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Ben Coxworth

MIT's prototype contraband-searching robot

Maritime smugglers will often hide contraband in false hulls or propeller shafts within their boats. While there are ways in which port authorities can search for such stashes, the smugglers often have time to ditch their illicit goods before those searches can be performed. However, what if there were stealthy, inexpensive, underwater hull-hugging robots that could check the boats out, without the crews even knowing they were there? That's just what a team at MIT is developing.  Read More

DHL's Parcelcopter can carry up to 1.2 kg (2.6 lb) of medication

Although big players such as Amazon, Google and the United Arab Emirates have all announced plans to launch drone-based delivery services, it looks like DHL Parcel is about to beat them to it. This week, the courier company announced that it will begin using its unmanned DHL Parcelcopter to deliver pharmaceuticals from the German seaside village of Norddeich, across 12 km (7.5 miles) of the North Sea, to the small island of Juist.  Read More

Georgia Tech's PR2 locates an RFID-labelled item

In order for household robots to be truly useful, it would be great if they could go and get items for you, without having to be shown where those things are. Thanks to research being carried out at Georgia Tech, that may someday be the case. A robot there is now able to search out hidden objects – as long as they've been labelled first.  Read More

If you're a bed bug, don't get into this suitcase

Although it's generally nice to bring things back from your travels, bed bugs would definitely not be among those things. That's why ThermalStrike luggage was created. It heats everything packed inside of it, to kill any unwanted stowaways.  Read More

The non-blinding Double O headlight

As bicycle headlights continue to get brighter, a certain problem is starting to occur – they can actually be too bright, blinding oncoming drivers and cyclists. Lessening their output isn't a particularly appealing solution, so British designer Paul Cocksedge came up with an alternative. His Double O lights distribute the individual LEDs out around a ring, instead of concentrating them in a searing cluster. The lights also offer a few other handy features.  Read More

A rolled film of the material – the roll is about one tenth the diameter of a human hair

With its incredible strength, chemical stability, high thermal conductivity and low electrical resistance, it's no wonder that graphene is finding more and more uses. Soon, however, it may be facing some competition from molybdenum di-sulphide – a thin metallic film that can emit light.  Read More

This may look like modern art, but it's actually a microfluidic system built from MFICs

With their ability to guide and analyze tiny quantities of liquid, microfluidic "lab-on-chip" devices have found use in everything from seawater desalination to explosives detection to the viewing of viruses. Each time a new type of device is created, however, it must be built from scratch. This can be time-consuming and costly, as the fabrication of multiple prototypes is a traditional part of the trial-and-error development process. Now, however, building them may be as simple as mixing and matching prefabricated Lego-like modules.  Read More

ZEBRA matches keyboard and mouse input with movement data transmitted by an electronic bra...

There are already a variety of technologies for verifying a computer user's identity when they attempt to access sensitive data ... data such as patients' health records on hospital computer systems. The problem is, those users may sometimes forget to log off when they're done, or they may temporarily leave their computer unguarded when leaving their desk. That's why Dartmouth College computer science student Shrirang Mare is developing ZEBRA. It utilizes a sensor-equipped bracelet to continuously authenticate a user's identity.  Read More

A pair of Nikola pedals at Interbike 2014

When Nick Stevovich analyzed speed skaters and cyclists, he noticed that the two groups use different sets of muscles to propel themselves forward. It occurred to him that if cyclists could use both of those muscle groups, their pedaling power might increase. The result is the Nikola pedal, which slides out to the side in order to help bring that skating movement to cycling.  Read More

Using a GelSight sensor on one of its pinchers, a Baxter robot is able to guide a USB plug...

Three years ago, we first heard about GelSight – an experimental new system for imaging microscopic objects. At the time, its suggested applications were in fields such as aerospace, forensics, dermatology and biometrics. Now, however, researchers at MIT and Northeastern University have found another use for it. They've incorporated it into an ultra-sensitive tactile sensor for robots.  Read More

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