Tagged With engineering

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In the classic 1966 American science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, a submarine crew was miniaturised and injected into a body to fix a blood clot in the brain. That obviously isn't how future medical science is going to work, but the notion of creating microscopic machines to perform complex tasks is certainly on point. A recent advance, in which robots made from DNA were programmed to sort and deliver molecules to a specified location, now represents an important step in this futuristic direction.

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About 6 trillion cigarette butts are produced every year worldwide, leading to more than 1.2 million tonnes of cigarette butt waste. This is set to increase by more than 50 per cent by 2025, mainly due to an increase in world population.

Now an Australian research team is developing a way for cigarette butts can be turned into footpaths, bricks and other building materials - that have the added bonus of cooling our cities.

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One of the biggest engineering challenges of building a towering skyscraper isn't keeping the structure from falling over, it's moving all the people around inside of it. To improve efficiency, and facilitate the construction of even taller buildings, Germany's ThyssenKrupp has completely redesigned elevators so that they can move sideways now, too.

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Like maintaining a zen garden, or pruning a bonsai tree, some people stack and balance rocks as a way to relax. But robots don't really experience emotional stress, so why bother teaching a bot to balance rocks? One day, this robot's skills could prove invaluable when it comes to building structures on distant worlds we're trying to colonise.

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It may be hard to believe, but most mechanical engineers designing your cars have no clue how to fix them. That's because engineering and automotive repair are two very separate entities. Here's the difference.

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One of the many challenges of colonising Mars is that the planet is lacking many of the natural resources we rely on here on Earth. We'll need to bring as much of what we need to survive as possible, but you can only pack so much into a spaceship. So scientists are developing ways to utilise at least one of the red planet's most abundant resources: Dust.

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The next time train rolls into the station, try to sneak a quick peek at its large metal wheels. You'll notice that instead of being perfect cylinders, they're actually angled. It's a deliberate and clever design choice that allows your train to roll around corners without flying off the tracks.

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Like death and taxes, drone crashes are basically inevitable. Even experienced pilots aren't immune to hardware failures or software problems. But instead of building drones stronger, or wrapping them in awkward safety cages, Swiss researchers have designed a flexible quadcopter that squishes when it crashes, minimising the damage it takes.

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Most high school students struggle to write a passable essay on Catcher in the Rye, but Blake Hawkins has more than earned his high school diploma — and some spending money on the side — by turning an unused locker into a fully-functional soft drink vending machine.