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We're a little crazy, about science!

Robotics

Artificial muscle for soft robotics: Low voltage, high hopes

soft robotics

soft robotics

Soft robots do a lot of things well but they’re not exactly known for their speed. The artificial muscles that move soft robots, called actuators, tend to rely on hydraulics or pneumatics, which are slow to respond and difficult to store.

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Are humans the new supercomputer?

supercomputer intelligence

supercomputer intelligence

As a society we have become incredibly reliant on technology, from spell check to GPS, we are slowly being replaced by computers. Need more proof, a computer can routinely beat us at chess, an AI wrote portions of a book that went on to almost win a writing contest, and if you want scary robotics enter Boston dynamics spot.  So the question is,  have we outlived our place in the world? Not quite. Welcome to the front line of research in cognitive skills, quantum computers and gaming.

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The impact of powered prosthetic failures on the user

Helen-Huang-Image1

Huang’s work focuses on technology that translates electrical signals in human muscle into signals that control powered prosthetic limbs. Photo credit goes to: Helen Huang.

 

Prosthetics have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. With the ongoing wars in the middle east the need for better prosthetics technologies has become more apparent, to this end we now have prosthetics that will allow a person to “feel”, we even have motorized prosthetics that will help allow a more fluid walk, but while powered lower limb prosthetics hold promise for improving the mobility of amputees, errors in the technology may also cause some users to stumble or fall. Because of this, new research examines exactly what happens when these technologies fail, with the goal of developing a new generation of more robust powered prostheses.

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Cyberdyne, Google, and the Rise of Drones

terminator hand

Set in a futuristic dystopian world where humans are pitted against advanced robots controlled by an AI, Terminator plays out like the hollywood blockbuster it turned out to be. Set to pit a person’s innate fear of the unknown against the fear of technology itself, it was a big hit.

Any good apocalyptic movie needs to have a grounding in reality before it can take the leap from ordinary to extraordinary, but when events slowly play out, that are eerily similar to the movie, should you be worried?

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It’s a swarm… of robots?!

roboticconst

The rather cute TERMES robots doing their thing. Photo credit goes to Eliza Grinnell, Harvard SEAS

You’ve seen a swarm of bees, you’ve seen a swarm of ants. But now, a research group at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have introduced us to a new kind of swarm, a swarm of robots.

The idea stems from, of all things, termites.

Normally, when you have any sort of large scale building operation, like a home for example, you have someone in charge telling each individual what to do. There are specialized functions for each person, a electrician, a carpenter, etc and if one of them walks out on the project, the project is stalled until they are replaced.

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