The October 2015 Issue of Software Development Times Magazine has an article entitled "Drones: The Sky's The Limit" that talks about trends in software development for drones. One trend of note in the article is the emergence of Linux as the operating system of choice for drone hardware. According to the article, drone control systems are moving towards integration with Linux. The open source software community for drones is even gaining some formal structure. Dronecode is an open source UAV platform within the Linux Foundation.
Rock on Linux. Glad to see your being used on board drones!
The October 25, 2015 Issue of Bloomberg Businessweek has an article entitled “Mapping America's Disgusting Waterways”. The article described how Google is helping the non-profit Freshwater Trust map and photograph rivers in America. The non-profit is using Google Trekker to take the same type of imagery that is captured for roads in Google Streetview. Once the imagery is captured in the field, it is used in the office to assess river conditions. The craft that cares the Google Trekker also captures other sensor data inlcuding water tempature and the level of oxegon in the water.
This is an awesome example of how sensor platforms, remote sensing, and GIS are being solved to help analyze and solve real world problems. Very cool!
I've been fascinated with 3D printing technology for a long time. I've very excited about its potential to democratize manufacturing. I'm also intrigued by how it is changing the relationship between the designer and manfufacturer, often combining the two (2) roles. The August 22, 2015 Issue of the Economist Magazine has an article entitled “What Goes Around Comes Around” that talks about advances in 3D printing that allow glass structures to be made with the additive process.
The process of printing with glass filaments is being explored by a team of researchers at MIT. The team had to modify the typical 3D printing process to overcome the challenges of printing glass. (This includes fragility on the printed structure that results from uneven cooling of the glass.) There improvements included:
Using a heated ceramic nozzle for priting. This helps control the flow of the glass.
Keeping the object in a high-temperature heating chamber so the entire structure is cooled at one time when removed from the chamber to room temperature.
Future improvements to the process might include:
Automating the process of heating and cooling the ceramic nozzle. (In the current process this is done manually with a blower and propane tourch.
Adding a plunger to control the speed at which the glass filament is extruded during printing.
This process has the ability to print special glassware with complex surface features. It sounds like a cool innovation. I look forward to seeing this process improve and be applied to the manufacturing process.
The October 2015 Issue of Wired Magazine has a short article about Thumb Sats. These are 16 inch long microsatellites that can carry small experiments into space for low cost. The Thumb Sats piggy back on launches of bigger payloads. There data is received by a global network of stations monitored by volunteers, including a Boy Scout Troop in Wisonsin. The satellites, (which are equiped with onboard GPS) stay aloft for 2 months afer launch, before they burn up in Earth's atmosphere.