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Biomimetic

Robots have helped to create a lightweight, ultra-thin wooden exhibition hall (Photo: ICD/...

The Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall in Stuttgart, Germany, is claimed to be the first building to have its core structure made entirely from interlocking timber sections created by robots. Made up of over 240 individual segments of beech plywood created using a robotic fabrication method, the 17 meter (55 ft) tall, 245 square meter (2,637 sq ft) structure required just 12 cubic meters (424 cubic feet) of timber to construct.  Read More

Gear teeth of a juvenile Issus coleaptratus (Photo: University of Cambridge)

Among the mechanical components not found in nature is the spur gear. That is, until now. Zoologists of the University of Cambridge have discovered that the juvenile form of the leaf-hopper Issus coleoptratus has a set of gear-like linkages between the two jumping legs to synchronize the legs during a jump.  Read More

Researchers at Stanford University have built a machine which jumps and glides like a flyi...

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a small "aircraft" that resembles a flying fish which can jump and glide over a greater distance than an equivalent jumping robot. Using a carbon fiber spring to take off, the jumpglider has a pivoting wing that stays out of the way during ascent, but which locks into place to glide farther on the way down.  Read More

FlipperBot makes its way through a bed of poppy seeds (Video still: Institute of Physics)

US researches have developed a robot that gets about with a pair of flipper-like arms. By recording FlipperBot's adventures using a high-speed camera, the researchers are gaining understanding about the mechanics of traversing "complex surfaces" such as sand.  Read More

Students at the Universities of Warwick and Bath have shared knowledge of submarine design...

Students at the University of Warwick have announced their intention to build a human-powered submarine to compete at that highlight of the human-powered submarine events calendar, the European International Submarine Races in 2014. The team of engineering students hopes that their vessel, already named HPS Shakespeare, will beat the current speed record for a single-seat human-powered sub.  Read More

The University of Tokyo's JSK Lab have developed what could be considered the world's most...

Most human-like robots don't even attempt biological accuracy, because replicating every muscle in the body isn't necessary for a functional humanoid. Even biomimetic robots based on animals don't attempt to replicate every anatomical detail of the animals they imitate, because that would needlessly complicate things. That said, there is much to be learned from how muscle groups move and interact with the skeleton, which is why a team at Tokyo University's JSK Lab has developed what could be considered the world's most anatomically correct robot to date.  Read More

A robot sea turtle built to explore fin-based propulsion takes its first dip in the pool

In early October we took a look at the naro - tartaruga, a biomimetic robot based on sea turtles being built by researchers at ETH Zurich (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). It's a research platform that tests the concept of fin propulsion, and now we have a video of its first swim, which is surprisingly life-like.  Read More

The Shoal Consortium's robo-fish could provide round the clock protection against harmful ...

A five foot long (1.5 meter) robo-fish prototype that monitors oxygen levels and salinity is currently being tested in waters north of Spain as part of the EU-funded Shoal Consortium project. If the project proves successful, teams of autonomous robot fish could be patrolling ports, harbors, and estuaries for telltale signs of pollutants in the next few years.  Read More

The new electronic skin is sensitive enough to detect a lady beetle walking across it (Pho...

The quest to give robots touch-sensitive artificial skin and develop medical prostheses with a sense of touch has shown much promise in recent years. The latest promising development comes out of Seoul National University's Multiscale Biomimetic Systems Laboratory where researchers have created a new biomimetic “electronic skin” that is inexpensive, yet sensitive enough to “feel” a drop of water.  Read More

A sample of the biomimetic film, and a morpho butterfly

Butterfly wing material is somewhat like spider silk, in that they’re both animal-produced substances which scientists are very interested in copying. In the case of butterfly wings, it’s their ability to brilliantly reflect light in a variety of iridescent colors that could prove particularly useful to humans. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) are reporting success in replicating the reflective properties of the insects’ wings, using tiny glass beads.  Read More

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