Designing a robot that can convincingly move like a member of the animal kingdom is a much more difficult prospect than merely building something that has the outward appearance of one. Some of the best examples of both have come from the engineers at Festo, including a herring gull named SmartBird
and a bit of a bounder known as the BionicKangaroo
. As a taste of things to come at next month's Hannover Messe trade show in Germany, the company has now revealed three more biomimetic creations: a small colony of ants, a gripper modeled on a chameleon's tongue and some fine flyers in the shape of some big blue butterflies.
The northern lights are more than one of nature's most awe inspiring sights, they are an electromagnetic phenomenon that can adversely affect power grids and communications and navigation systems. Researchers from the University of Oslo have flown a rocket through the lights to take a closer look with the aim of gathering data that will help in predicting space weather.
You could certainly be forgiven for thinking that Muithu and Bagadus sound like character names from an H.P. Lovecraft story. In fact, they’re complimentary systems that have been combined to help soccer coaches record multi-camera videos of key game moments – using their smartphone – for later or
So you’re unlucky enough to be hit with the real C-word: cancer. That sucks. But what can be worse is that many current medical scanning techniques come with large levels of radiation. The current practice of combining PET (Positron emission tomography) and CT (computerized tomography) scans produces good images, but the cost is high: a dose of radiation ten times the background amount the average human gets in a year. And that’s just one scan. Many cancer patients have to endure multiple scans. A new PET scanner from physicists at the University of Oslo (UiO) cuts the radiation dose in half and is also small enough to fit inside an MR scanner. Although it was developed for animals, the researchers say it could be easily adapted for human clinical examinations.
Although we may not yet have reached the stage where manned submarines can be shrunken down and placed inside the body, à la the movie Fantastic Voyage
, current technology does allow us to do something almost as impressive – it is now possible to obtain images of the inside of the intestinal tract, by getting patients to swallow a camera-equipped capsule. Japanese company RF System Lab
reported success using its Norika 3 RF Endoscopic Robot Capsule to transmit live video from inside test subjects back in 2004, while just last year Olympus
announced the creation of a similar device. Now, Norwegian researchers are stating that they are in the process of developing the “next generation” of camera pill.
Imagine if you were watching television coverage of a football game, where none of the cameras could zoom in. It would be pretty frustrating, just having to go from one wide shot to another, never being able to get a close look at any of the players. That’s pretty much how things are with audio, however. Unless someone has their own microphone, or is within line of sight of a parabolic mic, you’re not going to be hearing them very well. In the near future, however, that may not be the case. Norway’s Squarehead Technology has developed AudioScope, a system that allows users to acoustically “zoom in” on individual people in a large area, and follow them as they move around.
January 14, 2008 Researchers in forensic medicine at the University of Oslo
are learning more about brain injuries in infants caused by shaking with the assistance of a very high-tech doll.