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Robotics

Harvard's RoboBee now perches on overhanging surfaces to preserve power

When the insect-sized RoboBee first took flight in 2012, its developers were unable to keep it aloft for more than a few seconds at a time. These days, the tiny drone is so adept at flying that researchers are actively bringing it down to rest. In the latest exhibition of their flying microbot, Harvard researchers have demonstrated the RoboBee's newfound ability to land on surfaces during flight, a neat trick that allows it save power and remain in action for longer periods of time.Read More

Good Thinking

Self-contained firefighting system uses fire itself as an energy source

Serial inventor and renaissance man Eddie Paul is back with another interesting idea. In between resurrecting historic automotive brands, building mechanical sharks and making stunt cars for dozens of movies you've probably seen (the names Grease or Fast and the Furious ring a bell?), he's now turning his hand to firefighting. The Sea-Can is a shipping container full of fire retardant foam, with a spray pump that's activated and powered by the heat of the fire itself. Great idea!Read More

3D Printing

MIT brushes up on 3D-printing hair

Researchers at MIT Media Lab have developed a method for 3D printing hair structures with a diameter as small as 50 micrometers each, to create finely detailed surfaces, touch sensors and even actuating motors, which can be used to make customized paint brushes, Velcro-like mechanical adhesives, and touch-sensitive plush toys. Read More

Aircraft

Saab rolls out latest-generation Gripen E fighter

Saab has unveiled its next-generation multi-role fighter. The Gripen E prototype 39-8 "Smart Fighter" is the latest product of the Swedish/Brazilian fighter program and is aimed at markets not cleared to purchase the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. According to Saab, the single-seater E is a major advance over previous Gripens with greater range and endurance, as well as more advanced weaponry and electronic warfare capability.Read More

Urban Transport

Boosted's upgraded electric skateboards double down on range

Boosted Boards has won a lot of fans since it built what was claimed to be the world's lightest electric vehicle in 2013. It may have since been overtaken in the weight stakes, but it is lifting its game in other areas to try and stay ahead of the curve. Its freshly announced second generation of electric skateboards address a major shortcoming in its first bite of the cherry with the ability to travel twice as far on each charge.Read More

BMW i8 Futurism Edition is a beautiful tribute to Italy

Over the years, BMW has teamed up with individuals like Andy Warhol, Ken Done and Frank Stella to create some incredible art cars. It might not strictly fit into that art car lineage, but the newly unveiled i8 Futurism Edition wouldn't look out of place alongside the work of such legendary artists. Read More

Robotics

New soft actuator endows robots with a bit of give and take

The first law of robotics, according to Isaac Asimov, states that a robot must not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human to come to harm. But until robots are smart enough to understand such a law, we have to rely on other techniques. With this in mind, a team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems has developed a new soft actuator that makes it safer for humans and robots to work alongside one another.Read More

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