The NASA Perseverance Rover: Recapping the Events and the Engineering That Proved Perseverance Pays Off
On February 18th 2021, the most advanced robot ever sent to Mars landed safely, following the spacecraft’s ‘seven minutes of terror’ touchdown on an especially dangerous Martian terrain. We recap the events and discuss the engineering that helped NASA prove that perseverance really does pay off.
Three UK Green Aviation Projects Receive a Total of £84 Million in Funding
The UK’s minister for London, Paul Scully, has recently announced that £84 million of government funding has been invested in the aerospace industry to help achieve the country’s ambition of realising zero-emissions flights. The money will be used to aid three major UK aviation projects.
The EU Has Pushed for a ‘Battery Passport’ to Support Its Green Energy Goals — But Is This Enough?
Policymakers require comprehensive, circular sustainability in devices’ battery life cycles. They must ensure that batteries are given a second (if not, a third) life. We discuss the EU’s potential answer to this, namely its Battery Passport, and ask how viable such a passport could be.
UK to Host World’s First ‘Urban Air Port’ for Electric Aircraft
Coventry, a city in the UK, has been chosen as the location for the first airport for electric aircraft (such as drones and air taxis). Referred to as an ‘Urban Air Port’, the upcoming site will be carbon-neutral and is planned for late 2021.
BMW’s Production Capabilities Are Set to Be Optimised by Its Planned Quantum Computing Project
The leading automaker BMW has announced that it is planning to use Honeywell’s quantum computing technology to streamline its manufacturing operations. The car manufacturer is also working with Singapore-based startup Entropica Labs whose experience in quantum software will further inform the project.
Will Micromobility Ever Become Fully Popularised in Europe’s Cities?
Micromobility is technically illegal on some of Europe’s streets, but its increasing public demand and eco-friendliness suggest that it should be pushed forward. We look at some of the many companies that are helping to bolster electric micro vehicle uptake, and ask: could it ever be considered as practical as driving a car?
How a Novel LED Chip Has Minimised a Common Chip Problem: ‘Efficiency Droop’
LEDs may be a leading light source, but their traditional chip architectures are subject to a form of inefficiency known as ‘efficiency droop’. We look at how a new chip architecture developed by IBM, NIST (the National Institute of Standards), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Maryland, has minimised such inefficiency.
Elon Musk is Offering a $100 Million Prize for the Best Carbon Capture Technology
Elon Musk is offering a prize worth $100 million to any participant who can suggest the best solution to achieving carbon capture technology. The tech billionaire and Tesla founder tweeted the announcement with further details promised to follow.
KAUST Researchers Utilise Herbicide to Boost Organic Solar Cell Efficiency
Despite the proven potential of solar energy, experts still must search for more efficient ways to develop solar-friendly technologies. This has led many scientists to move away from inorganic materials for solar energy harnessing, and accordingly, researchers from KAUST have recently developed a cost-effective organic solar cell solution.
Various Sensors and Their Applications for Smart Farming and Robotics
Smart farming is a form of agriculture that is informed by robotics and smart sensors, whose data acquisition capabilities enable them to feed crops with precisely what they need to ease the farmer’s job of cultivation. We look at the various sensor technologies required for modern, IoT-based agriculture.
UK Launches First Coordinated System for Renewable Energy
The United Kingdom’s first-of-its-kind energy transmission system, which went live in mid-December 2020, has been introduced by National Grid ESO and other major UK energy organisations. This will enable more renewable energy to connect to the electricity system with enhanced efficiency.
Cargo-Laden Drone Flight Completes Trip to Mainland UK
A drone flight has successfully carried cargo to and from the Scilly Isles from mainland England. The achievement may have laid the groundwork for future commercial services involving the unmanned aerial vehicle-based distribution of vital medical supplies.
UT Austin and Skoltech Have Developed A ‘Smart’ Wearable Sensor for Tracking Healing
Having formed a joint U.S.-Russia research team, scientists at UT Austin (the University of Texas at Austin) and Skoltech (the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology) have developed a proof-of-concept ‘smart’ wearable sensor that has the potential to enable the real-time, non-invasive monitoring of patients’ wounds.
Britain’s First EV Battery Gigaplant Planned for Northumberland, UK
Lithium-ion battery technology company Britishvolt has recently announced that it has settled on a site for the UK’s first EV (electric vehicle) battery gigaplant. The news follows the manufacturer’s acquisition of its full and exclusive rights to an almost 235-acre site in the UK’s unitary authority: Northumberland.
How the University of Kentucky and Lexmark’s Vertical Recycling Project Shows Promise in E-Waste Management
The global dedication to a circular economy and sustainable electronics has been impaired by geopolitics and the trade wars, driving engineers and manufacturers to find new vertical solutions. Accordingly, the University of Kentucky and Lexmark have been working together to introduce novel e-waste (electronic waste) recycling methods.
Is the UK Rushing the Electric Vehicle Revolution?
In 2020, the UK government announced its plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030—an admirable, but incredibly ambitious, aim. Given the infrastructure and charging network required, the question arises: is the UK’s target viable, or is it rushing the electric vehicle revolution?
Is Vehicle-to-Grid Technology Sustainable?
We reportedly leave our cars parked up to 95% of the time, and on top of this, electrical grids currently have limited storage facilities. Points such as these have inspired a potential solution: vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. We consider the extent to which this promising power innovation may be sustainable.
Scotland Plans for a ‘World First’ 1.8 MWh Flow Battery Energy Storage System
Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney has announced its plans to produce continuous green hydrogen from tidal power as part of a new flow battery installation. The project will involve vanadium flow batteries to ensure the energy storage system has high efficiency and endurance.
Fingertip Pressure Sensor for Dextrous Machines
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed a fingertip pressure sensor that doesn’t affect the touch sensitivity of real skin. They believe that the intricate technology, which was fabricated by electrospinning, may be able to train machines to carry out tasks with more fidelity.