Functional crystals are the basic materials for the development of modern science and technology and are playing key roles in the modern information era. In this paper, we review functional crystals in China, including research history, significant achievements, and important applications by highlighting the most recent progress in research. Challenges for the development of functional materials are discussed and possible directions for development are proposed by focusing on potential strengths of these materials.
Systems for ambient assisted living (AAL) that integrate service robots with sensor networks and user monitoring can help elderly people with their daily activities, allowing them to stay in their homes and live active lives for as long as possible. In this paper, we outline the AAL system currently developed in the European project Robot-Era, and describe the engineering aspects and the service-oriented software architecture of the domestic robot, a service robot with advanced manipulation capabilities. Based on the robot operating system (ROS) middleware, our software integrates a large set of advanced algorithms for navigation, perception, and manipulation. In tests with real end users, the performance and acceptability of the platform are evaluated.
Energy production based on fossil fuel reserves is largely responsible for carbon emissions, and hence global warming. The planet needs concerted action to reduce fossil fuel usage and to implement carbon mitigation measures. Ocean energy has huge potential, but there are major interdisciplinary problems to be overcome regarding technology, cost reduction, investment, environmental impact, governance, and so forth. This article briefly reviews ocean energy production from offshore wind, tidal stream, ocean current, tidal range, wave, thermal, salinity gradients, and biomass sources. Future areas of research and development are outlined that could make exploitation of the marine renewable energy (MRE) seascape a viable proposition; these areas include energy storage, advanced materials, robotics, and informatics. The article concludes with a sustainability perspective on the MRE seascape encompassing ethics, legislation, the regulatory environment, governance and consenting, economic, social, and environmental constraints. A new generation of engineers is needed with the ingenuity and spirit of adventure to meet the global challenge posed by MRE.
The issues of reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere, sustainably utilizing natural mineral resources, and dealing with industrial waste offer challenging opportunities for sustainable development in energy and the environment. The latest advances in CO2 mineralization technology involving natural minerals and industrial waste are summarized in this paper, with great emphasis on the advancement of fundamental science, economic evaluation, and engineering applications. We discuss several leading large-scale CO2 mineralization methodologies from a technical and engineering-science perspective. For each technology option, we give an overview of the technical parameters, reaction pathway, reactivity, procedural scheme, and laboratorial and pilot devices. Furthermore, we present a discussion of each technology based on experimental results and the literature. Finally, current gaps in knowledge are identified in the conclusion, and an overview of the challenges and opportunities for future research in this field is provided.
Cutting-edge technologies in optical molecular imaging have ushered in new frontiers in cancer research, clinical translation, and medical practice, as evidenced by recent advances in optical multimodality imaging, Cerenkov luminescence imaging (CLI), and optical image-guided surgeries. New abilities allow in vivo cancer imaging with sensitivity and accuracy that are unprecedented in conventional imaging approaches. The visualization of cellular and molecular behaviors and events within tumors in living subjects is improving our deeper understanding of tumors at a systems level. These advances are being rapidly used to acquire tumor-to-tumor molecular heterogeneity, both dynamically and quantitatively, as well as to achieve more effective therapeutic interventions with the assistance of real-time imaging. In the era of molecular imaging, optical technologies hold great promise to facilitate the development of highly sensitive cancer diagnoses as well as personalized patient treatment—one of the ultimate goals of precision medicine.
In 2005, the US passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandating the construction and operation of a high-temperature gas reactor (HTGR) by 2021. This law was passed after a multiyear study by national experts on what future nuclear technologies should be developed. As a result of the Act, the US Congress chose to develop the so-called Next-Generation Nuclear Plant, which was to be an HTGR designed to produce process heat for hydrogen production. Despite high hopes and expectations, the current status is that high temperature reactors have been relegated to completing research programs on advanced fuels, graphite and materials with no plans to build a demonstration plant as required by the US Congress in 2005. There are many reasons behind this diminution of HTGR development, including but not limited to insufficient government funding requirements for research, unrealistically high temperature requirements for the reactor, the delay in the need for a “hydrogen” economy, competition from light water small modular light water reactors, little utility interest in new technologies, very low natural gas prices in the US, and a challenging licensing process in the US for non-water reactors.
