Biologist Robert Full is on stage at TED2009. He "studies cockroach legs and gecko feet. His research is helping build the perfect 'distributed foot' for tomorrow's robots, based on evolution's ancient engineering."
Here's a video of his talk from 2005.
He's back with an update, and his mustache is bigger and better than ever.
His is curious about gecko toes. How can they climb up walls so fast? Their feet have little hairs and they ends have tons of split hairs. They are so tiny that molecular forces create the stickiness.
Now they have synthesized this stuff. It's a "directional adhesive." He showing a video of a woman climbing the side of a building using synthetic gecko feet material.
Problem with robots is that they can't get unstuck with this stuff. But he's solved that. He built a robot that uses the "toe peeling" technique to climb up walls like a gecko. (Here's a video of the Stickybot).
Engineers discovered that if robots don't have a tail, they fall off the wall. The "active tail" functions as a 5th leg and creates stability. A gecko uses its tail to right itself when it falls so it can land on its feet. Video of gecko flying around in wind chamber. It uses tail to guide it around to a landing spot. They learned that geckos glide in nature, too. So they created an active tail for the gecko.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]