Piezoelectric devices promise to draw power from your footsteps or heartbeat, change the channel on your TV, and complete all sorts of helpful tasks — but they generally work in the nano-mechanical realm, requiring synthetic materials to function.
Soldiers already have plenty of nighttime tech to help them navigate battlefields, but goggles can be clunky and obtrusive, and backlit GPS displays can betray a lurking warfighter’s position. A new haptic interface developed by Army researchers will help soldiers feel their way through the darkness instead.
For a team of technology whiz kids at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, having a 3-D theater to work in just wasn’t enough. Using the curved 33-by-9-foot 3-D screen, a group there has created a touchscreen capable of more than 100 points of simultaneous contact.
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.