HotSpot Episode 40: Hammerhead Aircraft Complete First Test Flight

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 11:50am
Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development

This week on WDD’s HotSpot, brought to you by SanDIsk:

  • Researchers at the Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first battery electrode that heals itself, using a stretchy polymer that coats the electrode, binds it together, and spontaneously heals tiny cracks that develop during battery operation. Tiny nanoparticles of carbon were added to the polymer so it would conduct electricity. According to the University, to make the self-healing coating, scientists deliberately weakened some of the chemical bonds within polymers. The resulting material breaks easily, but the broken ends are chemically drawn to each other and quickly link up again, mimicking the process that allows biological molecules such as DNA to assemble, rearrange and break down.
  • A Kickstarter campaign is featuring a watch for all of you electronic geeks out there. It has all the features of a watch combined with an oscilloscope and a waveform generator. Featuring a powerful 8-bit XMEGA microcontroller, this oscilloscope watch is easy to program in C or assembly. The design of the electronics is ready. The firmware will be similar to the Xprotolab's firmware, with the addition of the watch specific functions. The second revision of the PCB is ready, which is a four layer board.
  • North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill have developed a new nanotechnology-based technique for regulating blood sugar in diabetics. This new technique may give patients the ability to release insulin painlessly using a small ultrasound device, allowing them to go days between injections – rather than using needles to give themselves multiple insulin injections each day. The technique involves injecting biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles into a patient’s skin. Patients can use a small, hand-held device to apply focused ultrasound waves to the site of the nano-network, painlessly releasing the insulin from its de facto reservoir into the bloodstream.
  • The Hammerhead unmanned aircraft system or UAS, developed by Italian aerospace manufacturer, Piaggio, successfully completed its first test flight. According to Piaggio, the medium altitude, long endurance, or MALE UAS, is designed to perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions for the Italian Air Force. It completed a 12-minute flight over the Mediterranean Sea, with ground control station operators testing the navigation system and maneuvering capabilities in both manual and automatic flight modes. 

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