Researchers at Cambridge University are building artificial bone in the lab, and they’re doing so with what might be considered an unorthodox partner: Lego. The tedious process of building up a sample of artificial bone requires a lot of repetitive dipping of samples into various substances, rinsing, and repeating. So to automate sample creation, the researchers built a couple of inexpensive laboratory robots using Lego Mindstorms.
First, there was the wooden peg leg. Then came bone replacements made of various metals and ceramics. Now, in the 21st century, we're back to wood. But this ain't your average sea dog's pine prosthesis; researchers in Italy have found a way to turn wood into synthetic bone that's so similar to real bone that it never has to be replaced.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.