Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Romania Makes the Ultimate 4-Wheeled Superhero Vehicle

The world needs a four-wheeled hero. Superman with a diesel heart, the ability to ford rivers in a single bound, and more ground clearance than an elephant on stilts. It’s here and it’s simply called the Rescue, and we desperately — desperately — need one in our fleet.

A cross between the original Hummer and Batman’s Tumbler, the Rescue hails from Romania, where Ghe-O Motors has set out to create the ultimate machine to serve humanity in the toughest conditions and most inaccessible places.

Depending on the build, the Rescue can be customized for fire-fighting, medical support, or simply transporting 11 people across whatever hellish terrain you throw at it. To combat fires, the 3.2-ton Rescue can hold hold nearly 200 gallons of water, along with all the assorted pumps and hoses. If it needs to cross a small lake on the way, it can be fitted with pneumatic pillows at each wheel to power-float its way into the action, while tank-style tracks can be mounted in place of the rear tires for blasting through snow.

Naturally, it’s all-wheel-drive and comes with a choice of abnormally large engines, including gasoline mills putting out 500 horsepower or an oil burner churning out 300 hp. Beyond being about three feet longer and two feet wider than an Hummer, details are scant, but Ghe-O just showed off the production version at the Bucharest Auto Show and is taking orders from commercial, rescue, and military outfits now. Put us down for two.

Your next car's suspension could generate electricity

Levant Power's energy-producing GenShock suspension has been stuck in limbo for a while, but the company has just announced a deal that could finally put the technology in passenger cars. Automotive component firm ZF has agreed to help develop a GenShock-based active suspension that will both convert road bumps to electricity and smooth out its host vehicle's ride. The system will theoretically offer the comfort of a luxury sedan, the power efficiency of a hybrid and the nimble handling of a sports car. It might even simplify repairs -- since GenShock recovers energy through pumps, it can raise each wheel without needing a jack. ZF doesn't yet know when we'll be driving cars with the new suspension, but the technology is reportedly inexpensive enough that buyers won't require a supercar-level budget.

Read full story at Engadget

How 3-D Printing Body Parts Will Revolutionize Medicine

A device the size of an espresso machine quietly whirs to life. The contraption isn't filled with fresh, pungent grounds but, instead, spoonfuls of opaque, sterile goo. Its robotic arm moves briskly: It hovers, lowers, and then repositions a pair of syringes over six petri dishes. In short, rapid-fire bursts, they extrude the milky paste. Soon, three little hexagons form in each dish. After a few minutes, the hexagons grow to honeycomb structures the size of fingernails. No one here is getting a latte anytime soon.

The honeycombs are human livers, says Sharon Presnell, chief technology officer of Organovo—or at least the foundations of them. The tiny masterpieces of biomedical engineering are nearly identical to tissue samples from real human livers, and they are constructed from actual human cells. But instead of growing them, scientists in the gleaming, 15,000-square-foot headquarters of Organovo print them, just as they would a document. Or, more accurately, just as they'd print a scale model.

In two decades, 3-D printing has grown from a niche manufacturing process to a $2.7-billion industry, responsible for the fabrication of all sorts of things: toys, wristwatches, airplane parts, food. Now scientists are working to apply similar 3-D–printing technology to the field of medicine, accelerating an equally dramatic change. But it's much different, and much easier, to print with plastic, metal, or chocolate than to print with living cells.

"It's been a tough slog in some ways, but we're at a tipping point," says Dean Kamen, founder of DEKA Research & Development, who holds more than 440 patents, many of them for medical devices. In labs around the world, bioengineers have begun to print prototype body parts: heart valves, ears, artificial bone, joints, menisci, vascular tubes, and skin grafts. "If you have a compass and a straight edge, everything you draw is a box or a circle," Kamen says. "When you get better tools, you start thinking in different ways. We now have the ability to play at a level we couldn't play at before."

From 2008 to 2011, the number of scientific papers referencing bioprinting nearly tripled. Investment in the field has spiked as well. Since 2007, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health has awarded $600,000 in grants to bioprinting projects. Last year, Organovo, raised $24.7 million in equity.

Visit Popsci to Read entire article.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

3 Ways The Automotive Industry Will Change By 2020

Self-driving vehicles? All electric fleets? See what's next for car makers.

Electric vehicles, autonomous cars, vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity--anyone who pays even a little bit of attention to the automotive industry has an inkling of what the future of driving will look like. In a new report, McKinsey & Company outlines how the global auto industry will shift by 2020. Hint: It's a whole lot different than what you might expect.

Below are McKinsey's three big takeaways: Your fully autonomous car is not coming anytime soon

Autonomous vehicle technology will be adopted in stages, according to Hans-Werner Kaas, the senior partner at McKinsey who co-authored the report. Semi-autonomous safety technology, such as features that would prevent you from accidentally steering off the road, will be adopted first. But automakers have a number of decisions to make, including which of these safety technologies are most likely to be adopted by consumers and how to handle liability issues.

