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1. The Eye: From this post, scientists could track migrating birds and sea life and conduct long-term meteorological studies.
2. Topside Operations: Pilots would control SeaOrbiter’s remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) from above the waterline. The outdoor operations area would also serve as a staging area for dives from the surface. And a decompression chamber would ease the transition for SeaOrbiter members living at saturation. Solar panels and wind turbines would provide energy to help power the ship.
3. Wet Lab: Each year, marine biologists discover about 2,000 new marine species, a number SeaOrbiter aims to increase. A wet lab filled with tanks would allow researchers to perform experiments and transport certain live specimens to more-sophisticated land-based research facilities.
4. Four-Car Garage: The underwater hangar would house a two-person submersible, two ROVs, and an autonomous drone that can dive to 6,000 meters. The hope is to use these vehicles to search the ocean depths for not only new life but also plankton, bacteria, and viruses that could help treat disease.
5. Data Hub: Communications Center Nemo, named after the anti-hero of Jules Verne’s sci-fi masterpiece 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, would serve as a broadcast studio for SeaOrbiter to share its discoveries with the world. The studio would also house a pipe organ, the favored musical instrument of Verne’s mad captain, who swore off life on land to pursue the mysteries of the abyss. (One crazy French science-fiction writer’s dream is apparently another French explorer’s reality.)
6. Undersea Quarters: Six crew members would live in a pressurized zone underwater, allowing them to dive all day to 100 meters. By living at saturation, they could complete experiments much more efficiently than land-based marine biologists do, and they wouldn’t need to bother with decompression stops upon returning to the ship. The pressurized quarters could also double as a simulator for space agencies to test operational protocols and perform psychological studies on long-term close-quarters living for future trips to space.
A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have come up with an ingenious way to make a low-cost, high strength, artificial muscle. Their secret? Fishing line. The study was just published today in the journal Science, and the best part is they describe how to recreate it at home.
To create it, the researchers take regular fishing line (polyethylene or nylon string) and twist it under tension until it curls up into a tightly formed spring. It can then be temperature treated to lock in this position.
When heated again, the plastic tries to untwist — the peculiar thing is, this causes the entire coil to compress — think of it as Chinese finger-trap. Polyethylene and nylon molecules also contract lengthwise when heated. It can contract up to about 49%, with as much pulling power as 100 times its equivalent human muscle in weight. This equates to about 5.3 kilowatts of mechanical work per kilogram of muscle weight — similar to the output of a jet engine.
Stick around to see the video of how to make it — we’re excited to see what you guys think up for project applications!
[via Popular Mechanics]
The e-volo VC200 has made it’s maiden unmanned flight. Does the craft above look a bit familiar? We first reported on the e-volo team back in 2011. Things have been going great for the team since then. They’ve created an 18 motor (Octadecacopter?) prototype dubbed the VC200. The group has taken a smart approach to building their craft. Rather than try to keep everything in-house, they’ve created a network by partnering with a number of companies who are experts in their fields. A sailplane company laid up the carbon fiber composite frame for the EC200. Junkers Profly, a German aviation company, developed a ballistic parachute system in case something goes wrong in flight.
From the outside, the VC200 looks like a grown up version of the Quadcopters we’ve seen here on Hackaday. Even the control system used for the test flight looks like a modified Radio Control Transmitter. The motors are outrunner brushless motors. Props are carbon fiber. We’re hoping the control system is a bit more evolved (and redundant) than the systems used in R/C quads though. Just like in smaller scale models, batteries are still the limiting factor. The VC200 will only fly for about 20 minutes on a charge. However, e-volo says that new technology should allow it to extend that time to around an hour. Not very much for a cross country flight, but plenty to pioneer a new type of aircraft. Where do we sign for the beta program?
Videos are in German, with English subtitles.
Kinetic energy generation from footsteps
Footsteps can power the world. Seriously, this is really exciting. What started off as a Kickstarter campaign, the concept “harnesses the kinetic energy from footsteps and converts it into renewable electricity. By stepping, jumping, or hopping on a ‘pavegen floor tile’, users create clean, off-grid electricity used to power multiple applications – from lighting, to interactive learning displays and charging points.”
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"Basically the price of a night on the town!"
"I'd love to help kickstart continued development! And 0 EUR/month really does make fiscal sense too... maybe I'll even get a shirt?" (there will be limited edition shirts for two and other goodies for each supporter as soon as we sold the 200)