A growing number of?three-dimensional (3D)-print-ing processes have been applied to tissue engineering. This paper presents a state-of-the-art study of 3D-printing technologies?for tissue-engineering applications, with particular focus on the development of a computer-aided scaffold design system; the direct 3D printing of functionally graded scaffolds; the modeling of selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) processes; the indirect additive manufacturing of scaffolds, with both micro and macro features; the development of a bioreactor; and 3D/4D bioprinting. Technological limitations will be discussed so as to highlight the possibility of future improvements for new 3D-printing methodologies for tissue engineering.
With the popularization of the Internet, permeation of sensor networks, emergence of big data, increase in size of the information community, and interlinking and fusion of data and information throughout human society, physical space, and cyberspace, the information environment related to the current development of artificial intelligence (AI) has profoundly changed. AI faces important adjustments, and scientific foundations are confronted with new breakthroughs, as AI enters a new stage: AI 2.0. This paper briefly reviews the 60-year developmental history of AI, analyzes the external environment promoting the formation of AI 2.0 along with changes in goals, and describes both the beginning of the technology and the core idea behind AI 2.0 development. Furthermore, based on combined social demands and the information environment that exists in relation to Chinese development, suggestions on the development of AI 2.0 are given.
Materials-development projects for advanced ultra-supercritical (A-USC) power plants with steam temperatures of 700 °C and above have been performed in order to achieve high efficiency and low CO2 emissions in Europe, the US, Japan, and recently in China and India as well. These projects involve the replacement of martensitic 9%−12% Cr steels with nickel (Ni)-base alloys for the highest temperature boiler and turbine components in order to provide sufficient creep strength at 700°C and above. To minimize the requirement for expensive Ni-base alloys, martensitic 9%−12% Cr steels can be applied to the next highest temperature components of an A-USC power plant, up to a maximum of 650°C. This paper comprehensively describes the research and development of Ni-base alloys and martensitic 9%−12% Cr steels for thick section boiler and turbine components of A-USC power plants, mainly focusing on the long-term creep-rupture strength of base metal and welded joints, strength loss in welded joints, creep-fatigue properties, and microstructure evolution during exposure at elevated temperatures.
Additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology have been developing rapidly in the last 30 years, and indicate great potential for future development. The promising future of this technology makes its impact on traditional industry unpredictable. 3D printing will propel the revolution of fabrication modes forward, and bring in a new era for customized fabrication by realizing the five “any”s: use of almost any material to fabricate any part, in any quantity and any location, for any industrial field. Innovations in material, design, and fabrication processes will be inspired by the merging of 3D-printing technology and processes with traditional manufacturing processes. Finally, 3D printing will become as valuable for manufacturing industries as equivalent and subtractive manufacturing processes.
In this paper, a novel flexible robot system with a constrained tendon-driven serpentine manipulator (CTSM) is presented. The CTSM gives the robot a larger workspace, more dexterous manipulation, and controllable stiffness compared with the da Vinci surgical robot and traditional flexible robots. The robot is tele-operated using the Novint Falcon haptic device. Two control modes are implemented, direct mapping and incremental mode. In each mode, the robot can be manipulated using either the highest stiffness scheme or the minimal movement scheme. The advantages of the CTSM are shown by simulation and experimental results.
Metamaterials are composite materials whose material properties (acoustic, electrical, magnetic, or optical, etc.) are determined by their constitutive structural materials, especially the unit cells. The development of metamaterials continues to redefine the boundaries of materials science. In the field of electromagnetic research and beyond, these materials offer excellent design flexibility with their customized properties and their tunability under external stimuli. In this paper, we first provide a literature review of metamaterials with a focus on the technology and its evolution. We then discuss steps in the industrialization process and share our own experience.
