A robot that can build its own tools
Thanks to new technology that enables them to create simple tools, robots may be on the verge of their own version of the Stone Age.
Soft wearable health monitor uses stretchable electronics
A wireless, wearable monitor built with stretchable electronics could allow comfortable, long-term health monitoring of adults, babies and small children without concern for skin injury or allergic reactions caused by conventional adhesive sensors with conductive gels.
LightSail 2 successfully deploys solar sail
The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft has successfully deployed the large, aluminized Mylar sail it will use to raise its orbit solely with sunlight.
Tiny vibration-powered robots are the size of the world's smallest ant
Researchers have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers. Swarms of these "micro-bristle-bots" might work together to sense environmental changes, move materials - or perhaps one day repair injuries inside the human body.
Tiny supersonic jet injection for nanoscale additive manufacturing
By energizing precursor molecules using a tiny, high-energy supersonic jet of inert gas, researchers have dramatically accelerated the fabrication of nanometer scale structures. The rapid additive manufacturing technique also allows them to produce structures with high aspect ratios. Now, a theory developed to describe the technique could lead to new applications for additive nanomanufacturing and new nanoscale materials.
Slothbot takes a leisurely approach to environmental monitoring
For environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, infrastructure maintenance and certain security applications, slow and energy efficient can be better than fast and always needing a recharge. That's where "SlothBot" comes in.
Army discovery opens path to safer batteries
Soldiers carrying 15-25 pounds of batteries could carry batteries a fraction of the weight but with the same energy and improved safety, a new study shows.
Safer electrochromic inks
Anyone who has a rear-view mirror that automatically dims blue in reaction to annoying high-beam headlights glaring from behind has seen an electrochromic film in action. Chemists have developed a new method to more safely and, by extension, easily produce these shear films, which change their color with the help of a tiny electric current. This could make them available to many industries that have not been able to feasibly use them before.
Seeing through a robot's eyes helps those with motor impairments
An interface system that uses augmented reality technology could help individuals with profound motor impairments operate a humanoid robot to feed themselves and perform routine personal care tasks such as scratching an itch and applying skin lotion. The web-based interface displays a "robot's eye view" of surroundings to help users interact with the world through the machine.
Ultra-low power chips make small robots more capable
An ultra-low power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences.
Charting a path to cheaper flexible solar cells
There's a lot to like about perovskite-based solar cells. They are simple and cheap to produce, offer flexibility that could unlock a wide new range of installation methods and places, and in recent years have reached energy efficiencies approaching those of traditional silicon-based cells. But figuring out how to produce perovskite-based energy devices that last longer than a couple of months has been a challenge.
Unleashing perovskites' potential for solar cells
Researchers have been able to decipher a key aspect of the behavior of perovskites made with different formulations: With certain additives there is a kind of "sweet spot" where greater amounts will enhance performance and beyond which further amounts begin to degrade it.
Sun in a box would store renewable energy for the grid
Engineers have come up with a conceptual design for a system to store renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and deliver that energy back into an electric grid on demand. The system may be designed to power a small city not just when the sun is up or the wind is high, but around the clock.
Machine learning simulates everyday task of dressing
Computer scientists have devised a novel computational method, driven by machine learning techniques, to successfully and realistically simulate the multi-step process of putting on clothes.
Potential health risk from 3D printer emissions
Following an in-depth, two-year research period researchers found that many desktop 3D printers generate ultrafine particles (UFPs) while in operation. UFPs may pose a health concern since they are the size of nanoparticles and may be inhaled and penetrate deep into the human pulmonary system.
Fuel cell runs on methane at practical temperatures
Fuel cells have not been particularly known for their practicality and affordability, but that may have just changed. There's a new cell that runs on cheap fuel at temperatures comparable to automobile engines and which slashes materials costs.
Robot teaches itself how to dress people
More than 1 million Americans require daily physical assistance to get dressed because of injury, disease and advanced age. Robots could potentially help, but cloth and the human body are complex.