Fluid Dynamics Help Show Why Butterflies Flutter

On a hot summer day, Lund University biologists Christoffer Johansson and Per Henningsson waded through the grass and wildflowers of a meadow near the school’s field station in Sweden. They moved quietly and deliberately toward the brief flutter of a cantaloupe-colored insect, ready to collect it using a soft fabric net.

The capture of silver-washed fritillary butterflies is far more than just a summer hobby for Johansson and Henningsson. They use slow-motion cameras and high-speed flow measurements to determine what gives these butterflies their distinct flight pattern. …


Creative Solutions Provide Power Grid Resilience for Green Energy

To provide a smooth stream of electricity, solar and wind power require uninterrupted sunny and breezy conditions. In stillness and darkness, that smooth stream dries up. At the other extreme, on sunny, windy days, solar and wind farms might produce more power than needed.

Fossil fuels have one significant advantage over renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power: They don’t depend on the weather. But this advantage is waning thanks to advancements in energy storage. …


Bridgestone Corp. and Bridgestone Cycle Co. Hone Design Using Sensors, Modeling, and Simulation

The distinctive bikes for Olympic short-distance track cycling resemble blades. Each bicycle must be as strong, light, and efficient as possible while also adhering to international standards that include a minimum weight. Every one-thousandth of a second counts for athletes maneuvering around the bowl-shaped wooden 250-meter (820-foot) track at speeds over 70 kilometers per hour (43.5 miles per hour).

Japan’s national cycling team, Japan Cycling Federation (JCF), recognizes that even slight design modifications can lead to significant advantages for performance. …


California Vineyard Finds Driver-Optional Smart Vehicle Has Power to Spare

A new fully autonomous electric vehicle has rolled into view, but it’s not cruising along highways or navigating neighborhoods. You’ll find this vehicle out in the field, literally. This tractor is hard at work, helping farms go green as it brings artificial intelligence (AI)–powered smart technology to fields and vineyards.

The tractor that arrived at family-owned Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California, is a smart, connected, zero-emission vehicle with complete autonomy. Like a sheep-herding dog, the tractor follows commands and drives autonomously without hitting obstacles. Designed and built by Monarch Tractor, it uses machine learning and AI to analyze data from…


An Experiment on a Mars Rover Paves the Way for Human Visitors

For the NASA Perseverance rover, setting down on Mars after a dramatic descent involved a heat shield, a parachute, and a rocket-powered “sky crane” that lowered the rover on cables to the surface. One of the rover’s primary missions is to search for signs of previous life on the red planet. It also has a less-known mission: to test machinery that could support human life there.

A journey to Mars would require a lot of oxygen — some of it for the astronauts to breathe, but the majority as a liquid to burn fuel for the return trip. For a…


by Neha Goel

For today’s post Roberto Valenti would like to introduce you to MathWorks’ new Excellence in Innovation Program.

OK, so you are in your final years of school and you get a chance to pick your own project to work on! How cool, but where can you find an excellent idea or get some inspiration? We have a new program that can help you.

The MathWorks Excellence in Innovation program provides a GitHub list of inspiring projects based on industry trends for your capstone, senior design project, or final year assignment. These projects help you learn about technology…


Virtual Versions of Lab Equipment Recreate a Hands-On Experience

On March 16, 2020, Ayse Tekes, a professor of mechanical engineering at Kennesaw State University (KSU), knew her job was about to drastically change. Like nearly all academic institutions around the world, KSU had just announced its decision to go fully remote for the remainder of the spring semester and asked their students to return home until further notice.

COVID-19 disruptions have touched every part of the college experience. Classes and lectures moved online with relative ease. But labs are the place where engineering students connect the theory for the lectures to the reality of the physical world. …


by Jiro Doke

When importing data as a table, you can use detectImportOptions to customize how you bring in your data. You can choose to import specific columns, specify the data type of each column, specify how to treat missing values, and many more.

Import Explorer

Jan’s entry is a visual tool to help with this customization. It also lets you save the output for detectImportOptions so that you can programmatically reproduce the operation. See this in action.

Programmatic Approach

As a comparision, here’s how you would do it programmatically from scratch.

DelimitedTextImportOptions with properties: Format Properties: Delimiter: {‘,’} Whitespace: ‘\b\t ‘ LineEnding: {‘\n’…


by Cleve Moler

Nick Higham’s Numerical Linear Algebra group at the University of Manchester is hosting a conference celebrating Jack Dongarra’s 70th birthday July 7 and 8. I am giving a talk, virtually, on July 7. I plan to reminisce about how I did computing in the days before everybody had their own computer in their lap. Here are the slides for the talk, some notes, and some links to this blog for more details.

These computers that have been a vital part of my professional life.

Contents


by Lisa Harvey

What do you get when a psychology researcher and a visual artist collaborate? You get a visual illusion that boggles the brain, literally.

When you look at the “scintillating starburst” below, do you see it? Do you see shimmering rays emanating from the center? Well, your brain is tricking you. They aren’t there!

The “Scintillating Starburst.” (Image credit: Michael Karlovich/Recursia LLC)

According to CNET, “The “Scintillating Starburst” is a cleverly arranged collection of star polygons created by visual artist Michael Karlovich of Recursia Studios and New York University psychology researcher Pascal Wallisch.”

“The research illustrates how the brain ‘connects the dots’ to create a subjective…

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