Welcome to Engineering Update, brought to you by Mouser Electronics, the electronic components distributor with the widest selection of the newest products. I’m Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor of ECN. In this week’s headlines:

Steerable paper planes

An educational robotic fish

And a cursive-critiquing robotic pen

A robotics team from the University of Queens land has created two versions of a single-use UVAs. The unmanned aerial vehicles, which usually associated with clandestine military operations, are both designed to relay environmental information. The first, called the polyplane, is your basic high-tech paper airplane designed using a avionics system that allows the vehicle to steer itself to a predetermined destination using small tabs and an onboard control system. The second UVA, called the Samara, draws its inspiration from the maple seed featuring a circuit board attached to a solid leading edge weight that doubles as an antenna, and a flexible wing. Both vehicles are designed to help save lives in a forest fire by working as self-deploying sensor modules.

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, which has previously had a hand in developing robotic tuna fish and sea turtles, recently developed a new fish with the sole purpose of educating 10 to 18 year olds about technology and biology.

The robot, which weighs about 15 pounds and about 20 inches long, is called naro-nanin. It features an anodized aluminum frame and a Raspberry Pi running Linux and ROS as its main controller, a Li-Po battery that lasts about 2 hours, and a pump that fills a diving cylinder. The kit allows for student-designed fins to be attaches anywhere on the robot using Lego Technic connectors to demonstrate how different fins affect motion. Plans to add a camera module, so the students will see what the fish does, are in the works.

The Lernstift pen features built-in hand recognizing technology and software that will vibrate to alert the writer of any spelling errors. Featuring an embedded Linux system and circuit board with, memory, wi-fi ,vibration modules, and motion sensors with a gyroscope and accelerometer. The pen, featured on kickstarter, has two modes: Orthography for spelling and calligraphy for working on form and it can be used in conjunction with specialty apps. The catch? The writing must be in cursive. So…good luck with that.

That wraps up this week’s report. Be sure to join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. I’m Kasey Panetta, and this has been your Engineering Update.

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