From green blobs to hydrogel fish to boa constrictors, scientists have taken inspiration from some interesting sources in pursuit of robotic arms that can lift heavy items, but do so with a delicate touch. The latest solution from MIT resembles a Venus flytrap in the way it snatches up objects many times its own weight, and its creators hope it can open up some exciting possibilities for robotic assistants that can handle all kinds of objects.
The Organising Committee for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo – that last month confirmed that Games winners would receive medals made using recycled electronic waste – has revealed the first Tokyo 2020 Robot Project helpers, which will assist spectators in wheelchairs to ensure they have “an experience they are unlikely to forget.”
In 2015, Steinway & Sons launched a line of Grand pianos that, with the help of an iPad, allowed owners to tap into an archive of performances by some of the world’s top players, and have the piano play them back. Now the iconic maker has introduced the next generation of this piano – the Spirio | r – which can record a musician’s own live performance and play it back, while also allowing for tweaking and sharing through a companion app.
The earlier cancer is detected, the better the odds of treating it. But of course tumors can be hard to spot until they get to a certain size, at which point it might be too late. Now MIT researchers have developed a new optical imaging system that could be used to spot tiny tumors deep inside the body.
While the advent of 3D printers is commonly thought of as a revolution for manufacturing, it could have huge benefits for medicine as well. To help patch up large wounds that might normally require a skin graft, researchers at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) have developed a new bioprinter that can print dual layers of a patient’s own skin directly into a wound.
Boeing has taken the wraps off its latest combat drone, presenting a model of its Loyal Wingman UAV at the Australian International Airshow. Formally referred to as Boeing Airpower Teaming System, the concept demonstrator aircraft is being developed in partnership between the Australian government and Boeing Australia.
Most speaker enclosures are made from wood, though that’s not the only material being utilized by audio hardware makers – we’ve seen speakers made from concrete, for example, and the many portable wireless speakers available are most likely housed in plastic. Which makes the Ionic Sound System from the Czech Republic’s Deeptime something of a novelty, as the nature-inspired speakers and subwoofer are encased in a 3D-printed sand outer skin.