The Next Byte

21. AI Rescues Firefighters, NASA Prints Spacecraft Parts, Plug & Play Prosthetics

Episode Summary

In this episode, we talk about a new machine learning model developed by NIST to predict flashover in burning buildings and protect firefighters, NASA’s new ultrasonic additive manufacturing approach, and an affordable, high performance athletic prosthetic.

Episode Notes

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(0:50) - AI To Save Firefighter Lives

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a machine learning model that can analyze the temperature patterns in a burning building using smoke detectors and extrapolate potential areas where flashover can occur.

(10:00) - NASA’s New Additive Manufacturing Approach

Heat exchangers are critical for spacecraft operations but they are prone to failure since they are traditionally composed of multiple parts that are joined together. Ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) promises a reliable way to create complex parts composed of dissimilar metals as a single piece without compromising material properties. Here’s a quick video from Fibrosnic - the subcontractor that brought this capability to NASA - which displays the UAM process.

(16:25) - Plug & Play Prosthetics

Levitate was founded by an amputee who wanted an athletic prosthetic without having to pay the $8,000-$16,000 price tag of one; so, naturally, he decided to build one himself with the help of a talented composite engineer at the Technical University of Denmark that can be used with an existing sleeve thus significantly reducing the overall costs.