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Sabre engine gets funding boost and EU fines carmakers: 10 top stories of the week

Professional Engineering

The Sabre engine from Reaction Engines could enable rapid, lower carbon access to space (Credit: Reaction Engines)
The Sabre engine from Reaction Engines could enable rapid, lower carbon access to space (Credit: Reaction Engines)

New government funding for Reaction Engines’ Sabre

Professional Engineering

Lower carbon access to space could be one step closer at Reaction Engines, after the UK space firm received £3.9m new government funding. The grant from the UK Space Agency will support the development of the company’s Synergetic Air Breathing Rocket Engine (Sabre). Aimed at providing the fuel efficiency of a jet engine with the power and speed of a rocket, Sabre will operate in both air-breathing and rocket modes for Mach 5 atmospheric flight and Mach 25 space flight.

VW and BMW fined for delaying emissions-cleaning tech

The Guardian

The European Union has fined Volkswagen €502m and BMW €372m for colluding with Daimler to delay the introduction of emissions-cleaning technology. The German carmakers’ collusion with the Mercedes-Benz owner, which delayed introduction of technology that removes nitrogen oxides from exhaust fumes, breached EU antitrust rules.

’Monkey Mindpong’ shows transformative power of brain-computer interfaces

Professional Engineering

Earlier this year, a macaque monkey played arcade game Pong with the power of its mind, thanks to the Link brain-computer interface (BCI) from Elon Musk-owned Neuralink. We looked at the technology behind the Link, and other BCIs, to show how transformative they could be for paralysed people.

Tests gather data on hybrid military vehicles

Commercial Fleet

Hybrid military vehicles are undergoing testing at Utac, previously Millbrook, to determine the benefits they could bring. The Ministry of Defence programme could inform the development of future vehicles.

Micro 3D printing can bring big advantages

Professional Engineering

The bigger the breakthrough, the smaller the technology – at least when it comes to miniaturisation. American firm Boston Micro Fabrication aims to meet growing demand for miniaturised parts with 3D printing. We spoke to CEO John Kawola ahead of his 22 July session at the free Engineering Futures webinar series.

MPs disappointed at slow pace of rail electrification

E&T

A group of MPs has expressed disappointment at the slow pace of rail electrification in the UK. The MPs on the Public Accounts Committee said the rail system lacks “strategic direction”, and urged the government to act to ensure a zero emission railway.

Noise-cancelling ‘metamaterial’ set for hospital testing

The Engineer

Metasonixx, a spin-out from the Universities of Sussex and Bristol, has developed a metamaterial capable of bending and shaping acoustic waves. The panels, known as Sonoblind, will be trialled in UK hospitals to reduce noise on busy wards.

DNANudge team wins 2021 MacRobert Award

The Engineer

London start-up DNANudge has won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious MacRobert Award. The team adapted its consumer DNA testing service to test for Covid-19.

Insect-sized robot moves with the agility of a cheetah

Professional Engineering

A new insect-sized robot can swerve and pivot with the agility of a cheetah, letting it traverse complex terrain and quickly move around obstacles. Engineers at the University of California Berkeley developed the robot, which uses electrostatic adhesion in its ‘footpads’ for nimble navigation.

Collins starts fabricating Airlander 10 electric motor

Aerospace Manufacturing

Collins Aerospace has started fabrication of a 500kW electric motor for the Airlander 10 airship. The Hybrid Air Vehicles craft is expected to start hybrid operation by 2025, followed by zero-emission flight by 2030.


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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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