Harrison Young devised a miraculously cool "fiber-reinforced actuator" -- a gripping robot-hand that can get traction on irregularly shaped, heavy objects, without any 3D printed parts and without any power-supply!
Young's robot is mostly made out of Smooth-On Ecoflex, a low-cost, two-part silicone that you pour into a mold you make out of strips of cardboard and hot glue. You make two rubber pieces this way: one is stretchy, the other has a strip of scrap paper in its center that constrains its motion. A length of plastic tubing allows you to inflate the rubber, causing it to bend and grip; winding a few feet of nylon rubber around the device constrains its motion. Add a piece of grip-tape for friction and you're good to go.
There are so many cool techniques in this little video, ways of thinking about altering material properties of simple, moldable rubber with household objects like ribbon and regular printer-paper! The pneumatic system is a marvel of simplicity, too. This is the kind of project that invites you to try many variations, and to think about other ways you can use its techniques to solve construction problems.
(via Bruce Sterling)
Macarthur "Genius" Kelly Link and her husband Gavin Grant are the forces-of-nature behind the amazing Small Beer Press (previously).
Last week, the Escape Pod podcast published part one of a reading of my YA novella "Martian Chronicles," which I wrote for Jonathan Strahan's Life on Mars anthology: it's a story about libertarian spacesteaders who move to Mars to escape "whiners" and other undesirables, only to discover that the colonists that preceded them expect them […]
Greta Thunberg's Joan of Arc-grade tongue-lashing to the world's leaders at the UN makes for some incredible mashup possibilities: it's not merely that her excellent delivery lent itself to death metal, but also her use of the phrase "right here, right now," was tailor-made for insertion into Fatboy Slim's track of the same name -- […]
There are a lot of different language apps out there because nobody learns anything the same exact way – especially not something as complex as a new language. For some people, the best way is to dive in and start talking, but that’s easier said than done if you’re not around those natives you aspire […]
There’s movie merch and then there are artifacts – one-of-a-kind items for the true fans only. These 11 items definitely fall into the latter category. We’ve unearthed movie art, props and other fan touchstones from the major nerd franchises of the last 50 years. Gaze upon these Star Wars and Marvel collectibles and don’t worry. […]
No matter what kind of office you work at, there’s probably an Excel expert in it. And no wonder: Businesses are still discovering uses for one of Microsoft’s flagship software suites beyond just bare-bones spreadsheets. Make October the month you become invaluable at work by taking one of these boot camps in Excel and its […]