Biomimicry in robotics has led to robots that can climb, fly, and swim better. Now researchers have developed hair-like filaments for robots that allow them to have more fine-grained senses of touch, sensing even forces as delicate as coming in contact with a piece of tissue. Read the rest
Duge Beipanjiang Bridge crosses a gorge 565 meters above China's Nizhu River. That's a bigger height than One World Trade Center, and beats the previous record-holder by about 70 meters. Read the rest
Biomimickry continues to improve and refine specialized drones and flying robots. Mindy Weisberger at LiveScience dives into an issue of The Royal Society's journal Interface Focus
on coevolving advances in animal flight and aerial robotics
. Read the rest
Isis Shiffer just won a Dyson design award for the EcoHelmet, an ingenious paper helmet that folds down to the size of a banana but offers significant noggin protection. Read the rest
There's something very pleasing about watching the process of thermoforming, where a plastic sheet is heated atop a mould. Here's a cool example of even more complex manufacturing, using 3d modeling and pre-printed color sheets: Read the rest
If you've never gone down a rabbit hole of watching tractor videos, that may change after watching tractors topping tulips or planting potatoes on Tractorspotter: Read the rest
Annoyed by reviews of keyboards that describe mechanical switches the way men in bow ties describe wine, HaaTa spent fabulous amounts of money constructing a custom gauge that generates meticulously accurate graphs of the pressure profile of keypresses.
I take keyboards way too seriously. However, unlike most of you, I’m an engineer. This means I need facts, data, and real evidence before I can form an opinion. And this lack of actual information has always bothered me when it comes to how the keyboard community at large tends to review switches.
Similar in function to charts of speakers' frequency response, the gauge anchors subjective experience in empirical data that can be verified independently of manufacturers' claims. There are good and bad sides to this sort of thing. On one hand, it burns off technophile mysticism and helps prevents it from being sold on to low-information consumers. On the other hand, the desire to free phenomena from human experience is futile.
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Cambridge DIYer Brian Kane has a novel use for that old singing fish gag gift languishing in storage: hack it to mouth Amazon AI Alexa's utterances. Read the rest
This year has seen some interesting movement in the world of hoverbikes, hovering platforms that can support a standing human, and drone prototypes large enough to carry people. EUKA has an overview of 8 noteworthy examples. Read the rest
Tesla released a video of a commute from home to office, including parking as a demonstration of its fully self-driving hardware. "The person in the driver's seat is only there for legal reasons.
He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself."
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Technically, cloth is a "deforming non-rigid surface," so projecting a stable image onto clothes is a big technological challenge. To solve it, Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory combined two new techniques that allow stable projection of an image onto clothes even as they move. Read the rest
A large crowd came out to watch The Broadway Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas be demolished. Either the bridge builders were very good, or the demolition team was very bad (maybe both), because the bridge withstood an impressive explosion. Read the rest
Maria Yablonina developed a system for wall-climbing robots to weave fibers into useful structures on vertical surfaces, like this hammock-like web that can support a human. The bots can even trade the threaded bobbin between units. Read the rest
Dino Everett of USC's Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive shows off a nifty little gadget: a working 3mm movie camera developed by Eric Berndt in 1960 for NASA's Mercury missions. Read the rest
The Ghost Minitaur is the latest iteration of terrifyingly cute agile legged robots. I for one welcome our doglike robot overlords. Read the rest
Los Angeles is a car town, so it's controversial to promote "road diets," a form of roadway reconfiguration intended to slow cars and reduce collisions, especially with cyclists and pedestrians. Scientists reviewed data from one controversial road diet and found that crashes were cut in half, and unsafe speed crashes dropped to zero.
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I've been writing "design fiction" for years (see, for example, Knights of the Rainbow Table), and when people ask me to explain it, I say something like, "An engineer might make a prototype to give you a sense of how something works; an architect will do a fly-through to give you a sense of its spatial properties; fiction writers produce design fiction to give you a sense of how a technology might feel."
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