The weekly best of E&T: 3D printer in space, remote control of rats and the parcelcopter

Friday September 26 2014

James HayesJames Hayes, technology features editor
Computer modelling to cut carbon footprint of air travel

Computer modelling and simulation is transforming aerospace development by enabling designers and engineers to ‘build’ software-based prototypes that can be tested against highly accurate ranges of variables – such as operational pressures and tensions, and new kinds of materials and payloads. Aircraft encounter continually-changing environmental stresses during the course of a flight, and the fine-tuning of these can help determine potential ways of improving fuel efficiency – see also  ‘Green skies ahead: charting a course to sustainable aviation’

Dickon RossDickon Ross, editor in chief
First 3D printer and 20 mice launched to space

Now here’s a really useful place to put a 3D printer…

ARM unveils new Internet of Things chip

Hardware is only a part of the Internet of Things jigsaw puzzle but it is an important part.

Hospital deaths fall with use of new software

Smart charts have already cut death rates in hospital wards, says this study.

Tereza PultarovaTereza Pultarova – online news reporter
India conquers Mars with maiden spacecraft triumph

If there were any astronomers on Mars, they would have been perplexed by the sudden invasion of strange winged, metallic, box-like objects to their planet. They would have gotten used to odd things being dumped on their heads every now and then in the past decades but two in just one week? That’s certainly a bad omen. Is it the Martian apocalypse looming?

DHL launches Europe’s first UAV parcel delivery

The postman always rings twice but what about the parcelcopter? In fact, it’s about high time for the delivery companies to update their procedures as our wheelchair-bound neighbour would testify after a delivery guy dumped his parcel at our second-floor apartment. (We didn’t know the neighbour and were quite surprised that no one came to pick up the parcel for nearly two weeks).

Edd GentEdd Gent, online news reporter

Remote-control rats developed to study spinal injury rehab

While the fact that the researchers had to deliberately paralyse the rats in question, raises certain ethical questions, the ability to remotely control a complicated process like walking could have huge implications for medical rehabilitation technology.

dominic-lentonDominic Lenton, managing editor
New testing site to improve building materials of the future

Surprising to learn that innovative building materials like hemp are usually tested in a laboratory. This ‘plug and play’ facility will let construction companies see how new designs stand up to real weather conditions (in Swindon, at least).

FTSE 100 social star Burberry trials Twitter’s Buy button

A new hazard for anyone who’s received an unexpected and unwanted parcel in the wake of a late-night eBay session, perhaps after a drink or two. Twitter users will be able to purchase fashion and luxury goods from British label Burberry straight from the retailer’s timeline at the click of a ‘Buy’ button. The company says it’s a way of “taking the conversations that are already happening between brands, retailers and consumers and turning them into transactional relationships.”

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