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Biomimicry


— Environment

Opinion: Are "school of fish" turbine arrays a red herring?

By - July 23, 2013 7 Pictures
Since we first looked at John Dabiri's hypothesis that vertical axis wind turbines should be arrayed like a school of fish to reduce the land area required for wind farm installations, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient has continued to work on the idea. Following the latest round of coverage, Gizmag takes a deeper look at his concept, and wonders whether the idea of packing turbines into as tight a space as possible might overlook some wind energy fundamentals. Read More
— Robotics

Naro-nanin educational robot fish takes a dip

By - July 15, 2013 6 Pictures
A new breed of robot fish that is both relatively inexpensive and highly customizable is teaching students between the ages of 10 and 18 about technology and biology. It's the latest in a line of biologically-inspired underwater robots developed within the naro (nautical robots) project at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), which has previously developed robots based on tuna fish and sea turtles. Read More
— Science

Artificial "Spiber" silk is tougher than Kevlar

By - July 12, 2013 2 Pictures
Spider silk is a truly remarkable material: it's tougher than Kevlar, strong as steel, lighter than carbon fiber, and can be stretched 40 percent beyond its original length without breaking. Now, Japanese startup Spiber says it has found a way to produce it synthetically and, over the next two years, will step up mass production to create anything from surgical materials to auto parts and bulletproof vests. Read More
— Robotics

CMU's snake robot explores defunct nuclear power plant

By - July 10, 2013 12 Pictures
Several snake-like robots have been developed around the world, and while we keep hearing about their potential applications few have managed to slither outside of their research labs. Earlier this year Carnegie Mellon University's Biorobotics Lab put its modular snake robot's practicality to the test in an abandoned nuclear power plant, where it provided clear, well-lit images from the inside of pipes. Read More
— Robotics

T8 robot tarantula gives everyone the willies

By - July 4, 2013 5 Pictures
Legged robot kits aren't anything new, but unlike its competition, the T8 octopod comes with a disturbingly realistic 3D-printed exoskeleton that is sure to make an unforgettable first impression. Robugtix (a robotics company based in Hong Kong) is living up to its name with the lifelike robot tarantula, and it can be yours later this year for an introductory price of US$1,350. Read More
— Robotics

Giant Crabster robot to explore shipwrecks and shallow seas

By - July 4, 2013 11 Pictures
The Japanese spider crab is about to lose its title as the world's largest crustacean thanks to a new robot developed in South Korea. For the past two years researchers at the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) have been working on a giant robot crab that is about the size and weight of a Smart car. This summer it will help scientists explore wrecks below the sea, weathering harsh tidal currents rushing over one and a half meters per second. Read More
— Marine

Octopus inspires silent propulsion system for boats and subs

By - July 2, 2013 2 Pictures
Along with their writhing tentacles, octopi and squid sport another interesting feature – they swim not by swishing a tail, but by expelling a jet of water. This allows them to move very quickly and quietly. Scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation have now copied this system, in a propulsion system that could ultimately find use in boats, recreational watercraft, or submarines. Read More
— Robotics

DFKI's robot ape to colonize the Moon?

By - June 25, 2013 14 Pictures
If you thought the monkey-like robot AMEE seen in the Val Kilmer sci-fi flick Red Planet was a tad far-fetched, think again. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen are working on an ape-like robot called the iStruct Demonstrator that it classifies as a "Space Robot." Lately the mechanical monkey has been practicing how to walk and balance in the center's mock lunar landscape. Read More
— Robotics

Unleash the Kraken! Robot octopus learning to swim

By - June 18, 2013 7 Pictures
The octopus is a natural escape artist. It can squeeze its soft body into impossibly tight spaces and often baffles aquarium workers with its ability to break out of tanks. These abilities could be very useful in an underwater robot, which is why the OCTOPUS Project, a consortium of European robotics labs, is attempting to reverse engineer it in all its tentacled glory. Now researchers from the Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH), in Hellas, Greece are learning how the robot might use its tentacles to swim. Read More
— Robotics

CurvACE gives robots a bug's eye view

By - May 25, 2013 9 Pictures
Robots are getting down to the size of insects, so it seems only natural that they should be getting insect eyes. A consortium of European researchers has developed the artificial Curved Artificial Compound Eye (CurvACE) which reproduces the architecture of the eyes of insects and other arthropods. The aim isn't just to provide machines with an unnerving bug-eyed stare, but to create a new class of sensors that exploit the wide field of vision and motion detecting properties of the compound eye. Read More
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