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."
Earlier this year, Gundam Factory Yokohama announced plans to debut a 60-foot-tall Gundam robot on October 1, 2020. While construction on this epic mech was initially delayed by COVID-19, it seems that things are back on schedule — so much so, that they let the Gundam out for a test walk. Popular Mechanics has some […]
Remember engineer Shane Wighton of Stuff Made Here who impressed the Internet with his robotic basketball backboard that helps the ball into the hoop? Now he’s built a robot that cuts his hair. Using a combination of physical sensors and computer vision, it gave him a pretty great looking mullet! I also appreciate its Flowbee-like […]
University of Washington engineers developed a tiny, wireless, and steerable videocamera that can be worn by insects or minuscule micro-robots to stream live video. The device weighs just 248 milligrams. Evan Ackerman writes in IEEE Spectrum: The system was successfully tested on a pair of darkling beetles that were allowed to roam freely outdoors, and […]
With more and more companies moving all their operations into the cloud, the need has never been greater for those with the skills to map exactly how an organization reconstitutes itself in that new environment. Network architects responsible for determining all the communication, storage, and infrastructure needs of an expansive organization are among the most […]
Even after months of working from home, you’d be forgiven for thinking the whole experience still doesn’t quite feel…well, normal. In addition to all the obvious environmental changes of handling your 9 to 5 from your den or dining room table, the technological aids you didn’t realize you loved back at the office probably don’t […]
Running a small business drops a lot on to the plate of just one person. And between juggling a dozen tasks that need to get handled daily, it’s no surprise that there are a dozen more equally vital tasks that can just as easily go overlooked. While posting to social channels and making web posts […]