"It's not just a binary jump from today's vehicles to autonomous vehicles," says Kaas. Volvo's prototype highway trains, which let drivers take their hands off the wheel in designated "road trains," exemplify the kind of stepping stones we might see before fully autonomous vehicles take over.

They may not be autonomous, but a large number of vehicles will be connected in some way by 2020--whether to wireless networks, diagnostic tools, or each other. One in five will be connected to the Internet, with the number of connected cars expected to jump 30% each year for many years to come.

The internal combustion engine is hard to beat

Environmental regulations for vehicles are tightening around the world, with carbon dioxide emissions rules in Europe and China, as well as fuel economy standards in the U.S. This will lead to a rise in hybrid vehicles--McKinsey predicts that they will make up 20% to 25% of all vehicles by 2020. But the internal combustion engine will still be king, present in more than 90% of vehicles (including those hybrids). Fully-electric vehicles probably won't make up more than 5% of all vehicles manufactured, according to McKinsey.

Kaas says there are two reasons for this: the high cost of electric vehicle batteries and consumer "range anxiety," or the fear that an EV will run out of juice while on the road. "It's something that does need to be addressed in a more educational manner," he says.

Emerging markets are a big deal

Today, established markets (like the U.S. and Europe) make up 50% of all vehicle sales. That number will drop to 40% by 2020. One big reason: small vehicles--like microcars and subcompact vehicles--continue to grow in popularity. More than 60% of these vehicles are sold in emerging markets, and more specifically in urban areas. "The amount of shift of the profit pool towards emerging markets is quite substantial," says Kaas.

That's not to say the number of vehicles per consumer is declining in the U.S, despite recent reports to the contrary. Says Kaas: "For younger, affluent consumers, vehicle ownership remains a very relevant investment priority. I do not see a fundamental shift in terms of vehicle ownership being on the downward slope."


Meet the 'attention-powered car' that won't drive unless you're concentrating

The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC WA) and Emotiv have joined forces to come up with a slightly unusual solution for the dangers of driver inattention.

The so-called "attention-powered car" features a neuroheadset made by Emotiv, creator of a range of electroencephalography-based monitoring gear. When worn, the headset, known as the EPOC, gauges how focused the driver is on the act of driving. By interfacing with the custom software installed in the car, any lapses in concentration result in the car slowing down safely, as a way of alerting the driver to their inattention. In fact, the car — a Hyundai i40 — will only run at full capacity when it senses that the driver is giving their full attention to the task at hand.

According to RAC executive general manager Pat Walker: The impact of inattention is now comparable to the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by speed and drink driving, which are all contributors to Western Australia consistently having the worst fatality rate of any Australian state. Nationally, it is estimated inattention was a factor in 46 per cent of fatal crashes.

RAC WA has produced a number of videos about the attention-powered car, including the one embedded below.


3D printing is becoming 4D, with shape-shifting objects

Now that 3D printing is mainstream enough to support high-street shops, facilities at Staples and plenty of cheap printers, researchers have turned their eye to the next stage: 4D printing. The fourth dimension is time: Scientists at Harvard, Pittsburgh and Illinois are developing materials that will “exhibit behavior that changes over time.”

At the most basic level, the object simply change shape over time, as outlined by MIT’s Skylar Tibbits. Along with Stratasys, a leading maker of 3D printers, he is experimenting with materials that can assemble themselves once they’re printed out. All it takes is some energy-providing external stimulus such as water, heat or movement.

In the future, that could mean water pipes that don’t break in the winter, self-repairing machines or even furniture that assembles itself. Objects could react to their environment: They could range from textiles that repel rain to contact lenses that clean themselves, or army uniforms that harden on impact with shrapnel. And if this sounds merely like a crazy fantasy dreamed up by some scientists, the United States Army Research Office has just given the team a $855,000 grant to develop their ideas.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Convert 2D to 3D

When you start to convert 2D to 3D the first step is to obtain a set of 2D Blueprints, and then convert it with 3D CAD software into a 3D model. This normally starts with a conceptual design by some company who wants some type of item created. It could be a custom hood for someone's car or a part for the motor itself. CAD drafting services can provide the purchaser with the necessary 3D models they need to be taken to a CNC machinist or maybe someone who specializes in injection molding. These molds can be used for such things as carbon fiber, or fiberglass and can create a part from the mold designed by the 3D model.

CAD or Computer Aided Drafting is the new standard when it comes to drafting and all the fields within it. With this CAD software you can input dimensions from 2D blueprints with special commands and tools to create 3D models. The days of the drafting table, and draftsmen standing over these drafting boards is over. The need for ruler's, the compass, and triangles is done, and all of these tools and more are incorporated into this CAD drafting software which makes the job much more precise and easy. Once the drafter has completed a 3d model with CAD he can send the files to special CNC machines that will create whatever was modeled.

When you convert 2D to 3D make sure you use a good and well recognized CAD drafting service. In most cases you can simply look online for either a local, or online CAD drafting company. Don't forget 2D blueprints have to be completely accurate for the 3D CAD models to come out exactly how you want them. Most CAD companies will work with you if your 2D to 3D conversion has problems that weren't foreseen at the beginning of the CAD Conversion.

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