Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Biomimicry

The defense mechanism of the bombardier beetle has inspired a film that could be used to d...

Taking inspiration from the defense mechanism of the bombardier beetle, researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a film that, when damaged, instantly releases a hot foam to discourage malicious actions. The technology could be used as a simple, yet elegant and reliable way of discouraging theft and vandalism on ATM machines.  Read More

The OutRunner robot – are six legs better than four wheels?

So, you already own little remote-control cars, planes, boats and submarines ... what else could there be? Well, how about something that runs? That's just what the OutRunner does. It's being billed as "the world's first RC running robot," and hopefully you'll soon be able to get one for under $250.  Read More

The 3D-printing robotic quadcopter hovers over its target (Photo: Aerial Robotics Lab)

The swiftlet may not look much different than other little birds, but it has one unique ability – it builds its nest out of its own saliva. Inspired by the swiftlet, scientists at Imperial College London's Aerial Robotics Lab have created a robotic quadcopter that can extrude polyurethane foam while in flight. By targeting where that foam goes, it can build up simple structures, essentially becoming a flying 3D printer. The technology could have some very important applications.  Read More

One of the 3D spec-wearing mantises, which probably isn't actually smiling

Although us humans take 3D vision for granted, it's not a standard feature throughout the animal kingdom. In fact, praying mantises are the only invertebrates known to possess it – a fact which makes them excellent hunters. Scientists at Britain's Newcastle University are now studying the insects' ability to see in 3D, to determine if it could be copied in human technologies such as robot vision systems. As part of that study, they're equipping mantises with the smallest pairs of 3D glasses ever made.  Read More

A gecko shows off its uniquely-sticky feet  (Photo: Shutterstock)

A couple of years ago, we first heard about a gecko-inspired reusable adhesive known as Geckskin. According to its creators at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it could be used to hang objects weighing up to 700 pounds (318 kg) on smooth surfaces such as glass. Now, however, they've announced a new version that also works on rough surfaces, like drywall and wood.  Read More

Perini pointed out the hexagonal shape most notable on the car can be seen on profile in t...

Last week Lamborghini’s Huracán LP 610-4, the 610 hp, all-wheel-drive successor to the outgoing Gallardo made its North American debut at a small and intimate event as part of the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) and Gizmag was there. The Huracán, currently in Beijing for the China Auto Show, is on a tight schedule as part of a 60 city, 130 event world tour, with North America being one of the manufacturer's key markets.  Read More

The study used robots known as Cyber Rodents to study mating behaviour over more than 1,00...

A study has used rodent-like robots to look at the evolutionary development of different mating strategies over an extended period of time. In contrast to direct studies of nature, the observation of robots allows researchers to avoid inherent time-based difficulties of studying evolution, with the results suggesting something a little more complex than the classic one-beats-all natural selection hypothesis.  Read More

Festo's BionicKangaroo is able to store energy from the landing phase of a jump and reuse ...

Festo’s BionicKangaroo is yet another impressive addition to the company’s already mind-blowing bionic zoo that includes, among other things, bionic seagulls, dragonflies, flying penguins, elephant trunks and a whole selection of robotic marine critters. Just like its animal cousin, the robo-marsupial developed by Fasto’s Bionic Learning Network is able to store energy from the landing phase of a jump and reuse it efficiently on subsequent jumps. The technology developed for the BionicKangaroo may hold the key to more energy-efficient machines based on both pneumatic and electric drive technologies.  Read More

The business end of Medrobotics Corp's Flex System

When we last heard about the modular snake robot designed by Carnegie Mellon University robotics professor Howie Choset, it had been used to explore an abandoned nuclear power plant. Now, however, a new line of robots based on it are set to explore something a little more confined – the human body.  Read More

DARPA's new Biological Technologies Office division aims to 'merge biology, engineering, a...

From robotics to optics and forgery prevention to solar cells, biomimicry has proven fertile ground for researchers. Recognizing nature's potential in the development of new technologies, DARPA has announced the establishment of the Biological Technologies Office (BTO), a new division that aims to "merge biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security."  Read More

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