Happy Friday, folks! This week’s interesting engineering technology news articles looks at the technology behind tennis, robo-dogs at veterinary school and how simulation helped James Cameron reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
- Hitting the Bottom: Software simulation and Deepsea Challenger
- Engineering Professor Invents Technology to Combat Fire Hazards
- Tesla’s Model X Blends Electricity and Function
- Students Treat Robo-Dogs at High-Tech Veterinary School
- How Technology has Revolutionized Tennis
Ever wonder how did James Cameron made his record-breaking journey to the bottom of the Mariana Trench (the deepest point on Earth)? The answer, my friends – is lots of advanced simulation technology and really really smart engineers.
The Engineer looks at this exciting journey from an engineering perspective (and of course the technology they used) in their interview with Finite Elements, a company with particular expertise in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite elements analysis (FEA).
The highlights in Phil Durbin’s mind (he’s one of the engineers from Finite Elements involved on this project) was designing and developing the patented syntactic foam that was used for the backbone of the entire structure. Typically, deep-sea exploration submarines are usually built with metal frames and foam attached but Cameron wanted to look into using foam only to save weight.
After some testing with ANSYS technology, the team successfully created a new flotation foam.
Check out the full piece to get the details around the other interesting engineering technology used for this exciting project!
The Battalion Online – Texas A&M
Engineering Professor Invents Technology to Combat Fire Hazards
It’s taken a Texas A&M professor and his team of grad / under grad students 5 years of research and testing to engineer a flame retardant technology. This new advancement has the potential to greatly impact the way we fight fires while at the same time change the makeup of everyday household products, and possibly even save lives.
Jaime Grunlan, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has discovered a way to use renewable materials to create an environmentally friendly flame retardant coating to be used on clothing and household furniture. Traditionally, flame retardant products have toxic chemicals, so you can see why an environmentally friendly version was needed.
Though the new technology isn’t 100% fireproof, the new coating dramatically diminishes the ability of the object to burn. They’re hoping their new technology will be available in one year from now.
Leave it to the engineers to save the world.
Tesla’s Model X Blends Electricity and Function
A few years ago, a top feature on a new vehicle may have been a multi-CD changer, heated seats, built-in GPS or remote starter/keyless entry. Now, as we move toward higher mileage capable vehicles and electric vehicles, designers are looking for more ways to combine advanced technology and electric vehicles. Making a first appearance at the recent North American International Auto Show, the Tesla Model X is THE new car.
The Model X will be an SUV/minivan crossover built for seven and offer advanced features including a 17-inch touchscreen in the front seat and “falcon wing” doors enable passengers to easily walk into the vehicle. As an electric vehicle, the Model X is expected to get between 208 to 265 miles, while and optional all-wheel drive package would boost torque by 50 percent. The package increases acceleration from 0 to 60 to under five seconds, making the Model X one of the fastest SUVs on the market.
The most interesting aspect of the vehicle is the falcon wing doors that open upward, not out. This allows passengers to walk into the back seat instead of climbing and sliding across the back seat.
Simulation was most likely used to determine the correct placement of the hinges of the doors to open correctly and to design the seating to enable correct placement to allow the room to walk through the seats, in addition to many other design elements.
Although still a year away from production and no set price, this will be a fun car to check out for new car shoppers.
NBC News – Future Tech
Students Treat Robo-Dogs at High-Tech Veterinary School
People with first aid training, such as CPR, take hours of classes and training to be certified in the skill. They are provided simulated humans to practice the skill to complete the testing. Veterinarians learn similar skills for pets and have similar practice models for pets. However, practice on a simulated animal has its limits.
Researchers at Cornell University designed a dog and cat that are not just simulated test subjects, but fully robotic “real-life” house-pets. Students can check the pulse, breathing and other vitals while practicing injections and inserting catheters. There are still some drawbacks to these early model test animals, but continued improvements are expected.
From a simulation aspect, to see the researchers continue to develop a robotic animal to be used to improve veterinarian skills while working with real house pets and animals in the future, but could also be used to develop new treatment options. By adding more realistic skin and blood vessels, an improved airway, more space inside for electronic to simulate conditions, and articulating joints for a more authentic dog-like feature, the dog will become even more of an accurate model. To design and incorporate the improvements, the researchers will have to simulate what materials to use and how to design the different components.
As the Australian Open continues this weekend, tennis fans may not be aware how much the sport has changed over the years. Believe it or not, players didn’t always have high-end composite rackets with optimized design. Australian accommodations site HotelClub.com put together an extremely interesting infographic that tracks the evolution of the sport and the technology used today.
Although the most important technology for players is the improved racket, which evolved from using the hand to a wooden paddle, to today’s current rackets, there are also many advanced technologies including the cameras to track shots and the court surfaces. The rackets, from a simulation standpoint, are the most interesting because on something so basic (a shaft, a racket head and string) actually posses many different areas to optimize and help the players take advantage of their outstanding skills.
In a recent ANSYS Advantage magazine article, a major racket manufacturer revealed how they use simulation to drastically improve rackets in a market where professionals and recreational players are looking for minor technological advances to improve their game. Everything from the flex of the shaft to the stress level on the racket to the impact of the tennis ball on the string and how the tension should be adjusted are just a few of the intricate fields that designers and manufactures view in simulations.
With the ability to improve a racket to a nanometer of optimization, manufactures will strive to make the next best model and compete to gain endorsements from tennis pros as they compete in the different tennis tournaments around the world, but especially the upcoming majors in the next year.
(Click the image to enlarge.)