This Cutting-Edge 3D Printer Now
Lives On The ISS
By Janine E. Mooney, Editor in Chief
Space travel is unpredictable. There is so much that can
go wrong, and it’s impossible to plan for every possible
scenario. In addition, we’re limited in how far we can
go, and for how long. Now, all of that is dramatically
changing. So much so that in July of this year, a 3D
printer found a new home on the International Space
In the past, when something aboard the ISS would
break, spare parts had to be sent on resupply missions,
a very expensive and time-consuming mission to say
A perplexed former NASA intern, Jason Dunn, came
up with a better option and founded Made in Space,
which employs a cutting-edge 3D printer that now lives
on the ISS. The 3D printer now allows astronauts to
build new supplies while in orbit.
Inflatable Helmet Will Protect Your
Head In A Bike Crash
By Jennifer DeLaOsa, Associate Editor
Bicycle helmets have
over the years, with
the addition of sensors,
LED turn signals, etc.
These advancements are
essential for keeping our
heads protected, but they
focus more on accident prevention. The inflatable helmet
swoops in to save the day during an actual collision.
The Hövding airbag helmet is exactly what it sounds
like – an airbag for your head. During a typical bicycle
ride, the device sits around your neck as a fashionable,
puffy scarf. Using motion detectors and computer
algorithms, the cyclist’s actions are recorded 200 times
every second to get a sense of an individual’s typical
movement pattern. Once the device detects any
abnormalities, the airbag system springs into action.
Incredibly strong, nylon fabric engulfs your head before
the ground unfortunately says hello.
Total value (USD) of military
exports in the U.S. aerospace
industry in 2015.
11. 2 billion
Anticipated global spending (USD)
on military robotics in 2020.
Engineering Update #183: Tiny Robots
Crawl From Your Energy-Harvesting
Floor Into Your Smart Socks
➤ Tiny Robots Crawl Up Your Clothes
Researchers from MIT and Stanford University
recently showcased their new Rovables robots, which
are tiny devices that roam up and down a person’s
clothing while it’s being worn. Each Rovable contains a
battery, microcontroller, and wireless communications
module that lets it track the movements and locations
of its fellow robots.
➤ ProCover Smart Sock Offers Low-Cost
Sensation for Prosthetics
The University of Applied Science has created the
affordable proCover smart sock. Conductive fabric
creates a pressure-sensitive grid covering the foot and
ankle area. When pressure is felt on a specific area of
the foot, certain motors begin to vibrate at different
➤ Energy-Harvesting Wooden Floors
Pavegen, a UK tech firm, developed tiles that use
electro-magnetic induction to generate electricity. The
material developed by the UW-Madison team relies
on the triboelectric effect, which creates a charge,
most commonly seen as static electricity, through the
friction of two materials rubbing against one another.
It’s that time again! On the U in Munich, Germany
on the way to #electronica2016. @ecnonline #ECN