JMP 58, 1: magnetic monopoles, spacetime and gravity

Just another selection of papers from the Journal of Mathematical Physics. I would start with the folowing paper:
Fine, D., & Sawin, S. (2017). Path integrals, supersymmetric quantum mechanics, and the Atiyah-Singer index theorem for twisted Dirac Journal of Mathematical Physics, 58 (1) DOI: 10.1063/1.4973368
Feynman’s time-slicing construction approximates the path integral by a product, determined by a partition of a finite time interval, of approximate propagators. This paper formulates general conditions to impose on a short-time approximation to the propagator in a general class of imaginary-time quantum mechanics on a Riemannian manifold which ensure that these products converge. The limit defines a path integral which agrees pointwise with the heat kernel for a generalized Laplacian. The result is a rigorous construction of the propagator for supersymmetric quantum mechanics, with potential, as a path integral. Further, the class of Laplacians includes the square of the twisted Dirac operator, which corresponds to an extension of $N = 1/2$ supersymmetric quantum mechanics. General results on the rate of convergence of the approximate path integrals suffice in this case to derive the local version of the Atiyah-Singer index theorem.
Kováčik, S., & Prešnajder, P. (2017). Magnetic monopoles in noncommutative quantum mechanics Journal of Mathematical Physics, 58 (1) DOI: 10.1063/1.4973503
We discuss a certain generalization of the Hilbert space of states in noncommutative quantum mechanics that, as we show, introduces magnetic monopoles into the theory. Such generalization arises very naturally in the considered model, but can be easily reproduced in ordinary quantum mechanics as well. This approach offers a different viewpoint on the Dirac quantization condition and other important relations for magnetic monopoles. We focus mostly on the kinematic structure of the theory, but investigate also a dynamical problem (with the Coulomb potential).

SphereX: the road to BB-8

BB-8 is the last Star Wars' droid introduced in The Force Awakens. It's a spherical robot with a free-moving head. Now, looking on arXiv, I found the proposal for SphereX, a new spherical robot for planetary explorations:
Wheeled planetary rovers such as the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) and Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) have provided unprecedented, detailed images of the Mars surface. However, these rovers are large and are of high-cost as they need to carry sophisticated instruments and science laboratories. We propose the development of low-cost planetary rovers that are the size and shape of cantaloupes and that can be deployed from a larger rover. The rover named SphereX is 2 kg in mass, is spherical, holonomic and contains a hopping mechanism to jump over rugged terrain. A small low-cost rover complements a larger rover, particularly to traverse rugged terrain or roll down a canyon, cliff or crater to obtain images and science data. While it may be a one-way journey for these small robots, they could be used tactically to obtain high-reward science data. The robot is equipped with a pair of stereo cameras to perform visual navigation and has room for a science payload. In this paper, we analyze the design and development of a laboratory prototype. The results show a promising pathway towards development of a field system.
The litle robot was tested under simulated lunar and martian gravity conditions, and the results are encouraging:
It was observed that as angle of separation between grouser decreases there is increase in average speed of robot and the power consumption remains almost constant. A hopping mechanism was developed for the robot that enables the robot to in theory perform unlimited hops. Currently the system is able to perform a hop of 8-10 cm under simulated Martian gravity. Extrapolating this, we would be able to achieve 16-20 cm hop in lunar conditions. The performance of hopping mechanism has to be improved to achieve the stated mission requirements. Based on power consumption for each hop and maximum power available, it was calculated that the robot would be able to produce maximum 208 hops in a single charge and robot would operate for 35 minutes of continuous hopping. The proposed SphereX design shows a promising pathway towards further maturation and testing of the technology in the field.