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Space Elevator Fundamentals

A space elevator is a long thin cable, anchored on the Earth end and held in place on the space end by a counterweight of ballast. The central balance point of the cable is located at a geo-synchronous orbit level, keeping the cable steady over the anchor point. The weight of the cable (and ballast) […]

Climbing a Cable to Space

A space elevator is a long thin cable, anchored on the Earth end and held in place on the space end by a counterweight of ballast. The central balance point of the cable is located at a geo-synchronous orbit level, keeping the cable steady over the anchor point. The weight of the cable (and ballast) […]

Embedded Optical Sensors

The story linked below is about using optical sensors to improve touch feedback in robots. But a greater significance to this story is that we have the ability to embed stretchable optical sensors for a range of applications. While the sensors in this story are actually tactile sensors designed to provide touch sensitivity, they use […]

Photonic Crystal Fibers

Photonic crystal fibers (PCFs) are microstructured optical fibers that use tiny air hole capillaries arranged in a pattern around the center of the fiber. This makes the light propagation far superior to conventional fibers, requiring fewer repeaters and less amplification over long distances. PCFs are also capable of handling high energy lasers efficiently. What is […]

Skin Suit

In the future, we will wear a basic clothing under suit that could be considered as super skin. It will be made from a variety of layers of composite materials: Nanofoams – hybrids of ceramic, metal, and polymer nanofoams will offer layers of light insulation, armor, and conduction of both liquids and electric current in […]

New Composites Formed Using Magnetic Particles

Composites are made by combining two different materials with different properties: Concrete – concrete by itself is a composite of cement and crushed rock, which has a high strength against compression or crushing (like rock) but can be poured like a liquid into forms to create specific shapes before it hardens. Concrete does not have […]

Singing Optical Sensor Fibers

MIT researchers are creating fibers that can interact with their environment to provide sensory input and output, with sound and light and more. This research may enable a wide range of biomedical ensors that can be placed inside the body to collect information and possible interact with it. The researchers also expect the fibers will […]

Titanium Silk

Titanium and other metal oxides can be infused into the protein structure of spider silk fiber to create a new hybrid class of material with greatly increased strength. Spider silk in natural form is both stronger and lighter than steel. The new hybrid is both stronger and more elastic. By adapting a technique known as […]