Posts in category: ‘Project Spotlight’

Let me tell you about the time I designed a moon rover

I believe that every engineer's dream is to design and build something that will travel into space and beyond, to boldly go where no one has gone before. At least my dream was to create a product that will be used in either the space or aerospace industry. I was lucky enough to be part of one such space project. In 2014, my colleague invited me to get involved in a project to design a moon rover. This project was part of the Google Lunar X Prize, and we were part of a small international team called Team Stellar. My colleague and I were the only two mechanical engineers on the project, so the whole burden of designing Rover’s mechanical systems was on our shoulders.

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Is there place for augmented reality in manufacturing? Yup.

Most people know about augmented reality. If you haven’t heard the precise phrase, you’ve probably heard of Google Glass. Same idea. Sadly, it appears that Google Glass has fallen on its face, ridiculed and tossed aside. But what would happen if someone took the augmented reality concept and focused not on the consumer market, but instead put it to use in the industrial market? Suddenly, aesthetics, price, and ubiquity aren’t as important. Imagine the potential that augmented reality could bring to manufacturing and design communication. Enter DAQRI, an augmented reality company who is looking to do just that.

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Project spotlight: GravityLight

GravityLight is an innovative off-grid light designed to eliminate dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps, used by over 1.3 billion people who don’t have access to electricity. It has created a new category of lighting, doesn’t have any batteries, nor does it need sunlight - all you need is a weight. This means it’s a very promising solution for emergency relief and disaster preparedness too, as it can be stored for long periods of time and can be used anytime, whatever the weather. I talked to one of the co-founders, Jim Reeves, to reveal a bit the background of their story.

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Project spotlight: Rivet, a trike designed by William Shatner

William Shatner designed a superbike so he could ride from Chicago to LA this summer. American Wrench, an Illinois-based custom motorcycle company, is building it. Rivet is a true superbike appropriate for "Iron Bill", boasting a 500HP V8 engine and an all-aluminum body. I interviewed Aaron Kelly of Rivet Motors / American Wrench to ask a few questions.

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Project spotlight: Hybrid Air Vehicles

Founded in 2007, Hybrid Air Vehicles is the company behind the innovative Airlander range of hybrid aircraft. They utilise new aerospace technology that combines the best characteristics of fixed wing aircraft with helicopters and "lighter-than-air" technology to create a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft, with a significantly lower carbon footprint and operating cost than other forms of air transport. The Airlander 10 is designed to stay airborne for up to five days at a time to fulfill a wide range of communication and survey roles, as well as cargo carrying and tourist passenger flights.

I talked to Mike Durham, Technical Director, about their vehicle and the development process.

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Capturing wind power with unconventional methods

Ben Glass, Altaeros CEO, is the inventor of the Buoyant Airborne Turbine system (BAT), which he developed at MIT as a student in the aerospace engineering department. After his stint at SpaceX, and time spent at MIT’s Gas Turbine Lab, Glass began developing the concept of lifting a wind turbine with an inflatable shell. The tower-less design significantly reduces the time and logistical cost of installation. At the same time it allows the turbine to harness a stronger, more consistent, wind resource that is out of reach of conventional wind turbines. I had the opportunity to talk to him and ask about his invention.

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