Robots that can read and respond to brain waves will eventually help stroke patients regain movement, using new neural interfaces that can re-train damaged motor pathways. Neuroscientists have made great strides in brain-machine interfaces that can respond to a person's thoughts -- a new generation will drive a non-invasive robotic orthotic, retraining the patient's own body.
Swarms of caretaker robots will soon buzz around the damaged coral reefs of Scotland, re-cementing broken sections with utmost precision. Researchers at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University are programming autonomous underwater vehicles to follow a set of simple rules, like bees in a swarm, to keep corals healthy.
The future of military robotics isn’t all heavy metal and humanoid soldier-bots. If DARPA’s newest warbot implement is any indication, the future is soft, lightweight, and inflatable. The Pentagon’s blue-sky research wing is about to award $625,000 to iRobot to develop an inflatable robotic arm that can lift four times its own weight.
By The EditorsPosted 08.21.2012 at 1:26 pm 2 Comments
Here's the second video in our series of maker profiles as part of the Red Bull Creation competition. In this installment, you'll meet Greg Needel, mechanical engineer, combat roboticist and toymaker. For last year's program he built a beer tap that senses the size of a glass and pours the perfect brew, and then went on to create a swingset-powered vehicle. This year, he continued the party theme with a robotic cooler. Bravo, Greg. Enjoy.
The first priority in a bomb-related emergency is, of course, to safely dismantle the bomb. If it's a pipe bomb--the basement-built explosive device--a robot could be sent in to do the job. But enlisting one could hurt officials' secondary objective: obtaining evidence to determine who built the bomb. SAPBER, a new robot, can safely disarm it and turn over the forensics needed to track down its maker.
The Olympics ended on Sunday, but if we know our readers, many of you were still glued to your televisions as the Discovery Channel's Shark Week began, with hours upon hours of programming dedicated to these fearsome, fascinating creatures. We at PopSci have to confess to being equally intrigued by sharks, an interest that has continued throughout history.
Though, the farther back you go in our archives, the more our shark coverage seems less like scientific curiosity and more like bloodlust. We were only too happy when shark skin started being turned into leather, for example.
Soft robots are coming a long way, with strong yet stretchy bodies that can survive all kinds of assaults. But it would be even better if they didn't have to survive smashing attempts at all, instead blending into their environments so neither animals nor people would even know they were there. Researchers at Harvard designed new chameleon-bots that can do exactly that.
Modern kitchens already contain multitudes of cooking-related gadgets, from iPads slicked with EVOO to excellet multitasking tools. But it would be nice if the appliances themselves helped you cook, letting you know it's time to stir the risotto, that you should add salt to your soup or how to debone a chicken.
Project Hexapod, based in Somerville, MA (just outside Cambridge), just passed their requested $65,000 funding on Kickstarter, which is great, because Project Hexapod is building a 4,000-pound, 18-foot-wide, two-seat rideable six-legged robot. Its name will be Stompy. We love this project.