Robotic hands aren't typically known for being delicate or spontaneous. They're more likely to be part of an assembly line, or specifically designed to do one task perfectly, over and over. But those days may be waning. A new robotic hand printed out of silicone by MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) can pick up just about any object, no matter how delicate or strangely sized. The results were released today, and really, it can pick up any small object:
No matter what country they're in, people living in rural places often don't have access to high-quality medical care. Everything from emergency facilities, to pharmacies, to sophisticated labs for tests are often farther away. But according to a study published recently in the free-to-read journal PLOS One, drones could help bring better medical care to rural communities all over the world.
Last week, the FAA granted the NFL legal permission to fly drones. The FAA's authorized over a thousand businesses to fly drones, but the NFL is the first major sporting league granted such permission. The rights extend to data collection and video capture, but are limited to times when teams aren't playing. The FAA specifically noted that drones are safer than manned aircraft for this, saying:
The secret roach's name was Death's Head, aka Blaberus Cranifer, and it came from Russia on a mission. It is a small, mechanical beast, styled after the death's head cockroach. According to Russian state-owned Sputnik news site, it was built in seven months by a group at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, for a vague Russian organization. That vague group's requirements? “It should be externally similar to a cockroach, it must have the physical size of a [very large] cockroach and it should have the behavior pattern as close to a living cockroach as possible.” Here's what that looks like:
Bridges are a millennia-old answer to the challenge “you can't get there from here.” While techniques and styles of bridge building have changed over the centuries, the fundamental problem remains: how to connect land over a gaping chasm of some sort. Typically, the answer involves people working on both sides, building a structure that meets in the middle. What if, instead of a huge infrastructure project, a bridge could be built without any humans needing to cross to the other side until the bridge is complete? Here, a few drones do just that:
There is beauty in simple machines. StarIETH is a paired dog-like robot with a tethered quadcopter on its back, a shambling infant of a robot flying a kite or a very strong fairy pulling a pug forward. None of the individual components themselves look slick, and the movements are choppy, but the combined effect, aided in no small part by giant cartoon eyes on the robot dog, is of two machines playing together. Watch the drone land in its designated resting disk:
What you are about to see is a video of a father using a drone to remove a child's tooth. Let me be very clear: this is not something Popular Science endorses or condones, as the combination of child, tooth, rope, and quadcopter could go very poorly. That said, just freakin' look at this thing: