This soft, inchworm robot changes shape in response to tiny electrical or temperature changes. The power-efficient robot is made from a specialized "programmable" polymer technology that, according to the University of Toronto researchers, could someday lead to lightweight and safer robots but also enable other kinds of smart materials. From EurekAlert!:
"In situations where humans could be in danger -- a gas leak or a fire -- we could outfit a crawling robot with a sensor to measure the harmful environment," explains Naguib. "In aerospace, we could see smart materials being the key to next-generation aircrafts with wings that morph."
Though he points out it will be some time before the world sees morphed-wing aircrafts, the most immediate impact will be seen in wearable technology.
"We're working to apply this material to garments. These garments would compress or release based on body temperature, which could be therapeutic to athletes," says Naguib. The team is also studying whether smart garments could be beneficial for spinal cord injuries.
"In this case, we've trained it to move like a worm," he says. "But our innovative approach means we could train robots to mimic many movements -- like the wings of a butterfly."
University of Tokyo engineers have taught a robot how to repair itself. Well, they taught it to tighten its own screws. And with that skill, it also was able to self-install a hook for hanging a tote bag from its shoulder. From IEEE Spectrum: At the moment, the robot can’t directly detect on its own […]
Inspired by the way plants grow, MIT researchers designed a flexible robot appendage that can work in tight spaces but is rigid enough to support heavy parts or twist tight screws. From MIT News: The appendage design is inspired by the way plants grow, which involves the transport of nutrients, in a fluidized form, up […]
Greg Olijnyk works as a 2D graphic designer, but his hobby is creating unbelievably wonderful 3D science fictional cardboard sculptures that sport motors and lights that animate them (some use photovoltaic cells for power, too).
Once you’ve cut steak or poultry with some actual quality knives, it’s really tough to go back to those budget blades you bought at the department store a couple of decades ago. Consider that a fair warning about this 5-Piece Professional Damascus Chef’s Kitchen Set. The holiday discount makes it easy to buy for a […]
Concerned about your eyesight? You probably should be. And we’re not just talking about seniors here. Young or old, we’re all at risk of coming down with vision issues Most of us might get a vision test only once every couple of years or so when we get a new pair of glasses – if […]
We love our smartphones and tablets, but we also love to write. For a while now, there hasn’t been a workable solution. Either hook it up to a keyboard (which defeats the purpose of a portable gadget) or resign ourselves to typing on tiny, unresponsive glass icons. Looks like technology has finally caught up to […]