Someday soon, hospital patients won’t be hooked up to wires and monitors -- instead, electronic patches will be temporarily tattooed onto their bodies. Doctors will be able to monitor their vital signs without poking and prodding, and patients wearing neck patches will even be able to communicate with robots, who will translate throat muscle movements into simple speech.
To test future rocket designs, NASA is employing an age-old bar trick: Slowly and deliberately apply pressure to an aluminum can until it crumples. No foreheads will be involved, however.
In late March, engineers will use a million pounds of force to crush a 27.5-foot diameter, 20-foot-tall canister made of aluminum and lithium, hoping to learn more about shell buckling so they can design sturdier rocket skins.
Human skin is primed for touch — even minuscule pressure from a fly is enough to make you flinch. This ability does not yet extend to artificial limbs, however, and robots are a long way from having sensitive tactile abilities.
Now two California research teams have announced pressure-sensitive artificial skin made of tiny circuits, both of which could lead to better artificial limbs and helper robots.
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.