An international team of researchers has developed an eerily realistic robotic stingray that blurs the line between animal and machine. Fueled by light-activated heart cells, the cyborg fish could inspire the development of futuristic medical devices and incredibly life-like synthetic animals.
Birds, bats, and insects can’t fly forever, and neither can microrobotic drones. A new system that taps into the power of static electricity—the same principle that allows a balloon to stick to a wall—now allows robotic insects to land and stick to surfaces, greatly extending their operational life.
Scientists have discovered a previously unknown property of spider silk, and used it to create a remarkable new “hybrid” material. The new bio-inspired thread, which acts like both a solid and a liquid, could lead to a host of new materials and technologies.
Tweaking the structure of graphene so that it matches patterns found in the eyes of moths could one day give us “smart wallpaper,” among a host of other useful technologies.
Locusts get a bad rap—noise and plagues!—but they’ve inspired Israeli engineers to make bug-like robots that could be a godsend in emergencies.
Combining art and science comes naturally to Kate Nichols. The colors in her pieces don’t come from pigment, but from tiny silver nanoparticles suspended in the paint. She makes them herself, as artist-in residence in the University of California, Berkeley’s nanotechnology research group.
Researchers from South Korea have created a robotic insect that’s capable of jumping and landing on an aquatic surface, a unique mode of transportation found only in specialized animals.
It’s hip to be square if you’re a seahorse—or rather, it has certain adaptive advantages. Cylindrical tails may be much more popular in the animal kingdom, but the seahorse’s bizarre square-prism tail has far better mechanical properties.
Nature-inspired engineering isn’t new—but engineers are still finding new ways to take cues from biology. We got the beastly lowdown at day 3 of the RoboUniverse conference in New York this morning.
Pleurobot looks like a salamander skeleton come to life and that's no coincidence. The robot was engineered to slink around exactly like a salamander. And we mean exactly.
Robotic arms have been around for years, 3D printers have been around for decades, and we've even seen 3D printers attached to robotic arms before. But this... is different.
Our reliance on air conditioning, however magical an innovation, has become a serious environmental burden. Which is why researchers in Barcelona designed a material they say can naturally cool rooms by about 5 degrees Celsius, using a moisture-absorbing polymer that "sweats" much like our own body.
Shark skin is famously sleek and dragless, the envy of swimsuit designers. Perhaps less famous is what shark skin's oddly rough surface looks like up close: an eerie matrix of microscopic tooth-like scales. Now, scientists are 3D printing artificial shark skin in hopes of unlocking its swimming secrets.
If you described a shark as a toothy torpedo covered in sandpaper, you wouldn't be too far off the mark. It's that rough sandpapery skin that gives sharks their highly efficient swimming abilities, and scientists finally understand why.
Most robots have a problem, which is that they're hard. The last few years have seen major advances in soft robotics, but the challenge to create a soft-bodied robot that can both locomote and manipulate objects has not yet been realized. At The Octopus Chronicles, Katherine Harmon Courage reports that a group of…
Designed by German engineering firm Festo, these claw-tipped, artificially intelligent arms were designed to mimic the utility and movement of an elephant's trunk – but the resemblance to Dock Ock's writhing limbs is just uncanny.
To anyone who has ever dropped a wine glass or broken a window, you might have a thing or two to learn from mollusks. A new technique inspired by natural materials such as mollusk shells or tooth enamel can make glass 200 times stronger. Weirdly enough, it works by weakening the glass with microscopic cracks.