Engineers in China ‘print’ a bridge
From Popular Mechanics:
Behold, the world’s largest 3D-printed bridge. The Chinese creation spans 26.3 meters and has a width of 2.6 meters. Its design is a tribute to Chinese architectural history, referencing the historic Zhaozhou Bridge built in A.D. 605, the country’s oldest standing bridge.
While the ancient Zhaozhou span required a decade to build, Professor Xu Weiguo’s team at Tsinghua University needed only 450 hours of printing to finish all of their new bridge’s concrete components. That translates to a little under 19 days. In a press statement, Professor Xu’s team also says that the bridge’s cost came in at just two thirds the tally of an ordinary bridge, with savings coming from cutting down on materials and engineering.
The bridge consists of 44 individual 3D-printed concrete units, each of them approximately 3 by 3 by 5 feet. The sides, influenced by the Zhaozhou, were made with 68 individual concrete slabs moved into place by robot arms.
Embedded with a real-time monitoring system, the bridge will be able to detect vibrating wire stress and strain with high precision. The Tsinghua press release notes that “the demand for labor in construction projects will be increasingly in short supply” in the future. If China cannot find people to build bridges, “intelligent construction will be an important channel to solve this problem.”
Delivery robots set loose in Seattle
From CBC News:
Amazon is bringing delivery robots to the streets of a Seattle suburb. The online shopping giant says it started to test self-driving robots in Snohomish County, Wash., Wednesday that can bring Amazon packages to shoppers’ doorsteps.
The robots are light blue, about the size of a Labrador, have six wheels and the Amazon smile logo stamped on its side, according to Amazon photos and videos. Six of them will be roaming the sidewalks of a Snohomish County neighbourhood Monday through Friday during daylight hours.
They move roughly “at a walking pace,” according to a statement from the company. Amazon said a worker will accompany the robots at first, but it didn’t provide additional details of how the service would work.
How does football’s yellow first-down line work?
Sports broadcasts are wallpapered with gratuitous graphics. They’re moving, they’re shiny, they sound like Transformers. Take them or leave them, the experience of watching football doesn’t really change.
With one exception: The yellow first-down line. Since the late 1990s, the virtual yellow line has been quietly enhancing football broadcasts by giving viewers a live, intuitive guide to the state of play. The graphic is engineered to appear painted on the field, rather than simply plopped on top of the players, so it doesn’t distract from the game at all.
The line debuted during a September 27, 1998, game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals. It was developed by a company called Sportvision Inc. and operated by six people in a 48-foot semi-truck parked outside the stadium.
ESPN was the only network that immediately agreed to pay the steep price of $25,000 per game. Before long, other companies began offering the yellow line to the other networks, and now you won’t see a football game without it.
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