This article focuses on the potential impact of big data analysis to improve health, prevent and detect disease at an earlier stage, and personalize interventions. The role that big data analytics may have in interrogating the patient electronic health record toward improved clinical decision support is discussed. We examine developments in pharmacogenetics that have increased our appreciation of the reasons why patients respond differently to chemotherapy. We also assess the expansion of online health communications and the way in which this data may be capitalized on in order to detect public health threats and control or contain epidemics. Finally, we describe how a new generation of wearable and implantable body sensors may improve wellbeing, streamline management of chronic diseases, and improve the quality of surgical implants.
Building cyber-physical system (CPS) models of machine tools is a key technology for intelligent manufacturing. The massive electronic data from a computer numerical control (CNC) system during the work processes of a CNC machine tool is the main source of the big data on which a CPS model is established. In this work-process model, a method based on instruction domain is applied to analyze the electronic big data, and a quantitative description of the numerical control (NC) processes is built according to the G code of the processes. Utilizing the instruction domain, a work-process CPS model is established on the basis of the accurate, real-time mapping of the manufacturing tasks, resources, and status of the CNC machine tool. Using such models, case studies are conducted on intelligent-machining applications, such as the optimization of NC processing parameters and the health assurance of CNC machine tools.
Magnetic helical micro- and nanorobots can perform 3D navigation in various liquids with a sub-micrometer precision under low-strength rotating magnetic fields (<10 mT). Since magnetic fields with low strengths are harmless to cells and tissues, magnetic helical micro/nanorobots are promising tools for biomedical applications, such as minimally invasive surgery, cell manipulation and analysis, and targeted therapy. This review provides general information on magnetic helical micro/nanorobots, including their fabrication, motion control, and further functionalization for biomedical applications.
This paper summarizes the development of hydro-projects in China, blended with an international perspective. It expounds major technical progress toward ensuring the safe construction of high dams and river harnessing, and covers the theorization of uneven non-equilibrium sediment transport, inter-basin water diversion, giant hydro-generator units, pumped storage power stations, underground caverns, ecological protection, and so on.
In order to build a ceramic component by inkjet printing, the object must be fabricated through the interaction and solidification of drops, typically in the range of 10−100 pL. In order to achieve this goal, stable ceramic inks must be developed. These inks should satisfy specific rheological conditions that can be illustrated within a parameter space defined by the Reynolds and Weber numbers. Printed drops initially deform on impact with a surface by dynamic dissipative processes, but then spread to an equilibrium shape defined by capillarity. We can identify the processes by which these drops interact to form linear features during printing, but there is a poorer level of understanding as to how 2D and 3D structures form. The stability of 2D sheets of ink appears to be possible over a more limited range of process conditions that is seen with the formation of lines. In most cases, the ink solidifies through evaporation and there is a need to control the drying process to eliminate the: “coffee ring” defect. Despite these uncertainties, there have been a large number of reports on the successful use of inkjet printing for the manufacture of small ceramic components from a number of different ceramics. This technique offers good prospects as a future manufacturing technique. This review identifies potential areas for future research to improve our understanding of this manufacturing method.
