VICE, in concert with GE, recently created a video called ecomagination – The Energy Fixers. The Energy Fixers focuses on eco-minded innovators working to change the energy game and re-envisioning our energy future.
Hosted by Heather Knight, roboticist at Carnegie Mellon and founder of robotic arts collective Marilyn Monrobot, this special is a quick glimpse at the brains and businesses behind environmental betterment.
This is one of the most inspiring stories we've ever seen: Claire Lomas of the U.K. was paralyzed from the chest down in a horse-riding accident five years ago. Yet today, she accomplished something difficult for anyone: she finished the London Marathon. It took 16 days and one impressive bionic exoskeleton, but she did it. Watch the video and try not to tear up a little, I dare you.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research, which is the lab arm of the Disney Company that focuses on computer animation and interactivity, among other things, have worked out a new version of capacitive sensors--the same sensors used in modern smartphones and tablets. This version is able to detect touch in much more detail, like identifying which finger you've used to tap it.
A project from a couple of Masters students in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University, FlexLegs is sort of like a cross between crutches and Oscar Pistorius's super-fast lower-leg prostheses. They promise to allow those with lower leg injuries to walk, run, tackle steps, and more. Say the creators: "If we can help a person with no legs to run, why can’t we help a person with an injured leg to walk?"
Well, "composes" might be a little bit of a stretch. Really it's more like a robotic cover band: the robotic system listens to a musician play a tune and then breaks it down into a five-part version that, while it differs from the original, still "retains the essence of the composition." The baroque music played here is nice enough, but we're left to wonder why nobody thought to play the robots some R. Kelly.
There are lots of way to learn first-hand the principles of flight, but most of them require years of studying or a pilot’s license. There is, however, an exception: folding paper airplanes. Da Vinci did it, as did the Wright Brothers and Jack Northrop, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.
You’d think the prospect of clean grass would be enough to induce good behavior, but still, some dog owners neglect to pick up after their animals. A new concept gives people another incentive: Free WiFi in exchange for your dog’s poop.
This three-week-old robot created at the MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter group is spinning a web. Or maybe it’s more like a cocoon. Whatever you call it, it’s doing so without any help from humans, using tensile materials like string and rope to shroud itself in a woven enclosure of its own creation.
It’s perfectly understandable why commercial shipping vessels are prohibited from carrying arms in international waters. But when it comes to dealing with the threat of piracy, battles that pit water hoses against small arms and RPGs are decidedly one sided. So Japanese companies MTI and Yokoi have teamed to create what they call the “Anti-Piracy Curtain,” a system that makes it difficult--and quite intimidating--for anyone to board a ship without the consent of a crew.
NASA’s J-2X rocket engine is on the test stand and ready for its second round of tests, building on last year’s successful test-firings that by some metrics were the most successful rocket engine firings NASA has ever undertaken. The J-2X will provide upper-stage power propelling NASA’s next-gen Space Launch System (SLS) from the upper atmosphere out into deep space after the first stage is jettisoned.
Scientists scrutinizing Cassini imagery have stumbled on a strange find — evidence of half-mile-sized snowballs perforating one of Saturn’s rings, creating miniature contrail-like streams in the ring’s shape. The pictures answer a mysterious question about the F ring, Saturn’s oddest ring.
Billionaire-backed space startup Planetary Resources has officially unveiled its business plan to much fanfare and with few surprises. The company’s principals--which include X-Prize Foundation founder Peter Diamandis, Space Adventures co-founder Eric Anderson, and former NASA Flight Director Chris Lewicki--today pledged that Planetary Resources would make the abundant resources of space available here on Earth, and introduced a couple of the company’s own spacecraft that will make such space prospecting possible. The rush for space resources is officially on.
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.