It can be satisfying to build something yourself, making careful measurements and ensuring your carefully routed wood slats fit together perfectly. Except when your measurements are off by a few microns and nothing fits. Some MIT students decided that a smart machine could help matters, and designed a re-routing router that automatically cuts the right shape.
A prehistoric mobile toolkit buried in milky creek sediments in central Texas shows humans first settled North America 2,500 years earlier than previously thought. The finding could shatter the prevailing theory of paleo-American settlement, which holds that people left northeast Asia via a land bridge through the Bering Strait and settled the continent 13,000 years ago.
Need to take down some infrastructure? Turn to the new F-16, a demolition robot that can easily break down stairwells, concrete slabs and walls. For a full spectrum of destructive power, it uses shears, breakers, grapples, a drop hammer, buckets and a concrete-pulverizing claw.
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.