The common ladybug is easily recognized by its signature red and black spotted shell. But when researchers at the University of Tokyo used a creative trick to make its carapace transparent, it revealed insect wing secrets that could impact development of robotics, satellite antennas, and microscopic medical…
In a chance discovery, a research team from Europe has learned that a common insect larva is capable of breaking down the plastic found in shopping bags and other polyethylene-based products. This trash-munching caterpillar could inspire scientists to develop a new chemical process to tackle the growing problem of…
Hollywood movies have used giant squids and octopi to inspire underwater nightmares for decades. But Festo, a German company that makes industrial machinery, has realized that an octopus’ amazing muscle-packed body and tentacles could actually be the ideal way to design and build a robot destined to work alongside…
Even the strongest artificial glues are completely useless when you try to apply them underwater, but somehow shellfish are able to hold fast to rocks to deter predators from trying to carry them away. Clearly, nature has already figured out how to make glues that work underwater, and now researchers may have…
Unless they’ve got stake in a big oil company, the most common reasons people have for opposing the installation of wind turbines is the noise pollution and the risk they pose to birds. But a radically redesigned turbine with flapping wings instead of spinning blades might finally solve both of those problems.
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.
Ah, spring has sprung. The weather’s warm, the trees are starting to bud, and robots are frolicking about — including ATRIAS, a two-legged bot developed by researchers at Oregon State University.
Since 2007, researchers at the Maryland Robotics Center have been steadily upgrading Robo Raven, a super-realistic robotic bird that’s so lifelike it even fools the real thing. Its developers recently unveiled two new versions, including one that can take off by itself.
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.
Researchers led by Stanford engineer Elliot Hawkes have created a pair of gecko-inspired gloves that enable users up to 200 pounds to scale smooth, vertical panes of glass. As one biomechanical engineer put it: "This is a really big deal."