The next train has been delayed – until 2021
Crossrail will not start running until 2021, Transport for London (TfL) has announced, ending the possibility of first services next autumn. The announcement also included a budget increase of about £700m. TfL reportedly said more time was needed to develop signalling software and get safety approval for the line.
Bloodhound hits its stride
The Bloodhound LSR car has driven at 501mph (806km/h) across the desert in Hakskeen Pan, South Africa, a major milestone as the team prepares for an attempt at the land speed record. Driver Andy Green has gradually increased the car’s speed over a number of trial runs as the team tackles technical issues and analyses its performance.
'Alexa, what’s an engineer?'
More than 100 organisations including Amazon have come together to “change the face of engineering” after research found that online images disproportionately show engineers as ‘white men in hard hats’. An AI program used by the Royal Academy of Engineering analysed more than 1,100 images of engineers sourced online, and found an unrepresentative number of people wearing hard hats.
Charging up recycling
New technological solutions are needed to recycle the growing amount of used lithium-ion batteries, a new study has said. The paper, led by Dr Gavin Harper at the University of Birmingham, said engineers and policymakers should identify uses for recycled batteries and optimise their design for automated disassembly.
Half-tonne brain scanner condensed into 'bike helmet' device
A brain scanner usually weighing almost half a tonne has been crammed into a device the size of a bike helmet thanks to recent engineering breakthroughs. Conventional magnetoencephalography (MEG), a type of neuro-imaging for mapping brain activity, has previously relied on a ‘one size fits all’ machine but researchers from the University of Nottingham have developed a 0.5kg helmet which can be adapted to any head size.
An ‘unsinkable ship’?
A super-hydrophobic metallic structure that floats even after being punctured could inspire ‘unsinkable ships’, its creators have claimed. Inspired by rafts of fire ants and diving bell spiders, the structure created by researchers at the University of Rochester in New York state reportedly refuses to sink no matter how often it is forced underwater. As well as boats, the team said it could be used for puncture-resistant flotation devices or ocean-monitoring devices.
Massive battery for marine efficiency
A massive battery inside a shipping container will be installed on a cargo ship to boost efficiency. The 600kWh battery from Maersk and Trident Maritime Systems could help reduce emissions on the Cape Town ship. It will be charged in port, from the ship’s generator and using a waste heat recovery system.
A new ‘centre of excellence’ led by organisations in Wales, Scotland and Cornwall will promote next-generation floating wind technology. Floating wind turbines have the potential to generate vast amounts of energy in the coming decades, thanks to potential application in previously untapped areas.
Starliner’s parachute failure
A parachute failed during a ‘launch pad abort test’ of Boeing’s Starliner crew module and service module. The failure was the result of a faulty connection in one of three parachutes, the aerospace giant said.
’RoboBees’ shrug off impact
Harvard researchers have unveiled several ‘RoboBees’, small drones with flapping wings that are powered by soft actuators. The small, low weight devices can reportedly absorb external impacts better than conventional flying machines, making them potentially useful for cluttered or dangerous environments.
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