Richard is a freelance writer and journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. He’s contributed to Ars Technica, Edge Magazine, Polygon, and many other publications. When not writing or trying to read the entire internet, you’ll likely find him dancing, playing games, dabbling in creative stuff, or learning about whatever catches his eye.
A new robotic glove for hand rehabilitation swaps conventional rigid electromechanical components for soft fabric with embedded actuators (motors). The glove, dubbed EsoGlove by its National University of Singapore creators, is meant to conform to natural hand movements and is lightweight, portable, and intuitive enough that patients should be able to easily carry out their rehabilitation exercises in their own homes.
Nearly all drones currently fall into one of two categories: they are either fixed wing, which means their wings are rigid like an airplane, or they use rotary wings like a helicopter. Fixed-wing drones tend to have longer range and greater carrying capacity than the rotary-wing variety, but they lack the ability to takeoff and land vertically. For humanitarian and agricultural use, the strengths of both types are crucial. It's no surprise, then, that drone maker Autel Robotics has developed a tiltrotor unmanned aircraft that can takeoff vertically and transition into a fixed-wing flight mode once it gets into the air.
A new organic aqueous flow battery technology promises to drastically
lower the cost and sustainability of running energy storage systems.
The technology, which was developed at the Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory, uses low-cost and sustainable synthesized molecules
rather than the usual commodity metals, and could be retrofitted to
By modifying genes to light up in one of three fluorescent colors during neural signaling, neuroscientists at Northwestern University have managed to (retrospectively) read the minds of fruit flies up to three hours after an event. This new technique could help in efforts to map the circuits within fruit fly brains, and that in turn might provide insights into the workings of the human brain.
UC Santa Barbara scientists have replicated the uncanny underwater adhesive capacity of mussels – which has previously inspired a surgical glue – in a versatile and strong synthetic material. The ultra-thin material boasts up to 10 times the effectiveness of prior wet/underwater adhesives, and its low molecular weight and functional properties means that it can be used to boost the performance of existing bulk adhesives, as well as in such varied applications as dentistry, nanofabrication, and underwater repair.
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin may have found a solution to one of the key problems holding back flexible, bendable electronics and soft robotics from mass production. Electronic circuits tend to crack and break when repeatedly subjected to bending or flexing, but a new self-healing gel may automatically repair these flaws as they develop.
Nebulizers aren't anything new – I remember using a big, bulky electric one 25 years ago to help my tiny three-year-old body breathe during asthma attacks. But a new prototype nebulizer developed at RMIT in Melbourne is designed to fit comfortably in your hand and deliver much higher doses of medicine per minute than current nebulizers. The researchers behind the device say it could replace inhalers and injections for people with conditions such as asthma, cancer, cystic fibrosis, and diabetes.
While researchers around the world are making gradual gains in the monumental task
of developing artificial intelligences that can creatively solve
problems or produce art, IBM's Watson supercomputer has now learned how
to help people get more creative. Six student teams at Georgia Tech
trained Watson to chat with them about the many systems from nature
that we could mimic in solving big problems such as long-term space
travel and more efficient desalination processes.
Most medical devices come in standard sizes, but people – as you've probably noticed – vary widely in their shape and size. Sick or premature babies especially can run afoul of this system, as their tiny bodies leave much less room for error in inserting or attaching devices at the correct spot. But in the near future all biomedical equipment may be 3D printed at precise dimensions to suit each patient.
A new study suggests that the carbon-based waste material given off by burning candles could be suitable for use in larger, more powerful lithium ion batteries such as those used in electric cars. Two researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology found that as an anode material, candle soot compares favorably to existing commercial options because of its low cost of production and fractal-like nanoparticle structure.