The most promising strategies in tissue engineering involve the integration of a triad of biomaterials, living cells, and biologically active molecules to engineer synthetic environments that closely mimic the healing milieu present in human tissues, and that stimulate tissue repair and regeneration. To be clinically effective, these environments must replicate, as closely as possible, the main characteristics of the native extracellular matrix (ECM) on a cellular and subcellular scale. Photo-fabrication techniques have already been used to generate 3D environments with precise architectures and heterogeneous composition, through a multi-layer procedure involving the selective photocrosslinking reaction of a light-sensitive prepolymer. Cells and therapeutic molecules can be included in the initial hydrogel precursor solution, and processed into 3D constructs. Recently, photo-fabrication has also been explored to dynamically modulate hydrogel features in real time, providing enhanced control of cell fate and delivery of bioactive compounds. This paper focuses on the use of 3D photo-fabrication techniques to produce advanced constructs for tissue regeneration and drug delivery applications. State-of-the-art photo-fabrication techniques are described, with emphasis on the operating principles and biofabrication strategies to create spatially controlled patterns of cells and bioactive factors. Considering its fast processing, spatiotemporal control, high resolution, and accuracy, photo-fabrication is assuming a critical role in the design of sophisticated 3D constructs. This technology is capable of providing appropriate environments for tissue regeneration, and regulating the spatiotemporal delivery of therapeutics.
A future smart grid must fulfill the vision of the Energy Internet in which millions of people produce their own energy from renewables in their homes, offices, and factories and share it with each other. Electric vehicles and local energy storage will be widely deployed. Internet technology will be utilized to transform the power grid into an energy-sharing inter-grid. To prepare for the future, a smart grid with intelligent periphery, or smart GRIP, is proposed. The building blocks of GRIP architecture are called clusters and include an energy-management system (EMS)-controlled transmission grid in the core and distribution grids, micro-grids, and smart buildings and homes on the periphery; all of which are hierarchically structured. The layered architecture of GRIP allows a seamless transition from the present to the future and plug-and-play interoperability. The basic functions of a cluster consist of ① dispatch, ② smoothing, and ③ mitigation. A risk-limiting dispatch methodology is presented; a new device, called the electric spring, is developed for smoothing out fluctuations in periphery clusters; and means to mitigate failures are discussed.
In this paper, we review the current state-of-the-art techniques used for understanding the inner workings of the brain at a systems level. The neural activity that governs our everyday lives involves an intricate coordination of many processes that can be attributed to a variety of brain regions. On the surface, many of these functions can appear to be controlled by specific anatomical structures; however, in reality, numerous dynamic networks within the brain contribute to its function through an interconnected web of neuronal and synaptic pathways. The brain, in its healthy or pathological state, can therefore be best understood by taking a systems-level approach. While numerous neuroengineering technologies exist, we focus here on three major thrusts in the field of systems neuroengineering: neuroimaging, neural interfacing, and neuromodulation. Neuroimaging enables us to delineate the structural and functional organization of the brain, which is key in understanding how the neural system functions in both normal and disease states. Based on such knowledge, devices can be used either to communicate with the neural system, as in neural interface systems, or to modulate brain activity, as in neuromodulation systems. The consideration of these three fields is key to the development and application of neuro-devices. Feedback-based neuro-devices require the ability to sense neural activity (via a neuroimaging modality) through a neural interface (invasive or noninvasive) and ultimately to select a set of stimulation parameters in order to alter neural function via a neuromodulation modality. Systems neuroengineering refers to the use of engineering tools and technologies to image, decode, and modulate the brain in order to comprehend its functions and to repair its dysfunction. Interactions between these fields will help to shape the future of systems neuroengineering—to develop neurotechniques for enhancing the understanding of whole-brain function and dysfunction, and the management of neurological and mental disorders.
This paper reviews the development of current research in bulk glassy alloys by focusing on the trigger point for the synthesis of the first bulk glassy alloys by the conventional mold casting method. This review covers the background, discovery, characteristics, and applications of bulk glassy alloys, as well as recent topics regarding them. Applications of bulk glassy alloys have been expanding, particularly for Fe-based bulk glassy alloys, due to their unique properties, high glass-forming ability, and low cost. In the near future, the engineering importance of bulk glassy alloys is expected to increase steadily, and continuous interest in these novel metallic materials for basic science research is anticipated.
