When you take a seat in the 2013 Ford Fusion sitting in Srinivas Peeta’s new lab, you enter a virtual world where researchers can throw anything at you: snow and ice, detours, traffic snarls. All you have to do is drive — and in the process, help shape the future of transportation.
A melting pot of experts with research interests as diverse as geotechnical engineering, termite burrowing, tree physiology, granular physics and soft robotics trickled in from around the world in late May for the First International Workshop on Bio-Inspired Geotechnics. The NSF-funded workshop brought together 60 experts from engineering and science research, as well as industry, to foster dialogue and collaborations to better establish the field of bio-inspired geotechnics.
The first cities where drones could ferry people to and fro are the nation’s largest and most-congested — places like Los Angeles. But a new research center at Georgia Tech aims to answer the key questions about what’s called urban and regional air mobility, and turn Atlanta into a test bed for the emerging technology along the way.
Imagine giving large concrete structures something similar to an ultrasound and getting images so detailed you can see cracks just a tenth of a millimeter long. That level of detail just isn’t possible now. Yet such capability could revolutionize how engineers assess the health of thick reinforced concrete infrastructure like dams and power plants and bridges.