Engineering

Why Tactile Intelligence Is the Future of Robotic Grasping 

This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

The simple task of picking something up is not as easy as it seems. Not for a robot, at least. Roboticists aim to develop a robot that can pick up anything—but today most robots perform “blind grasping,” where they’re dedicated to picking up an object from the same location every time. If anything changes, such as the shape, texture, or location of the object, the robot won’t know how to respond, and the grasp attempt will most likely fail.

Robots are still a long way off from being able to grasp any object perfectly on their first attempt. Why do grasping tasks pose such a difficult problem? Well, when people try to grasp something they use a combination of senses, the primary ones being visual and tactile. But so far, most attempts at solving the grasping problem have focused on using vision alone.

IEEE Spectrum

Students 'intern’ as engineers

Today’s teachers face a persistent obstacle: assessing whether students are actually making progress in learning and engaging with science and engineering practices. One NSF-funded project is working to address challenge that by breaking away from traditional models, giving students hands-on experience with science and engineering.

The Digital Internship Modules for Engineering (DIMEs) program will give 1,500 middle school students the opportunity to act as engineering interns with “Futura Engineering,” a fictional company. By providing them with specific projects to complete, from performing research to proposing solutions, the program helps students understand engineering concepts in a real-world context.

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Here’s a problem showing how to work with mutual inductance in a circuit. The inductors in the circuit above are magnetically coupled together. We’d like to know the current in each loop of the circuit.

The same techniques we learned to analyze circuits before still apply. We’ll write loop equations for this circuit, but this time we’ll have to include the mutual inductance term for each of the inductors. Note that since both currents enter their respective inductors on the side with the dot, the mutual inductance term will be positive.

Once we have these equations, the rest is tedious, but straightforward. We just have to solve the system of equations to get I1 and I2. Adding them together and rearranging them a little, you can get I1 in terms of I2.

I convert back and forth a couple of times here between polar and rectangular notation. Rectangular notation is easier to do addition and subtraction with, and polar is easier to do division and multiplication with. Substituting this into one of our original equations and doing some algebra, I get a value for I2 of about -0.40 < -1.9 degrees.

Plugging this back in, I wind up with a value for I1 of about 4.02 < -50.25 degrees.

Cheer Up Post #4070 - Assistive Technology Edition

francaise-de-coeur would like a post featuring awesome assistive technologies/devices. Enjoy!

***Disclaimer: Most of the images used do not belong to me. If you see one that’s yours, and you would like credit or to have it removed/replaced, please just ask.

Want your own Cheer Up Post? Find out how. Or see the others.

This is what humans would have to look like in order to survive a car crash. The Australian government teamed up with a sculptor, trauma surgeon, and engineer for a road safety campaign and created ‘Graham,’ who has no neck, knees that bend in all directions, and extra fat to protect the ears, nose, head, and ribs from fatal injury. Source

Major types of Engines

Straight In-line

This is the type of engine that you find in your quotidian car. Nothing fancy, just all pistons arranged parallel along the vertical direction.


V in-line

Now, this is the sort of the engine that you find on sports cars like the Ferrari. When you hear sports enthusiasts go ‘ Whoa, that’s a V-12! ‘ - it just means that the engine has a V-type arrangement with 12 cylinders.


V +  Inline = V-inline

Commonly referred to as the VR engine.

The name VR6 comes from a combination of V engine (German: V-Motor), and the German word “Reihenmotor” (meaning “inline engine” or “straight engine”)

Volkswagen’s VR6 engines, and the later VR5 variants, are a family of internal combustion engines, characterized by a narrow-angle (10.5° or 15°) V engine configuration.


                    a: straight engine, b: V engine, c: VR engine


W engine

A W engine is a type of reciprocating engine ( again created by Volkswagen) arranged with its cylinders in a configuration in which the cylinder banks resemble the letter W, in the same way those of a V engine resemble the letter V.


Bugatti Veyron’s W16 engine

A W16 engine is used on the Bugatti Veyron. That’s 16 cylinders!



Flat Engine

Flat engines offer several advantages for motorcycles, namely: a low centre of gravity, smoothness, suitability for shaft drive, and (if air-cooled) excellent cooling of the cylinders. You can find them on aircrafts as well


Radial Engine (aka the dancing starfish)

They were used mostly in small aircraft for the propeller

The big advantage of radials was their large frontal area, which meant they could be air cooled, meaning less maintenance, failures, and of course a lower cost of initial purchase and maintenance.


Wankel Engine

This engine has only 3 moving parts and can make a lot of power.However, they are pretty inefficient, the last car to use this was a Mazda RX-8.


Axial Engine

The axial engine is a very interesting design. But they are not widely used because they are just hard to make and running these things at high RPM’s  is a challenge.

Duke engines are equipped with this type.


Jet engine

Commonly jet engines refer to the engines that are found on, well Jets!

Suck,squeeze,bang and blow

Air is sucked in through the front and  squeezed. A controlled explosion follows and the exhaust is blown out through the back

But, Jet engines also include the engines that are found on rockets, hybrids and water-jets. And their mode of operation is different than the one mentioned above.

Pretty cool eh?

Have a great day!



PC: Howstuffworks, Duke, MichaelFrey, Azure.km

** There is also the Stirling Engine. It’s amazing and a topic for an another post. But if you are interested do check out more about it here.


EDIT :  Had forgotten about the VR and the W-engines. My bad! Thanks for pointing it out.:D.

EDIT2: The suck squeeze bang and blow illustration was incorrect. Ergo, changed that.

Giveaway and Satellite Crowd Funder!

Giveaway/raffle, WIN a FREE telescope! We will select one winner and give away a Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope: And help support our effort launch a satellite!

To enter the UGA Small Satellite Research Lab’s giveaway all you have to do is:

  • Reblog this post (so we can get your name)
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Help Our Crowdfunded to build a spacecraft! Help us build a spacecraft!

We’re Crowdfunding a satellite! Donate at SmallSat.uga.edu/donate!

We’ll be sending a Satellite to the international Space Station in 2018! We just need help building the ground station!

The Donation Rewards:

If you have donated larger amount you will also get all the benefits of the lesser amounts! Be sure when you visit smallsat.uga.edu/donate that you include your information so that we can get in contact with you!

  • $5 - You will entered in the telescope raffle 2 more times and will receive a signed thank you card in the mail from the lab!
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  • $25 - You will receive a mission patch of your choosing (our NASA patch has yet to be designed but the MOCI patch is below)
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  • Remember, you get ALL of the benefits of lower donations if you donate a higher one!

Please Help Us Out! We are partnered with NASA and will be sending a satellite to the International Space Station in 2018, but we do not have the money to build a ground station yet!

We have 2 3U cube satellites! The image below is the patch for our Mapping and Ocean Color Imager (MOCI). We are also building the SPectroscopic Observatory of Coastal regions (SPOC), is this is the satellite that will be launched to the International Space Station!

Donate At: SmallSat.uga.edu/donate!

The Crowdfunded and raffle end on July 31, 2016, after that it will take us 20-30 days to send out all the rewards! Donate at smallsat.uga.edu/donate! Feel free to message us or ask us any space questions you may have!

Donate At: SmallSat.uga.edu/donate!

One of the renderings of our satellite: