Mechatronics Zone Blog

Magnetic System Transforms Heat into Motion for Next-Gen Storage, Sensor Devices

By Elizabeth Montalbano | December 28, 2017

Researchers have developed a new material that turns heat into motion in nano-scale systems that has applications for future designs in data storage, medical devices, and sensors.

An international team of scientists including researchers from the universities of Exeter and Glasgow in the United Kingdom has developed a magnetic system that can extract thermal energy using a specific type of gear, known as a ratchet, which is made from a material known as artificial spin ice.

Demand for IoT Edge Processors Will Continue to Grow in 2018

By Charles Murray | December 27, 2017

Microcontrollers (MCUs) will get a fresh look in 2018, as chipmakers meet a growing need for “edge intelligence” on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Researchers Develop Test for Designing Faster-Charging Lithium-Ion Batteries

By Elizabeth Montalbano | December 27, 2017

While much battery research of late has focused on finding alternative chemistries for lithium-ion batteries, other research is focused on making improvements to the current standard for energy storage so these type of devices perform better.

Battery Market Goes Bigger and Better in 2018

By Kevin Clemens | December 26, 2017

Advances in battery technology, primarily through the application of lithium-ion battery chemistries, has made a mark in several distinct market segments, namely:

  • Portable electronics (cell phones and tablets)
  • Military and telecommunications
  • Medical technology
  • Electric and hybrid vehicles
  • Utility and renewable energy support


This table indicates the present demand and a dramatic increase forecasted for battery power (in gigawatt-hours, GWh) for the transportation, consumer electronic, and stationary segments.


Could Your Car Run on Beer? Researchers Show It Might Be Possible

By Elizabeth Montalbano | December 26, 2017

For many people, beer has been used as fuel for drunken adventures--or misadventures, as the case may be. However, scientists have found that this type of alcoholic beverage can be used for another type of fuel altogether—as an alternative to diesel or gasoline.

Cobots, Salaries, Bad Cars, and More: 12 Top Slideshows from 2017

By Design News Staff | December 25, 2017

2017Is it information on cobots you crave? Perhaps you’re looking for proof that the new car in your driveway was a good choice? Or maybe you simply want to know more about Steve Wozniak and other stellar engineers?  

Take a break and enjoy these popular 12 slideshows from Design News in 2017.


Cybersecurity Dangers Will Spike in 2018

By Rob Spiegel | December 22, 2017

In 2018, we’re likely to see hackers build on the success of brutal attacks such as WannaCry ransomware. On the defense side, companies are beginning to take a holistic approach to security. With corporate leadership increasingly backing efforts to bolster security protections, companies are committing to security as continuous improvement.

Energy Harvester Specifically for Nano-Devices Developed

By Elizabeth Montalbano | December 22, 2017

Researchers have developed one of the first nano-scale energy harvesters specifically designed to serve the needs of nano-scale technology such as sensors and medical devices.

The Digitized Plant Will Go Mainstream in 2018

By Rob Spiegel | December 21, 2017

When it comes to advanced technology such as internet connectivity, predictive maintenance, or big-data analytics, one often heard comment is, “This technology isn’t really new. Companies have been doing this for years.”

Much of that is true. But the companies that have been deploying smart manufacturing tools years have been the biggest manufacturers: GE, Boing, the Automakers. Smaller companies haven’t been able to afford it.

Micro-Scale Solar Cell Promises Power for Sensors in Energy-Starved Areas

By Elizabeth Montalbano | December 21, 2017

When people think of solar cells, they mostly imagine large panels placed in installations on hillsides or in fields. However, researchers have been building smaller and smaller solar cells to power individual devices, allowing for mobile, battery-free power from a renewable source of energy.