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A computer model (left) and a physical model of it, created using the new software

Take a look at all the Portal toys that are currently available, and you’ll realize just how much gamers like to own physical models of the digital characters that they know so well. When it comes to characters that are really physically “weird,” though, there can be a problem – goofy anatomy that works in a computer-generated world may not work in the real world. In other words, a physical model of a monster from a video game may be too top-heavy to stand up on its own, its arms may positioned in such a way that they can’t bend properly, or it may otherwise just be plain ol’ gimped. However, new software has been designed to solve those problems – it takes any three-dimensional computer character, and then uses a 3D printer to create a fully-assembled articulated figure based on it.  Read More

The smart suit is made up of a series of soft components designed to help improve a soldie...

The Pentagon has long had a fascination with machines that turn soldiers into supermen. Back in the 1960s, it funded General Electric’s work on Hardiman, an exoskeleton that was intended to allow its operator to lift loads of 1,500 lbs (680 kg). Almost half a century later, it’s still pouring money into all sorts of exoskeletons, assisted lifting devices (think robotrousers) and similar aids. Now Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has been selected by DARPA to spearhead the effort to develop a new “smart suit” intended to improve the endurance of soldiers in the field.  Read More

Researchers have created an artificial jellyfish (right) dubbed 'Medusoid' using rat heart...

Having roamed the seas for at least 500 million years and holding the title of the oldest multi-organ animal on the planet, jellyfish have certainly stood the test of time. So it’s probably not surprising to see various research groups looking to the gelatinous, umbrella-shaped animals for inspiration in a number of areas, including the development of ocean-going robots. Now researchers at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) looking to gain a better understanding of how biological pumps such as the heart work, have created an artificial jellyfish from rat heart muscle and silicon.  Read More

Harvard researchers have developed a solid-oxide fuel cell that doubles as a battery

Materials scientists at Harvard have created a fuel cell that not only produces energy but also stores it, opening up new possibilities in hydrogen fuel cell technologies. The solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) converts hydrogen into electricity, and could have an impact on small-scale portable energy applications.  Read More

Ultra smooth SLIPS (Slippery Liquid Porous Surfaces) developed at Harvard University could...

Although advances in refrigeration technology means we don’t need to defrost the freezer as often as we used to, many of us are still forced to carry out the task on a regular basis lest we find the frosty walls closing in to claim that tub of ice cream. Now a team from Harvard University has developed ultra smooth slippery surfaces that prevent ice sheets from developing by allowing even tiny drops of condensation or frost to simply slide off. As well as keeping freezers frost-free, the technology could be used to prevent ice build up on metal surfaces in wind turbines, marine vessels, and aircraft.  Read More

When sprayed into the mouth, WAHH Quantum Sensations is said to produce a slight light-hea...

A professor who has previously created chocolate and coffee aerosols has teamed up with designer Philippe Starck, and turned his micro-particle spraying science to booze. The WAHH Quantum Sensations spray delivers approximately 0.075 ml of alcohol liquid in the form of micro-particles and reportedly simulates the sensorial pleasure of alcohol, giving the user a brief moment of light-headedness and distraction.  Read More

A new study has shown that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can prevent migr...

It’s hard to convey the pain of a migraine to those who are fortunate enough not to suffer them. Compounding things, many sufferers get no relief from, or cannot tolerate, commonly prescribed or over-the-counter pain medications. Now researchers have shown that applying a mild electrical current to the brain via electrodes attached to the scalp can prevent migraines from occurring and reduce the severity and duration of those that do occur.  Read More

An MIT-led research team has already created this insect-like 'printed' robot as an exampl...

Already, people are pretty excited at the idea of being able to create inanimate objects using a 3D printer. Imagine, though, if you could create and print an actual moving robot, using a printer-like device in a store. If a group of scientists taking part in a new project are successful, that’s exactly what you will some day be able to do.  Read More

Blue and red liquid is pumped through the gut-on-a-chip device to help visualize the upper...

In an effort to provide a more accurate alternative to conventional cell culture and animal models, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed a microdevice that mimics the structure, physiology, and mechanics of the human intestine. The so-called “gut-on-a-chip” could help provide new insights into intestinal disorders and be used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential treatments.  Read More

Food and drink containers such as these could soon be available in a novel edible form (Ph...

Created by the same man who came up with Le Whif (inhalable chocolate) and Aeroshot (aerosol caffeine boost), portable containers for food and drinks could soon be available in a novel edible form. The project emerged out of an idea put forth by Dr. David Edwards from Harvard University's Wyss Institute. The plastic-free products would be a useful alternative to take-away containers, lunch boxes, and drink bottles, while reducing the environmental concerns often associated with plastic production and recycling.  Read More

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