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The doctor in a rucksack and the safest car ever? 10 top stories of the week

Professional Engineering

The Mercedes-Benz Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESF) 2019 (Credit: Daimler/ Mercedes-Benz)
The Mercedes-Benz Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESF) 2019 (Credit: Daimler/ Mercedes-Benz)

Tidal energy comes down

Energy Live News

The cost of a tidal energy technology has fallen by 15% thanks to a "flagship" 18-month project. Nova Innovation said its Shetland array's operational costs have fallen by 15% during the Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal (Enfait) scheme, and predicted an overall drop of more than 40% by 2022 – something that could convince reluctant politicians to invest in the sector.

SpaceX launches web of Starlink internet satellites

The Verge

SpaceX has launched 60 internet satellites into orbit, carrying the 18.5 tonne payload into low orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. The company aims to launch almost 12,000 of the Starlink spacecraft, providing global internet coverage with low lag times. 

Engineering goes back to school

Design Products & Applications

Primary Engineer has launched the Institutions of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Engineers, aimed at helping children and young adults develop engineering skills for work in the sector and elsewhere. The three institutions will work with teachers to develop engineering projects and help guide pupils towards becoming chartered engineers.

There's light rail, then there's Very Light Rail

Professional Engineering

A new train chassis made of carbon fibre tubes is so incredibly light that people can “pick it up” to get a sense of how it will work in practice, a manufacturer has claimed. The Very Light Rail vehicle frame from WMG at the University of Warwick and partners is formed of carbon fibre composite tubes, held together with adhesive and simple welding. The demonstrator is “an eye-opener for industry players who can see it, touch it and even pick it up,” said Lyndon Sanders, director of component manufacturer Far.

The safest car ever?

New Atlas

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the 2019 edition of its Experimental Safety Vehicle, featuring an imaginative array of life-protecting technology that could be implemented into mass manufactured vehicles in future. The ESF includes large screens to communicate with other road users at the front and back, a swivelling child seat, back seat airbags, a robotic warning triangle and much more. 

Shape memory hybrid could make the world more... flexible

Professional Engineering

A group of researchers at a course run by Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art have created re:flex, a shape memory hybrid material. They hope it could transform traditionally static aspects of the manmade world, including furniture, medical casts, surgical robots and deployable space structures.

The doctor in a rucksack

New Atlas

The Department of Defence in the US has awarded contracts worth $7.2m for the creation of an "autonomous trauma care system" to fit in a soldier's rucksack. The project aims to save the lives of wounded fighters with a robotic 'suit' that can assess medical condition and treat injuries with medicine or intravenous fluids.

Boost into orbit: government offers £2m funding to horizontal take-off spaceports

Professional Engineering

Prospective spaceports keen to capitalise on future space tourism and the UK’s thriving satellite industry can apply for a share of £2m government funding. Newquay Airport in Cornwall, Campbeltown and Glasgow Prestwick in Scotland and Llanbedr in Snowdonia in Wales are already developing capabilities for sub-orbital flight, launch of spaceplanes and satellites.

Toughening up aircraft engines

The Engineer

A group of researchers hope to toughen up devices including jet engines and nuclear reactors by improving Brazing Filler Metals, which are heated between parts to form bonds. Led by Dr Russell Goodall at Sheffield University, the team hopes to increase the metals' strength and temperature resistance.

Go-anywhere hybrid drone quickly switches from flying to driving and back

Professional Engineering

A new hybrid quadcopter and driving robot can tackle staircases, tight gaps, vertical walls and rubble, according to its developers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. The robot could be useful for package deliveries, the researchers said, flying most of the way before using its wheels to safely and quietly reach destinations. Its combination of flight and ground travel could also make it suitable for search-and-rescue, agriculture, maintenance, cleaning, filming as well as law enforcement applications.


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