Week Ending Dec 1, 2017

Martian City: MIT Team Wins Design Contest For Future Mars Colony
Tech Times – 11/26/17
The Mars City Design contest is an international competition with the mission of creating a blueprint for creating sustainable Martian cities. This year, the winning design came from MIT researchers whose nature-inspired design can provide shelter for 10,000 members of a colony. The design, called Redwood Forest, looks pretty simple at first glance, with a number of dome structures on the surface of Mars. However, the city mimics a forest in both structure and function as each dome is actually a tree habitat with structural branches and underground “roots” that serve a number of purposes for its residents. “Designing a forest also symbolizes the potential for outward growth as nature spreads across the Martian landscape,” said Valentina Sumini, who led MIT’s winning interdisciplinary team.

Van Alen Institute launches Miami ‘Sea-Level Rise Challenge’
Curbed Miami – 11/28/17
The Van Alen Institute recently launched an $850,000 design initiative seeking innovative solutions to protect Miami and surrounding South Florida from the consequences of sea level rise. Keeping Current: A Sea-Level Rise Challenge for Miami has support from The Rockefeller Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and The Miami Foundation. Sponsored by Target, the program invites “interdisciplinary design teams to propose implementable and replicable solutions for three sea-level rise challenges that also address regional issues of economy, ecology and equity,” per the press release.

New microscope sets a record for visualizing surface wetting properties
Science Daily – 11/27/17
Wetting is an everyday phenomenon that represents how well liquid spreads on a surface. When water comes into contact with an extremely water-repellent, or ‘superhydrophobic’ surface, droplets bead up and roll off easily. An interdisciplinary team of Aalto University researchers have developed a measurement technique called Scanning Droplet Adhesion Microscopy (SDAM) to understand and characterize the wetting properties of superhydrophobic materials. SDAM is extremely sensitive and 1000 times more precise than the current state-of-the-art wetting characterization methods. It creates a “wetting map,” a new concept for hydrophobic surface characterization which opens a window for investigating structure-property relationships in surface wetting.

$2m funding to research human & robot coworking
ComputerWorld – 11/27/17
The Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge Board has provided $2m in funding for a two-year interdisciplinary research programme to examine how next-generation robots can work with humans in a safe and flexible manner.  Researchers will focus on developing robots to work in small-scale manufacturing and unforgiving outdoor environments. The board said such technology could become a global specialty of New Zealand robotics businesses, with great export opportunities and long-term solutions for the country’s economic needs. Robotics experts from Lincoln Agritech and Scion along with researchers and PhD students from the universities of Auckland, Canterbury, Massey, Otago, Victoria and Waikato will take part in the programme.

Archaeology unearthing the past using modern technology
Digital Journal – 11/26/17
Today’s archaeologist is a lot different than the swashbuckling, whip-snapping Indiana Jones, indelibly imprinted in our minds. “Archaeology has always been very interdisciplinary,” says Heather Richards-Rissetto, an archaeologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln told NBC’s MACH. “But I think now there’s a lot more collaboration between science and engineering than before, and archaeologists are a part of that, helping to develop the technologies to study the past.” Today, in Jamaica, New Hampshire and other sites around the world, archaeologists are relying on drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras and mapping instruments, satellite imagery, 3D and geochemical analysis and even remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to tell our story.