One of the biggest challenges facing robotics is teaching machines to perceive surroundings and make sense of what they see. Attempting to duplicate the complexity of human perception is next to impossible, so researchers at Cognition for Technical Systems (CoTeSys) in Munich are, instead, studying how blowflies process images using a 'flight simulator'. Despite having a brain the size of a pinhead, a fly can process and interpret 100 discrete images per second – four times better than humans.
For purity of design and construction, the Flux chair is hard to beat. Fashioned out of a single piece of completely recyclable polypropylene, the Flux turns itself into a flat, self-contained “envelope” for ease of transport or storage. But then, in ten seconds, it can be folded out to transform into a beautiful piece of designer furniture.