This paper emphasizes some of the challenges and trends associated with the future development of marine structures. Its main focus is on ways to improve the efficiency of energy-consuming ships, and on design challenges related to energy-producing offshore structures. This paper also discusses the analysis tools that are most needed to enable sustainable designs for future ships and offshore structures. The last section of the paper contains thoughts on the role of universities in education, research, and innovation regarding marine structures. It discusses curriculum requirements for maritime-technology education, basic research activities, and international cooperation.
Oxyfuel combustion with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a carbon-reduction technology for use in large-scale coal-fired power plants. Significant progress has been achieved in the research and development of this technology during its scaling up from 0.4 MWth to 3 MWth and 35 MWth by the combined efforts of universities and industries in China. A prefeasibility study on a 200 MWe large-scale demonstration has progressed well, and is ready for implementation. The overall research development and demonstration (RD&D) roadmap for oxyfuel combustion in China has become a critical component of the global RD&D roadmap for oxyfuel combustion. An air combustion/oxyfuel combustion compatible design philosophy was developed during the RD&D process. In this paper, we briefly address fundamental research and technology innovation efforts regarding several technical challenges, including combustion stability, heat transfer, system operation, mineral impurities, and corrosion. To further reduce the cost of carbon capture, in addition to the large-scale deployment of oxyfuel technology, increasing interest is anticipated in the novel and next-generation oxyfuel combustion technologies that are briefly introduced here, including a new oxygen-production concept and flameless oxyfuel combustion.
The configuration space is a fundamental concept that is widely used in algorithmic robotics. Many applications in robotics, computer-aided design, and related areas can be reduced to computational problems in terms of configuration spaces. In this paper, we survey some of our recent work on solving two important challenges related to configuration spaces: ① how to efficiently compute an approximate representation of high-dimensional configuration spaces; and ② how to efficiently perform geometric proximity and motion planning queries in high-dimensional configuration spaces. We present new configuration space construction algorithms based on machine learning and geometric approximation techniques. These algorithms perform collision queries on many configuration samples. The collision query results are used to compute an approximate representation for the configuration space, which quickly converges to the exact configuration space. We also present parallel GPU-based algorithms to accelerate the performance of optimization and search computations in configuration spaces. In particular, we design efficient GPU-based parallel k-nearest neighbor and parallel collision detection algorithms and use these algorithms to accelerate motion planning.
Cellular spheroids serving as three-dimensional (3D) in vitro tissue models have attracted increasing interest for pathological study and drug-screening applications. Various methods, including microwells in particular, have been developed for engineering cellular spheroids. However, these methods usually suffer from either destructive molding operations or cell loss and non-uniform cell distribution among the wells due to two-step molding and cell seeding. We have developed a facile method that utilizes cell-embedded hydrogel arrays as templates for concave well fabrication and in situ MCF-7 cellular spheroid formation on a chip. A custom-built bioprinting system was applied for the fabrication of sacrificial gelatin arrays and sequentially concave wells in a high-throughput, flexible, and controlled manner. The ability to achieve in situ cell seeding for cellular spheroid construction was demonstrated with the advantage of uniform cell seeding and the potential for programmed fabrication of tissue models on chips. The developed method holds great potential for applications in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and drug screening.
The research roots of 19fluorine (19F) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) date back over 35 years. Over that time span, 1H imaging flourished and was adopted worldwide with an endless array of applications and imaging approaches, making magnetic resonance an indispensable pillar of biomedical diagnostic imaging. For many years during this timeframe, 19F imaging research continued at a slow pace as the various attributes of the technique were explored. However, over the last decade and particularly the last several years, the pace and clinical relevance of 19F imaging has exploded. In part, this is due to advances in MRI instrumentation, 19F/1H coil designs, and ultrafast pulse sequence development for both preclinical and clinical scanners. These achievements, coupled with interest in the molecular imaging of anatomy and physiology, and combined with a cadre of innovative agents, have brought the concept of 19F into early clinical evaluation. In this review, we attempt to provide a slice of this rich history of research and development, with a particular focus on liquid perfluorocarbon compound-based agents.