First commercial pilots started getting iPads, and now military pilots want in — the U.S. Air Mobility Command is planning to buy up to 18,000 iPad 2 tablets “or equal devices,” replacing heavy flight bags that pilots use to stow their charts and other flight materials. The devices will apparently be used on the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster. The Air Force Special Ops Command is also planning to buy 2,861 iPad 2s for its crews.
A clump of bone marrow cells are the fastest cells in the world, moving at a glacial pace of 5.2 microns per minute across a petri dish. They beat a line of breast cells by a hair’s breadth — OK, well less than that, because the entire race track was about a hair’s breadth long.
At the University of Vermont, roboticist Josh Bongard decided to take a page from organic evolution's book in the course of his research. Humans and amphibians, among others, move through stages before they move as they will in adulthood, whether it's a baby crawling or a tadpole swimming--why not a robot? Bongard's 'bots learn to crawl, then stagger, then walk upright--and are more efficient as a result.
By Mark Jannot
Posted 04.07.2010 at 5:56 pm 14 Comments
I'm just back from a midtown Manhattan hotel meeting room, where I rode Honda's U3-X "Personal Mobility Prototype." It's a nifty little device: essentially a sit-down Segway unicycle that looks like a figure-8-shaped boombox, with a pop-out seat and footrests.
The machine balances itself, with or without a rider. You move and steer by leaning where you want to go, forward, backward, and -- in a unique twist -- side to side.
Mobility-impaired patients and layabouts alike can rejoice at the debut of Panasonic's robotic bed that transforms into a wheelchair. Human nurses and hospitals may also breathe a tiny sigh of relief.
The bed-shaped bot morphs upon command to sidestep the usual trouble of moving a bedridden person from bed to wheelchair, or vice versa. Yet unlike the Japanese bear bot nurse that carries patients, a self-controlled bed bot allows humans to regain some independence and dignity.
The next time someone tries to argue that all M&Ms are the same, no matter the color, you can tell them about the blue M&M. The candy (like Gatorade and other products) gets its color from a food dye similar to Brilliant Blue G (BBG) -- a compound that, as it turns out, is medically useful. Building on earlier research, scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center have found that injections of BBG can relieve mice of secondary spinal cord injuries. In September, they will start conducting human clinical trials.
The retro-futuristic design of this skateboard was inspired by the look of rocket ships in old cartoons. Ryan Bavetta used a jigsaw to cut out the sleek deck and then mounted a propeller and 3.7-horsepower engine from a model airplane on the back to power it. A handheld remote controls the engine throttle, which can move the board 25 mph or more wherever he wants to go.
Israeli roboticist Amir Shapiro looks to the animal kingdom to design robots that can go where humans can't
By John Pavlus
Posted 06.11.2009 at 7:10 am 7 Comments
The Israel Defense Forces are preparing to deploy a camouflage-wearing, camera-toting robot snake. The spybot, which slithers through cracks and caves using principles of motion derived from those of actual snakes, is just one of roboticist Amir Shapiro's clever designs based on animal physiology. We visited Dr. Shapiro's lab at Ben Gurion University of the Negev to get a closer look.
Like any good New Yorker, I love to walk, but as a group of Popular Science editors strolled back to the office today from a hands-on demo of Honda's latest prototype, we felt sadly ... pedestrian. We had gone to see a team of Japanese engineers from the company proudly showing off their new mobility technology -- a pair of wearable robotic "Walking Assist Devices." Strapping the powered gadgets to our legs felt silly, but after taking them off, the sensation of being cast back among unaugmented humans, forced to walk completely under our own primitive power, was a distinct comedown.
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.