A Thousand Tiny Robots Swarming Into Shapes Like Intelligent Insects

Since the first crude automatons running on clockwork mechanisms, mankind has been working to build the perfect artificial copy of ourselves for centuries. But what's a more accurate recreation of a human? A robot made of various components and wires all cobbled together? Or one made of billions of tiny robots all… » 8/14/14 4:17pm 8/14/14 4:17pm

This Origami Robot Assembles Itself and Walks Away In Under Five Minutes

The intricate folds of origami are infinitely useful across science, from designing safer airbags to building more resilient architecture. Here, though, the same principles are being applied to a self-assembling robot that uses a tiny microcontroller to transform itself from 2D to 3D, then walks away. » 8/07/14 3:18pm 8/07/14 3:18pm

Even Scientists Are Using Google Street View to Measure Gentrification

Google Street View is an excellent way to watch your neighborhood change. In fact, we've conducted our own informal surveys of urban transformation in Detroit, San Francisco, and Brooklyn. While our investigations were based on casual observation, now a pair of sociologists from Harvard are using Google Street View… » 8/06/14 11:00am 8/06/14 11:00am

This Self-Folding Lamp Definitely Paves the Way For Real Transformers

With countless wires protruding from the side, as a lamp, this creation from researchers at Harvard is a disappointment at best. But as a demonstration of future technologies that promise to revolutionize manufacturing—like printable, self-assembling electronics—it's about as awesome as tech demos can get. » 6/04/14 12:26pm 6/04/14 12:26pm

Meet the Drone That's Guiding New Students Around MIT This Fall

Navigating a new campus is all part of the nostalgic movie montage that is freshman year of college. The changing leaves! The quaint Gothic architecture! The... drone tour guide? That’s the concept behind Skycall, a playful prototype that's designed to help visiting Harvard students find their way around MIT’s… » 9/11/13 5:20pm 9/11/13 5:20pm

Harvard Scientists Have Just Invented Human-Rat Telepathy

Humans have long wished to see through the eyes of other animals—like Bran Stark's Warg ability, say—but so far the best we've achieved is mounting GoPros on them. One Harvard research team, though, has just brought us a step closer to that goal with a prototype noninvasive brain-to-brain interface allowing test… » 8/06/13 11:30am 8/06/13 11:30am

A Real-Life Iron Man Suit That Could Be as Comfortable as Pajamas

Tony Stark used exotic composites, metal alloys, and other Hollywood-only make-believe materials to build his armor-plated Iron Man suit. But researchers at Harvard University's Wyss Institute, constrained by the limitations of reality, took a different approach with a muscle-enhancing exoskeleton that could one day… » 6/25/13 5:23pm 6/25/13 5:23pm

Printable Self-Assembling Bots Will One Day Be Our Affordable Minions

There seem to be two major camps when it comes to robotic research these days: those working to create the most capable and human-like robots with no concern over cost, and those looking to build useful robots but on the cheap. And the researchers at Harvard and MIT behind this printable inchworm, obviously fall into… » 5/08/13 10:14am 5/08/13 10:14am

Rain Man Robot Builds Ramps With Thousands of Randomly Tossed Toothpicks

In what has to be one of the most wasteful ways to traverse stairs, Harvard's Self-organizing Systems Research Group has designed a robot that builds its own access ramps by randomly flinging thousands of glue-covered toothpicks. When the pile eventually solidifies, it provides a sturdy support for the robot to climb. » 10/11/12 11:20am 10/11/12 11:20am

Flight of the (Robotic Spy Drone) Bumblebee

Harvard researchers have spent the past five years developing a robotic bee, and while it may never serve as a backup for whatever's wiping out colonies across the country, it could serve as an inconspicuous alternative to spy drones. Particularly now that they've figured out how to steer the tiny winged bots during… » 10/09/12 10:24am 10/09/12 10:24am

Super Jello Can Stretch To Extreme Lengths Without Breaking

If you wear contact lenses you're already familiar with hydrogels—a jelly-like material made from polymers soaked with water. But a new type of hydrogel developed at Harvard University promises to be far more robust than your corrective lenses, stretching up to twenty times its original length without breaking. » 9/06/12 9:20am 9/06/12 9:20am

Paper-Thin, Distortion-Free Lenses Could Make Pint-Sized Pro Cameras…

Using an ultrathin wafer of silicon and gold to focus lightwaves, researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have created a revolutionary new kind of camera lens that completely eliminates the image distortion created by traditional glass lenses. It could not only pave the way for lighter… » 8/27/12 12:41pm 8/27/12 12:41pm