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Mechanical Engineering. 2018;140(08):30-35. doi:10.1115/1.2018-AUG-1.

Robots have emerged as a force in infrastructure inspection. That is especially true in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries, which are not an obvious test bed for new technology. Because their assets range into the billions of dollars, their managers are very cautious about entrusting their facilities to any new technology. Yet even something as simple as inspecting storage tanks for corrosion and leaks shows why robots are increasingly popular. This article delves into the current status and future outlook for robotic inspection efficiency.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2018;140(08):36-41. doi:10.1115/1.2018-AUG-2.

Robots have been helping people for decades by doing tasks that are too hard, too dangerous, or physically impossible for humans to carry out themselves. But so far, the biggest successes for human-robot collaborations—such as those in manufacturing and automotive industries—still require the two to be separated for safety reasons. This article delves into how roboticists are working to upgrade this paradigm and make it possible for humans and robots to work together side by side, each excelling at what they do best and helping the other with their pitfalls.

Topics: Robots
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2018;140(08):42-45. doi:10.1115/1.2018-AUG-3.

Almost every form of energy conversion creates heat, making it one of the most prevalent forms of energy. When used for mechanical work, thermal energy is most efficient when it can be moved, stored, and converted at its highest possible temperature. But most of today’s pumps and compressors are made from superalloys and ceramics and can’t handle that extreme heat. A team from Georgia Tech has developed a ceramic pump they and others expect to spur a new generation of highly efficient, low-cost systems for storing, transporting, and converting surplus thermal energy produced by renewables like solar and wind.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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