At the University of Vermont, roboticist Josh Bongard decided to take a page from organic evolution's book in the course of his research. Humans and amphibians, among others, move through stages before they move as they will in adulthood, whether it's a baby crawling or a tadpole swimming--why not a robot? Bongard's 'bots learn to crawl, then stagger, then walk upright--and are more efficient as a result.
A magnet-powered method of pouring beer from the bottom up that works nine times faster than traditional methods, further proof that great ideas can be fueled by alcohol.
The cup features a small hole at the bottom, covered up by a circular magnet. Pressurized beer lifts the magnet up, filling the cup until the weight of the beer on top of the magnet pushes it back down, sealing the bottom.
At Massachusetts's Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, a group of students got together in that most noble of tasks: Combining robotics and pastry. The end result is the AutoFrost, a dual-Arduino 'bot that takes simple digital drawings and recreates them in frosting on cakes.
The AutoFrost uses a custom-built drawing program, sort of like an even-more-barebones version of Microsoft Paint, and in one click sends that drawing over to the robot for frosting. The AutoFrost itself is a three-axis machine, controlled by two Arduino microcontrollers: One controls the movement of the froster along the XY axes, and one controls the excretion of the frosting.
A tiny world of molten rock, orbiting scorchingly close to its host star, is the smallest planet ever discovered outside our solar system, NASA announced today. And it's likely only the first in a parade of planet discoveries to be announced this spring by the Kepler Space Telescope team.
A new champion amongst solar-powered cars has emerged in sunny Australia: A student-built solar car, christened the Sunswift IV, has crushed the previous speed record with a run that topped out at 56.85 mph.
As far as things that come out of the MIT Media Lab are concerned, perhaps a flute is among the less impressive. But take into account that the entire fully-functioning acoustic instrument was created via 3-D printer with a minimum of human assembly, and it sounds markedly more impressive.
Every month for the past seven years, I've undertaken some experiment—entertaining you, dear readers, by risking my life with dangerous chemicals. But this month I conducted an experiment of an entirely different kind: I went in front of a live audience on a popular Japanese variety show and risked their lives with dangerous chemicals.
Oliver Kreylos, the Kinect-hacking pioneer who you might remember from our earlier roundups, can't seem to stop pushing the Kinect's 3-D holographic capabilities. This newest hack involves two Kinect sensors, a virtual office, and, improbably, a Nintendo Wii controller, but the end result is pretty amazing: Holographic video chat in full 3-D.