Photo Credit: thumbs.dreamstime.com
Well looks like the time has come to say farewell. This has definitely been a fun ride here at TeamUV.org and I can definitely say I will not forget it. I honestly want to thank everyone who has supported us this entire trip whether it be reading our post, donating, commenting, or any kind of support you have given us. I just hope that we were able to shed some light on all of the interesting items that people just like us have created in the STEM field. We all have learned a lot from the beginning of this project (SHIELA-D) up til the end (DORY) and that experience is something that we will never forget.
You know, anyone can put up an article. But when you put up an article and see that people are coming to the site, reading it, and leaving comments, it is such a great feeling and once again I want to thank everyone who supported us no matter how small or large. As for the “For Now” part, I will be putting up articles for Engineering A Future for a little while so feel free to come, kick back, and read some more articles!
From the coolest guy in the group…..You Rock!
Team UV Crest, representing our principal application (ISR), and our potential future applications (Mine Detection, Underwater Inspection, and Exploration).
So the day has finally come; my last Team UV blog post. It’s been a true pleasure writing about STEM topics for all of you to enjoy. Blogging for this site has given me a venue to express my engineering interests, as well as way to see what my fellow Team UV members are in to. As Mechanical Engineering graduates who completed the same basic curriculum at Cal Poly Pomona, it’s fascinating that we are all interested in different fields. I can’t wait to see where the five of us will go in our careers.
I’m excited for the next chapter with Engineering A Future (launches Monday July 13th) and the chance to share my interests more deeply with you all. As of now, I will be posting once a month on EAF about my favorite topics: robotics, the energy industry, and electronics!
See you all on EAF!
The da Vinci Surgical System in action. Photo Credit: medicaldaily.com
As many of you are aware, we are in the transitioning phase of this website as we close out TeamUV.org and transition to EngineeringAFuture.com over the next two months, so this will be Andrew’s last Well Read post here at Team UV, but not to fear, there are still two months of posts left here and the same types of articles will be carried over onto EAF (Engineering A Future), so without further ado, please enjoy the following:
The tiny toothed pincers above are part of a non-robotic system called the da Vinci Surgical System. The design is called non robotic as the operating doctor is in full control of the system. It basically translates the movements of a surgeon into micro-movements in the da Vinci’s intruments.
The idea behind this system is to give surgeons expanding capabilities and a minimally invasive option for major surgery. Here is a video of it in action:
Now that is some cool engineering!
Until next time…
Of all the bird species of the world, the hummingbird has some of the most unique and impressive abilities. It has the highest metabolism of any warm blooded mammal on the planet, it is extremely light, and it flaps its wings so fast that the frequency can even be picked up by the human ear. Some of the fastest flapping hummingbirds can generate up to 200 flaps per second! And not only this but they are able to hover in place, fly backwards, and even shake off water from their bodies all in midflight! Many scientists have researched the hummingbird and have learned that it does not flap its wings in the traditional up and down movement but instead in a back and forth movement creating lift in both the up and down stroke. About 70% of the total lift is created in the down stroke and 30% in the up stroke in one cycle of flapping. Even in wind tunnels these feathered fiends are able to withstand winds of 20 mph by using their natural aerodynamic, streamlined body and tail as a rudder to maneuver through the passing air. Obviously here at Team UV we are interested in harnessing the power of nature through biomimicry and scientist and engineers are doing the same with the hummingbird. Tiny helicopters attempt to recreate the hummingbird hover but currently are not as good as the real deal. More on the mini-helicopter-drones http://www.futurity.org/hummingbirds-micro-helicopters-740052/.
Leading Edge Vortex (LEV) and Trailing Edge Vortex (TEV) shedding in hummingbird flight. Photo Credit:Nick Stockton (Wired.com)
UTug robot with a weight attached. Photo Credit: slashgear.com
Stanford engineers are getting ready to reveal their new tiny robot that perhaps should have the name Superman as it is extremely strong. The reveal is taking place at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation which is held in Seattle. The small robot can not only carry many times its own weight, it can do this while climbing up a wall.
This is the smallest robot to have been created at Stanford. One of their robots is able to carry 500 milligrams while its own body weight is just 20 milligrams. It may only be carrying a paperclip but bear in mind that the robot itself is so tiny that it had to be assembled underneath a microscope. UTug is the even more powerful as it can drag weights of up to 2,000 times heavier than its own body weight. It weighs just 12 grams (~0.03 lb) and can carry around 24 kilograms (~52.9 lb). This is the equivalent to a human being walking around dragging a blue whale behind them.
The incredible strength of the robots is due to powerful motors and superb traction. The engineers working on the robots gave them feet that take inspiration from that of a gecko. The feet have an adhesive surface which has tiny rubber spikes that allow the robot to stick to the surface. If downward pressure is applied, the spikes are able to bend, this gives them increased surface area and therefore high adhesion. As soon as the robot lifts its foot the spikes straighten out. The locomotion of the robot means that it moves slow and one foot has to stay planted to anchor the weight of the robot. The designers behind the robot believe that the robot will come in handy in construction to carry items that are heavy and which need to be hauled around.
Photo Credit: Engadget.com
Futuristic movies usually portray a world where robots are commonplace and yet here in the present they’re not nearly as accessible, at least not the humanoid ones. If you just want a robot that can vacuum your floor read no further! One of the major things in humanoid robots is the development of linear motion devices. If you want something that spins we’ve got that covered but making something move in a line, now that’s a bit more difficult. There are ways to do it and some of them would make great muscles for robots!
First off, there’s the idea of having a motor drive a screw and use that to move a nut back and forth. This is a pretty common way of getting robust linear motion into many applications especially where accuracy is a concern. This is because for every turn of the motor the nut is going to move a small and easy to determine amount. However these can be slow and can wear out rapidly.
Next let’s look at hydraulics, these are pistons powered by piping high pressure fluid into them and forcing the piston to extend or contract. They are very powerful and can be made fairly accurate, used commonly in industrial applications for lifting things. They can also be miniaturized to fit onto a robot, unfortunately they require a fair amount of piping and a powerful pump.
Thirdly lets look at a nickel titanium alloy that goes by the brand name Nitonol. This material will contract if the temperature is raised due to a transformation in it’s internal crystal structure. Essentially the atoms that make up the material shift around and reorder themselves into a more tightly packed structure reducing the length of the overall wire. This means that when electricity is passed through the wire it will heat up due to it’s resistance and the heat will cause it to contract. This allows for linear actuation in a very small package, however the change in length is also quite small.
The world of tomorrow will probably have more prevalent humanoid robots, and they just might be flexing muscles made with one of these actuators!
Gimball drone. Photo Credit: interestingengineering.com
With all the talk about drones lately, especially Amazon’s drone, I thought this would be cool to mention. Today, I want to introduce you to Gimball! The collision tolerant drone!
There is always a learning curve when first piloting a drone. You may not be as good as you think when you keep knocking into things. The last thing you really want is to watch your drone engage in a mid-air collision, but for Gimball it is it’s main selling point. Described as the first “collision tolerant drone” it won $1 million at the Drones for Good international competition held in Dubai.
It was created by Swiss company Flyability and it utilizes a rotating spherical outer cage that means it can be used safely in close proximity with people. Designed to enter hostile environments such as burning buildings and radioactive sites, Gimball maps its surroundings and can roll across ceilings and floors, navigate restricted areas, and transmit RGB and infrared images back to disaster relief services. Surrounding the multi-axis gimbal system with its built-in camera is a carbon fiber outer cage that absorbs the shock of any collisions and the gimbal system means that the cage can roll about independently of the camera.
Check out the video below!