Chiton Mollusk Provides Model for New Armor Design
The motivations for using biology as inspiration to engineering vary based on the project, but the combination of flexibility and protection seen in the chiton mollusk was all the motivation necessary.
Multimaterial 3D Printing Manufactures Complex Objects, Fast
A new technique called multimaterial multinozzle 3D printing uses high-speed pressure valves to achieve rapid, continuous, and seamless switching between up to eight different printing materials, enabling the creation of complex shapes in a fraction of the time currently required using printheads that range from a single nozzle to large multinozzle arrays.
First in Flight: RoboBee Powered by Soft Muscles
Researchers have developed a resilient RoboBee powered by soft artificial muscles that can crash into walls, fall onto the floor, and collide with other RoboBees without being damaged. It is the first microrobot powered by soft actuators to achieve controlled flight.
A swifter way towards 3D-printed organs
Sacrificial ink-writing technique allows 3D printing of large, vascularized human organ building blocks.
Using CRISPR to program gels with new functions
The CRISPR genome-editing system is best-known for its potential to correct disease-causing mutations and add new genes into living cells. Now, researchers have deployed CRISPR for a completely different purpose: creating novel materials, such as gels, that can change their properties when they encounter specific DNA sequences.
Self-folding "Rollbot" paves the way for fully untethered soft robots
The majority of soft robots today rely on external power and control, keeping them tethered to off-board systems or rigged with hard components. Now, researchers have developed soft robotic systems, inspired by origami, that can move and change shape in response to external stimuli, paving the way for fully untethered soft robots.
Exosuit shows potential for wearable robots
Researchers have previously developed robotic devices for rehabilitation and other areas of life that can either assist walking or running, but no untethered portable device could efficiently do both.
Machine learning could make antibiotics more effective
Most antibiotics work by interfering with critical functions such as DNA replication or construction of the bacterial cell wall. However, these mechanisms represent only part of the full picture of how antibiotics act.
Robot autonomously builds erosion barriers
Along developed riverbanks, physical barriers can help contain flooding and combat erosion. In arid regions, check dams can help retain soil after rainfall and restore damaged landscapes.
A safe, wearable soft sensor
Children born prematurely often develop neuromotor and cognitive developmental disabilities. The best way to reduce the impacts of those disabilities is to catch them early through a series of cognitive and motor tests. But accurately measuring and recording the motor functions of small children is tricky.
Robots with sticky feet
Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take over a month per engine. Many components are located deep inside the engine and cannot be inspected without taking the machine apart, adding time and costs to maintenance. This problem is not only confined to jet engines, either; many complicated, expensive machines.
Predicting leaky heart valves with 3D printing
Researchers have created a novel 3D printing workflow that allows cardiologists to evaluate how different valve sizes will interact with each patient's unique anatomy, before the medical procedure is actually performed.
Personalized soft exosuit breaks new ground
Fully wearable soft exosuit with automatic tuning helps users save energy and walk outside over difficult terrain.
Printing with sound
Harvard University researchers have developed a new printing method that uses sound waves to generate droplets from liquids with an unprecedented range of composition and viscosity. This technique could finally enable the manufacturing of many new biopharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food and expand the possibilities of optical and conductive materials.
Soft multifunctional robots get really small
Robots could be safely deployed in difficult-to-access environments, such as in delicate surgical procedures in the human body.
Gentle robotic hand for sea life
The open ocean is the largest and least explored environment on Earth, estimated to hold up to a million species that have yet to be described. However, many of those organisms are soft-bodied - like jellyfish, squid, and octopuses - and are difficult to capture for study with existing underwater tools, which all too frequently damage or destroy them. Now, a new device safely traps delicate sea creatures inside a folding polyhedral enclosure and lets them go without harm using a novel, origami-inspired design.
Robotic cockroach can explore underwater environments
In nature, cockroaches can survive underwater for up to 30 minutes. Now, a robotic cockroach can do even better. Harvard's Ambulatory Microrobot, known as HAMR, can walk on land, swim on the surface of water, and walk underwater for as long as necessary, opening up new environments for this little bot to explore.
Mimicking human organs through bioengineering
Sensera Inc is adapting its technology for new applications in bioengineering. The company's MEMS, or MicroElectroMechanical Systems, technology is now being used at Harvard University in the creation of microfluidic devices, which mimic the functions of living human organs, including the lung, intestine, kidney, skin, bone marrow and blood-brain barrier.
Personalised robotic exosuits
When it comes to soft assistive devices — like the wearable exosuit being created by the Harvard Biodesign Lab — the wearer and the robot need to be in sync. But every human moves a bit differently, and tailoring the robot's parameters to an individual user is a time-consuming and inefficient process.