a central 48-volt, 7-kilowatt-hour lithium battery pack supplemented by a regenerative braking system and, optionally, by a solar panel.
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University are looking into and finding advantages of natural solutions over constructed walls and barriers guarding against coastal erosion. Amirkhosro Kazemi and his adviser, Oscar Curet, have examined mangroves and their characteristics, which appear ideally suited to minimize erosion.
Solar energy is a vital tool in the renewable energy toolbox, but it can be hard to adopt in cloudy areas. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a possible solution in the form of a biogenic solar cell that uses lycopene, which is highly sensitive to even dim sunlight and degrades rapidly, releasing enough electrons to produce a current.
A golfing resort under development at Virginia's Fones Cliffs is the object of an environmental lawsuit filed against the developer by the state's attorney general for not complying with local erosion and sediment controls. Virginia True Corp. failed to obtain required permits and stormwater management approval last year before clearing 13.4 acres atop the cliffs.
California's Del Mar coastline has been the scene of three sudden cliff collapses over the past few weeks. Experts say the events are unusual in such a closely spaced series but that they aren't surprising, given the perilous nature of the cliffs and rising sea levels.
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