May 03, 2013

DARPA's robotic hand gets put through its paces (video)

posted by Larra Morris

This three-fingered manipulator has just about everything you could ever want in a robotic hand. It's relatively low-cost, it's powerful, it's capable of picking up objects both large and small, and it's robust. In fact, we've already seen the thing used as a tee for an aluminum bat. The hand, which was developed by researchers at iRobot, Harvard and Yale, was created as part of DARPA's ARM Hardware (ARM-H), a program track focused on the creation of inexpensive, dexterous hands. According to its creators, the key here is "function rather than trying to mimic a human hand," which helped bring down the cost of building the three-fingered grasper.
via Engadget

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May 03, 2013

Insect-sized robots take flight, bringing your paranoid delusions one step closer to reality (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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This is RoboBee, and it may be the world’s tiniest robot. Inspired by the anatomy of aviation-inclined insects like bees and flies, it’s just a bit larger than a human fingertip. And after years of work, RoboBee has joined its organic inspirations in flight. The minuscule machine designed by researchers at Harvard took to the air for the first time last year, but the footage of its flight is only available this week, now that the results have been published in the latest issue of the journal Science.
via Geekosystem

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May 02, 2013

New distortion-free camera lenses inspired by insect eyes

posted by Larra Morris

Bug-Eye-Lens.jpg

Need a camera that can take a clear picture of the whole landscape before you? They’re not easy to make and take a lot of technical know-how. Lowly critters like flies and bees, though, come with these complex devices as standard equipment. Now, a team of researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois are taking a cue from those insect eyes to design a next generation camera lens that can capture extremely sharp images in wide field of view. And before you ask, yes, it’s pretty freaky looking.

The new lens is actually an array composed of 180 microlenses arranged in a bubble configuration, mimicking the eyes of insects in their hemispherical, multi-lensed design. According to a report on the work in today’s issue of the journal Nature, this bubble of lenses acts like the compound eyes found in many insects, from ants to dragonflies.
via Geekosystem

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May 02, 2013

Two-year-old girl receives new trachea made from her own stem cells

posted by Larra Morris

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Doctors announced today that two-and-a-half year old Hannah Warren just became the youngest person in history to receive a bioengineered organ transplant, a new windpipe made of a synthetic scaffold and her own stem cells. The nine-hour long procedure was performed April 9th, at Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, but the results were just made public. Doctors expect that Warren will be able to return home in a few months and breathe, eat, drink and swallow using the new windpipe, all of which she couldn't do without the aid of machines until now.
via The Verge

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Image: HARVARD APPARATUS REGENERATIVE TECHNOLOGY

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May 02, 2013

Solar-powered robot waddles, swims, rolls and lurches in 14 ways (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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Robots made for kids tend to move in a way that can only be described as lurching. The 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot Kit puts that expectation to good use with its shambling Zombie-Bot model, but with thirteen other forms, it can also mimic several animals, wheeled transportation, robots, and even multiple seafaring contraptions. As it's equipped with a solar panel you'll never have to have to find a battery charger.
via Gizmag

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May 02, 2013

Extreme closeup! IBM makes 'world's smallest movie' using atoms (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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Today, a team of IBM scientists are bypassing the big screen to unveil what they call the "world's smallest movie." This atomic motion picture was created with the help of a two-ton IBM-made microscope that operates at a bone-chilling negative 268 degrees Celsius. This hardware was used to control a probe that pulled and arranged atoms for stop-motion shots used in the 242-frame film. A playful spin on microcomputing, the short was made by the same team of IBM eggheads who recently developed the world's smallest magnetic bit.
via Engadget

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May 01, 2013

'Smart' story-telling pajamas invented by father of 6

posted by Laura Domela

smartpajamas.jpg

As a dad who loves to read to his kids at bedtime, I was a little skeptical about Smart PJs. They're certainly clever: Each of the jammies' 47 unique dot patterns triggers a story or an animal lesson when the kid scans it with a smartphone or tablet. But I am wary of products that may outsource crucial parental tasks to machines. So I spoke with the inventor.

Juan Murdoch, an Idaho Falls, Id., realtor who came up with the idea for Smart PJs during a briefing on QR codes, has six kids, ranging from 6 to 18. I don't know how many kids you have, but I can barely read a book to two children at once — I can't imagine keeping the attention of six. It just makes sense that he'd invent something that provides a little extra bedtime help.
via Today Tech

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May 01, 2013

How the hell is this photo of the Moon even possible?

posted by Laura Domela

moon.jpg

Can we all just sit and marvel at this ridiculous shot of the Moon for a second? Because that would be great. Seriously, people. Just look at it.
via io9

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May 01, 2013

Artificial heart tissue could replace and regrow the real thing

posted by Larra Morris

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One of the things that makes heart disease so problematic is the fact that after a heart attack occurs, the scar tissue that replaces the damaged heart tissue isn’t capable of expanding and contracting – it doesn’t “beat,” in other words. This leaves the heart permanently weakened. Now, however, scientists from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have developed artificial heart tissue that may ultimately provide a solution to that problem.

At the base of the material is a rubbery gel known as MeTro. It’s made from tropoelastin, which is the protein that gives human tissues their elasticity.
via Gizmag

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Image:Khademhosseini lab 

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May 01, 2013

Robots teach communication to kids with autism (video)

posted by Larra Morris

The learning tools, made by French company Aldebaran Robotics, are being used to teach children with autism about the subtleties of human communication and emotion and to bring them out of their shells in the classroom.
via Robots Dreams

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