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Caltech’s Robo-Bat

Researchers at Caltech and UIUC have developed the Bat Bot, a robot that mimics the complex...
Researchers at Caltech and UIUC have developed the Bat Bot, a robot that mimics the complex wing structure of a bat(Credit: Caltech)

The animal kingdom is full of inspiration for robotics – just ask the creators of SALTO, Robirds, MuddyBot, WildCat, Octobot, or EPFL’s robo-croc. Now, engineers at Caltech and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have developed the Bat Bot, a robotic bat with soft, flappable wings that could not only make for a safer alternative to keeping drones aloft with spinning blades, but also teach scientists more about the mechanics at work in natural bat flight. read more

Use Google Photos

How to use Google Photos for iOS to conquer your iPhone's photo storage issues
How to use Google Photos for iOS to conquer your iPhone’s photo storage issues

Many iPhone users have wrestled with storage limits, especially when it comes to managing the device’s camera roll. Apart from deleting old pics and purchasing a paid iCloud subscription, there’s another option for alleviating storage woes: using Google Photos for iOS. read more

Nature’s Chemical Factory

Inspired by a leaf, researchers at TU Eindhoven have developed a "mini-factory" that can use sunlight...

Inspired by a leaf, researchers at TU Eindhoven have developed a “mini-factory” that can use sunlight to manufacture chemical products such as drugs(Credit: TU Eindhoven/Bart van Overbeeke)

Leaves are kind of like nature’s power plants, converting incoming sunlight into energy for the plant to thrive on. Inspired by the real thing, scientists have previously created artificial leaves that function in much the same way as their natural counterparts to produce electricity and even liquid fuels. read more

Self-Balancing Motorcycle

Honda's self-balancing motorcycle: I love to believe Honda R&D guys dress like this all dayHonda’s self-balancing motorcycle: I love to believe Honda R&D guys dress like this all day(Credit: Honda)

One of the cutest things we’ve seen at CES 2017 is Honda’s self-balancing motorcycle – a modified NC750S that uses technology derived from Honda’s self-balancing unicycles to keep itself upright. Plus, it can follow you around like a puppy at walking pace, which is adorable. read more

Cardboard Single-Use Drone

Once the goods have arrived, the drones biodegrade in a matter of days
Once the goods have arrived, the drones biodegrade in a matter of days

In developing regions where lack of road infrastructure is problematic for those in the business of moving goods, drones are already having an impact. But also problematic is the fact that the people sending drones off to do the courier work kinda need them back again. A new cardboard drone being funded by DARPA won’t concern itself with such limitations, with the ability to deliver vital goods and disappear soon after the job is done. read more

Hanging Tent – No More Bugs!

The TreePod Camper will hit the market in April
The TreePod Camper will hit the market in April

A trend we’ve noticed while touring various trade shows around the US and Europe over the past few years is the hanging hammock pod. Part hammock-chair and part fabric treehouse, these pods are available from a number of different brands, bringing a bit of suspended relaxation to the trees. TreePod is one such brand and, much like the Cacoon, its hanging shelters have served as fun, simple children’s treehouses. It’s now launching a version for adults, a suspended camping tent that suspends two campers above the ground for a different perspective and experience. read more

Use Summer Stored Heat in Winter

Though still in the prototype stage, EMPA is currently looking for commercial partners to assist in...Though still in the prototype stage, EMPA is currently looking for commercial partners to assist in creating a compact version of the system for household domestic use(Credit: EMPA)

Making the move away from using fossil fuels for heating is a necessary part of creating a sustainable future, but it’s often a difficult ask for many people when turning up a thermostat on a gas or electric heater provides instant, trouble-free warmth. read more

Is this a Real Robot?

Improvements in technology mean robots are becoming eerily life-like – to the extent that now, people cannot tell the two apart.

Karen X Cheng, a ‘viral video director’, went to the CES conference in Las Vegas earlier this month and pretended to be a robot.

She was so convincing, or perhaps robots are so lifelike, that people believed her.

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Karen Cheng, a ‘viral video director’, went to the CES conference in Las Vegas earlier this month and pretended to be a robot. She was so convincing, or perhaps robots are so lifelike, that people believed her

read more

Artificial Spider Silk is Now a Reality

A team of Swedish researchers have finally managed to produce artificial spider silk – and say it could soon be used in everything from bullet proof clothing to sutures as strong as steel.

Researchers have struggled to mass produce the fibers, but now a team of researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the Karolinska Institutet have developed a method that allows them to produce kilometer long threads of the material.

Spider silk is a material that has many advantages: It’s well tolerated when implanted in tissues for sutures, it’s light-weight but stronger than steel, it’s biodegradable and it has even been used to make violin strings.

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The fiber (pictured) is made using apparatus that can spin kilometer-long fibers only by making a special chemical solution more acidic

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