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Category: Electrical Engineering

Biohybrid soft robot with self-stimulating skeleton outswims other biobots

Side view of a swimming biobot developed at IBEC, consisting of a muscle cell-laden hydrogel and a spring-like skeleton. These biobots can self-train, showing surprising speed and strength. Credit: IBEC A team of researchers working at Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology has developed a skeletal-muscle-based, biohybrid soft robot that can swim faster than other skeletal-muscle-based biobots. In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, the group describes building and testing their soft robot. As scientists continue to improve…

Mechanical engineers develop new high-performance artificial muscle technology

NAU mechanical engineer Michael Shafer and graduate student Diego Higueras-Ruiz conducting a visual inspection of their new compliant robotic arm actuated with cavatappi artificial muscles. Credit: Northern Arizona University In the field of robotics, researchers are continually looking for the fastest, strongest, most efficient and lowest-cost ways to actuate, or enable, robots to make the movements needed to carry out their intended functions. The quest for new and better actuation technologies and ‘soft’ robotics is often based on principles of…

Fast mitigation of power grid instability risks

Credit: Pavel Odinev / Skoltech Skoltech scientists in collaboration with researchers from the University of Arizona and the Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed an approach that allows power grids to return to stability fast after demand response perturbation. Their research at the crossroads of demand response, smart grids, and power grid control was published in the journal Applied Energy. Power grids are complex systems that manage the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical power to consumers, also called loads.…

New research reveals secret to Jupiter’s curious aurora activity — ScienceDaily

Auroral displays continue to intrigue scientists, whether the bright lights shine over Earth or over another planet. The lights hold clues to the makeup of a planet’s magnetic field and how that field operates. New research about Jupiter proves that point — and adds to the intrigue. Peter Delamere, a professor of space physics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, is among an international team of 13 researchers who have made a key discovery related to the aurora…

Robotics Expert: Gen Z Will Usher in Era of Advanced Robots

Today’s robots are good at performing single tasks. You can buy an autonomous robot, for instance, to vacuum your house. A true single helper robot that can vacuum, cook and wash the dishes? That could be a while, but Dale Musser believes Generation Z will usher in the era of advanced robotics. “This is the autonomous systems automation generation,” he said. “This is the generation that is going to have to implement it and work with it and look at…

Robo-starfish aims to enable closer study of aquatic life

Credit: MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab Biologists have long experienced the challenges of documenting ocean life, with many species of fish proving quite sensitive to the underwater movements of humans. As a possible solution, computer scientists have been developing special marine robots that can stealthily move among their carbon-based counterparts: in 2018, for example, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) fabricated a soft robotic fish that autonomously swam with real fish along the…

Smart windows regulate right light in the greenhouse

The smart windows can switch their transparency automatically with changes in external temperature or light intensity. Credit: Bart van Overbeeke Greenhouses can allow the growth of high quality crops in otherwise unproductive areas. Important, as the world population is growing and the land area appropriate for farming is limited. One thing that is still difficult to control, even in high-tech greenhouses, is the light that reaches the crops. TU/e-researcher Gilles Timmermans created smart windows to regulate intensity and spectral content…

Perfecting self-driving cars: Can it be done?

by Ekaterina Komendantskaya, Luca Arnaboldi and Matthew Daggitt, The Conversation Credit: posteriori/Shutterstock Robotic vehicles have been used in dangerous environments for decades, from decommissioning the Fukushima nuclear power plant or inspecting underwater energy infrastructure in the North Sea. More recently, autonomous vehicles from boats to grocery delivery carts have made the gentle transition from research centers into the real world with very few hiccups. Yet the promised arrival of self-driving cars has not progressed beyond the testing stage. And in…

Understanding fruit fly behavior may be next step toward autonomous vehicles

Credit: Northwestern University With over 70% of respondents to a AAA annual survey on autonomous driving reporting they would fear being in a fully self-driving car, makers like Tesla may be back to the drawing board before rolling out fully autonomous self-driving systems. But new research from Northwestern University shows us we may be better off putting fruit flies behind the wheel instead of robots. Drosophila have been subjects of science as long as humans have been running experiments in…

Head-mounted device on free-moving mice reveals how regions of the brain interact — ScienceDaily

Researchers from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities College of Science and Engineering and Medical School have developed a unique head-mounted mini-microscope device that allows them to image complex brain functions of freely moving mice in real time over a period of more than 300 days. The device, known as the mini-MScope, offers an important new tool for studying how neural activity from multiple regions of the outer part of the brain, called the cortex, contribute to behavior, cognition and…