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Biomimetic

Science

Bullet-fast shrimp club could lead to better body armor, airplanes and more

For a relatively small critter, the mantis shrimp certainly makes some major waves in the scientific community. The crustacean has served as the inspiration for research into everything from cancer-detecting camera technology to polarized lenses to strong and light composite materials. Adding to the body of knowledge in that last category is research out of the University of California Riverside (UCR) that has unravelled one of the secrets that helps the animal's claw move as fast as a .22 caliber bullet but not suffer any damage.Read More

Robotics

Jumping cockroach robot leaps tall obstacles in a single bound

For such a reviled creature, the cockroach has some pretty impressive abilities. It can slide through incredibly narrow gaps, has great acceleration and can cling to overhanging surfaces like a gecko. But something you won't see them doing is launching more than a meter into the air – at least not in the natural world. But researchers have developed a new springing mechanism for small robots that enables them to jump many times their own height at just the right time, a technology they have demonstrated in their so-called JumpRoACH leaping milli-scale robot.Read More

Robotics

Roach-inspired robots buddy up to climb stairs

If you've ever watched a war or adventure movie, you're well familiar with the "no man left behind" ethic. Now, thanks to an advance involving their VelociRoACH, researchers at University of California at Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab have figured out a way to create machines that will have a "no robot left behind" sense of duty – at least when it comes to climbing stairs.Read More

Robotics

Slithering serpentine robot snakes its way to seabed inspections

It looks like something you'd want to steer clear of in a video game, and most likely real life as well, but this menacing mechanical snake isn't out to hurt anybody. Developed to cut the costs of maintaining underwater equipment, the Eelume robot is designed to be unleashed permanently on seabeds where it will glide through tight spaces tending to gear that is difficult and expensive to reach for us humans.Read More

Drones

Bees' supreme obstacle avoidance to make for smarter drones

For more than a century, aeronautical visionaries have turned to the natural world for inspiration and those working with modern-day miniature aircraft that fit in the palm of your hand are no different. By learning how bees safely zip through thick rainforests in spite of their poor vision, scientists say they can endow flying robots with similar capabilities, promising exciting new levels of autonomy for small drones.Read More

Science

Nanopillared surface inspired by insect wings counteracts bacteria

Keeping surfaces bacteria-free is particularly important when it comes to medical devices and implants. In a move that could replace the use of biocidal coatings and antibiotic drugs in such applications, scientists have developed a germ-repelling synthetic polymer inspired by the antibacterial powers of insect wings, which they say could form the basis of resilient new types of eye implants.Read More

Robotics

Robotic finger mimics human digits as it is heated and cooled

Scientists at Florida Atlantic University have employed a novel thermal training technique to give robotic fingers a natural look and feel. With the ability to curve and straighten as it is heated and cooled, the researchers are hopeful their lifelike new creation will be put to use in underwater robotics and eventually, advanced prosthetic devices.Read More

Drones

Vampire bat-inspired drone can fly and crawl

Robot drones that can both fly and move about on land would vastly improve their usefulness by increasing the areas in which they could operate. Adding wheels of sufficient size to handle most terrains, however, would adversely increase both the weight and size of such a drone. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), building on their earlier developments, have created a drone that uses wings incorporating movable tips, allowing it to both walk and fly.Read More

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