A new breed of muscle-powered robots can walk on command
Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign
Robots can be very strong, fast and enduring. However, unlike in animals, none of this strength comes from muscle, instead robots mainly rely on electrical motors and other hard and generally inflexible parts. But with all the advantages that conventional robot hardware can deliver, it still does not match the ability of muscle-powered animals to provide an accurate response to different physical environments. To address this downside of robotics, a group of researchers, led by Professor Rashid Bashir, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign developed tiny walking bio-robots powered by engineered muscle tissue.
Machines give us clues about communication in the animal kingdom
Chimps, birds and bees are just a few of the many animals that communicate with each other when searching for food. Since everyone’s got to eat, communication during foraging is essential among social animals. In order to study how different types of communication strategies might evolve, the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) teamed up to conduct a joint research project. Continue reading →