Termites are some of nature’s most magnificent architects that can easily build complex mounds that exceed their own size by several orders of magnitude – occasionally reaching up to nine meters in height. Paradoxically enough, each of these tiny insects does not have even a remote idea of what kind of structure it is building, nor does it receive orders from any termite authority. In fact, the termites’ architectural prowess makes no sense except in the context of swarm intelligence.
The December DARPA trialssaw possibly the biggest congregation of state-of-the-art humanoid robots ever. The DARPA Robotics Challenge was launched in 2012, after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown vividly demonstrated how unpractical our most advanced humanoid robots were for disaster response. Since then, things have improved considerably: robots have learned to climb ladders, open doors, turn valves and even drive vehicles. But are they ready to survive a full-scale rescue mission? Continue reading →
Researchers explore the state of the art of Biomimetics
Does it make sense to study the living to make machines? Or explore the intricate architecture of a shell to design a building? Within this field, scientists look to nature for their best ideas—we’re talking about Biomimicry. It’s a scientific field that blends a flow of ideas from the biological sciences into engineering. Biomimetic research is bringing together scientists from disciplines such as Neuroscience, Cell Biology, Computation, Psychology, and many others to produce new technologies that make sense in today’s ever-changing world. Continue reading →
Scientists at Seoul National University (SNU) have recently created a robot inspired by tiny blood-sucking bugs: fleas! Pesky as these little insects may be, they’ve got an incredible physical ability that not even an Olympic high-jumper could compete with — these guys can jump over 200 hundred times their own body length! See for yourself in NewScientist’s video above. Continue reading →
Electro sensors inspired by fish who navigate their way through murky waters, robots that dance with the honeybees, and artificial muscles and blood vessels making their way into modern medicine. These are just a few of the research topics that were Continue reading →
As humans, we may take our sense of smell for granted but for many of the other members of the animal kingdom, either land-roaming or water-dwelling, a keen sense of smell serves as an invaluable tool! While cetaceans like dolphins have no sense of smell, some species of fish, such as the salmon, use theirs to guide them back to their native streams or to assist them in maintaining social hierarchy. Most of us are well aware that a dog’s nose could out Continue reading →
All sorts of robots are used to help us explore outer space but bigger isn’t always better when it comes to extraterrestrial explorers. These machines require loads of energy and last time we checked, outer space lacks electrical outlets…. Continue reading →