The Tek Pulse: The latest and greatest engineering and science posts

Informative, innovative and interesting articles from our favorite blogs


1. Using virtual reality to catch a real ball, Disney Research, March 20, 2017, PHYS.ORG – Scientists have found a way to make virtual reality (VR) even more believable, exciting, interactive and dynamic. A team at Disney Research demonstrated how someone could use a VR system to catch a real ball. A motion capture system was used to track the ball and the location of the catcher’s hands and head. The scene was then virtually rendered and viewed through a head-mounted display. Users had success catching the ball in three different visualization scenarios. In the future, game designers could potentially take advantage of VR to make certain tasks easier, making those interactions more fun and interactive.  For the full article check out PHYS.ORG.


2. Wi-Fi on Rays of Light – 100 Time Faster, and Never Overloaded, Eindhoven University of Technology, March 20, 2017, Wireless Design & Development – Researchers have developed a new way to speed up Wi-Fi. The system is a simple and inexpensive wireless network based on harmless infrared rays. The wireless data originates from central light antennas potentially mounted to the ceiling. Those rays are then able to precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fiber. The antennas are comprised of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles. Since there are no moving parts, the system is maintenance-free and does not require power. The network works by tracking the precise location of every wireless device, such as smartphones and tablets, using its radio signal. Once a user moves out of the antenna’s line of sight, another antenna takes over. To add additional devices to the system, the user simply assigns different wavelengths by the same light antenna so they don’t share the capacity. Each ray has a capacity of over 40Gbits so slow Wi-Fi need not be a concern with this scenario. For the full article visit Wireless Design & Development.


3. Silk Sensor Could Speed Development of New Infrastructure, Aerospace & Consumer Materials, National Institute of Standards and Technology, March 20, 2017, ECN – A new breakthrough could one day bring us improved fuel-efficient vehicles, weather-resistant bridges, high-performance sporting goods and more. The new development is a method to embed a nanoscale damage-sensing probe into a lightweight composite made of silk and epoxy. The probe could speed up product testing and reduce the amount of time and materials required for the development of new composites. By installing this new probe into a composite, the researchers were able to “see” damage at the interface using optical microscopy. Conventional methods for optical imaging can only record images at scales as small as 200-400 nanometers, making it ineffective for imaging the interphase in composites. The team will extend their research to explore how their probes could be used in other kinds of composites, like ones that could withstand prolonged exposure to water or heat for use in buildings, bridges and wind turbines. For more information visit ECN.


4. Liquid storage of solar energy: More effective than ever before, Chalmers University of Technology, March 20, 2017, ScienceDaily – One challenge with solar energy is that it’s difficult to store and deliver on demand. Now, a team has shown that it is possible to convert solar energy directly into energy that is stored within the bonds of a chemical fluid or a molecular solar thermal system and then used anytime. The process is based on an organic compound that converts into a liquid when exposed to light. The liquid chemical can store and transport solar energy, then release it on demand. When the team combined the chemical with water heating solar panels, they achieved a conversion of over 80 percent of the incoming sunlight – an improvement factor of 100, beyond the conceptual demo six years ago. For more information check out ScienceDaily.


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Do you have a great article, blog or idea that you’d like to see featured in our series? Please be sure to share in the comments below. Stay tuned next week for another installment of The Tek Pulse, featuring more trending articles from the engineering, technology and science worlds.


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