Squishy Robot Uses Explosions to Jump
Soft robotics is a rapidly growing field and one of the latest designs is a squishy robot that can jump around. Spectrum.ieee.org details an innovative soft robot created by a research team at Harvard University that uses explosions to jump in the air. Presented at the IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), in Chicago last week, the soft bot is made from silicon and has three limbs. It has a built-in “explosive actuator” that uses a reaction between butane and oxygen to launch it into the air. The odd looking robot’s legs are pneumatically inflated to control the direction of the jump. It then gets an injection of fuel to a container on its underside. A spark is created to ignite the butane-oxygen mixture, creating a mini explosion. This launches the untethered device 0.6 meter into the air.
Google’s Smart Silverware Counteracts Hand Tremors
One of the symptoms of medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease is hand tremors. This can make it extremely difficult for patients to manipulate food utensils. According to a Forbes report, Google has developed a set of silverware that can counteract hand tremors by utilizing a new technology known as active cancellation of tremor (ACT). The utensils have built-in sensors that detect movements as they happen. The sensors simultaneously produce rapid counter-movements to reduce cancel out the debilitating tremors.
Mixed-Reality Technology to Take Care of Wounded Soldiers
Remember playing the board game Operation when you were a kid? A research team at Florida University is using the same principle as the game in a “mixed-reality” setting to train military doctors, according to a report at WUFT.org. The simulators combine the virtual with the physical to allow doctors to practice medical procedures that require precision, such as delivering anesthesia to a patient with broken ribs, where imprecision with the needle could be fatal. Other simulations use sections of the human body created using a 3-D printer, on which doctors can practice other delicate procedures.