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Engineering Newswire 106: DOE Wants to Know if We Live in a Hologram

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 1:24pm
Alex Shanahan, Manager of Multimedia Production

Today on Engineering Newswire, we’re growing fully functional parts, redesigning the rickshaw, and using a holometer to determine whether or not we live in a hologram. This episode features:

Are Your Parts Fully Functional?

Based in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Synergeering uses a modified laser sintering process to grow parts in 0.15 mm layers of RapidNylon, a proprietary concoction of glass-filled Nylon powder material that is comparable to thermoplastic, and has even been used to replace aluminum components.

According to the company, the glass filler creates extremely rigid parts with a glass transition temp of 138°C, which is particularly helpful in harsh environments. The prototype parts are used during development to complete earlier testing and prove part functionality before tooling is cut.

Is This Real?

The US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has started collecting data to determine whether or not we live in a hologram. The researchers plan to take data to the ultimate degree, as they attempt to find a single pixel of our space. In fact, they’re proposing that one pixel is 10 trillion trillion times smaller than an atom, a distance that physicists refer to as the Planck scale.

The Holometer at Fermi uses a pair of interferometers that send a one-kilowatt laser beam at a splitter and down two perpendicular 40-meter arms. The light is then reflected back to the beam splitter where the two beams recombine, creating fluctuations in brightness if there is motion. By analyzing these fluctuations, the researchers can remove background noise.

Redesigning the Rickshaw

Working with Madison’s Design Concepts, Coaster Pedicab has spent the last year developing an all new cycle-drawn rickshaw; gaining insight from builders, riders, and even real pedicab drivers. The Coaster is a new design that features durable telescoping canopies and rainflies that will come in handy during inclement weather.

A weatherproof electrical system also protects against the elements, and both hydraulic and mechanical disc breaking systems ensure safe stopping.

 

Do you have story ideas? Comment below and we’ll cover them in the next episode.

For more information on Smalley, visit www.smalley.com.

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