In this week’s episode of the Engineering Update starring Editor Kasey Panetta (@kcpanetta), Associate Editor Jamie Wisniewski (@JamieECNmag), and WDD’s Editor-in-Chief, Janine E. Mooney (@JMooneyWDD):
Bladeless wind turbines
A company called Vortex Bladeless utilizes a different aspect of wind power called vortices. Vortices are created when wind moves around a barrier in its path. That movement, which is strong enough to cause bridges to fall, creates a vortex behind the barrier. This new turbine, made of carbon fiber and fiber glass, is designed to take advantage of that vortex in order to create energy.
A super-strong micro robot
Micro-robots are taking over the robotics kingdom by storm, but tiny new gadgets being developed by Stanford University researchers are headed to the top of the pack. Researchers used the van der Waals force, or the sum of the attractive or repulsive forces between molecules, to build their strength. In other words, it’s the same force used by ants to pull heavy loads, which is why these micro-bots are likely to be the hardest working creatures in their kingdom.
Tracking bridge stability
A team from ESA and University of Nottingham (UK) have come up with a way to easily monitor bridge stability in real-time. Using satnav receivers and ultrasonic wind meters on the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland, the researchers were able to track movements as small as 1 centimeter. However, it was also noted that the bridge can move up to 3.5 meters laterally and 1.83 meters vertically under a speed of 41 meters/second.