A swarm of intelligent, autonomous robots from Georgia Tech may soon be leading the charge into dangerous and uncertain situations, providing valuable mapping intel to first responders, military, or police behind them. A team of researchers there have developed a team of small, rolling robots that can autonomously communicate with one another to quickly build a detailed floor plan map of an entire structure and beam it to nearby humans.
When disaster strikes and permanent structures are leveled, as they were recently by earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand (and more distantly in Haiti), they are usually replaced in the short term by tent cities. Two engineering students thought they could do better and invented Concrete Canvas, a fabric impregnated with concrete that can turn a tent into a hardy, permanent structure in 24 hours. Just add water.
Dogs are smart, and they possess both instinctual and physical abilities to recognize and negotiate obstacles that in many cases surpass the abilities of humans. They are also easily distracted and not always the best at evaluating a situation and making decisions based on shifting circumstances. So researchers at Auburn University have created a new system that lets handlers to guide dogs remotely through a software system that translates commands into auditory and tactile stimuli.
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.