Seahorse Tails Inspire Robotic Arm Applications

Seahorse Tails Inspire Robotic Arm Applications

University of California, San Diego researchers have noted some interesting behaviors regarding seahorses. Since they are composed of bony sliding plates, their tails are extremely flexible. So malleable, in fact, that they can be flattened to half their normal size before causing irreversible injuries. This natural design has led to inspiration for medical use and other field applications. The team of scientists and engineers involved in the project are looking at the way seahorses move in order to replicate the motion in a robotic arm. Other animals were looked at for potentially copying their armored exteriors, but the seahorse was… read more

Has Your Home Got The Smarts?

Smartphone, Smart Home

Over the years, we’ve seen numerous variations of smart devices for your home, each one optimized for use with a remote control or smartphone. Often times, however, these units are very expensive and hardly ideal for the average consumer. Early iterations were limited by their lack of wi-fi and Bluetooth support, meaning they were ancient devices before they even hit the market. Today, a company called SmartThings has developed an affordable and utilitarian unit in each home. Taking advantage of the project funding website Kickstarter, SmartThings successfully reached and surpassed their entire funding goal. The device they’ve created is called… read more

And You Thought GIFs Were Outdated

And You Thought GIFs Were Outdated

Graphics Interchange Format, or more commonly known as GIFs, was presented to web users in 1987. They were created by Steve Wilhite, an employee for a company called CompuServe which happened to be the first major online service provider in the U.S. This was an upgrade from the black and white standard format that was available, and back in the day it was an instant hit. Wilhite has been honored with a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions. This video summarizes the history of animated GIFs. Progressing to the animated GIFs that have been spread around by online users… read more

Control Your Computer with the Flick of a Hand

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  A new innovation in technological wizardry manifests in the form of a small motion controller, from Leap Motion, which is indeed a device worthy of spectacle. The controller allows one to send commands to their computer with the flick of the wrist or swift movement of their hand. Thus interacting with computers through natural movements, while depleting the need to touch a mouse. Aside from improved sanitation, this removes the restrictions of button- and joystick-operated controllers. Beyond large, sweeping gestures, the Leap Motion controller has been programmed to sense the motions of pointing, reaching, and grabbing. Enabling controls to be… read more

Solar Powered Drone Acts as “Atmospheric Satellite”

Solar Powered Drone Acts as "Atmospheric Satellite"

The future of communications and satellite imagery may belong to a new breed of aircraft – solar powered drones that can stay at high altitudes for up to five years at a time. Functions that previously relied on low-orbit satellites could gradually be transitioned to these lower cost “atmospheric satellites” that can fly at altitudes between 60,000 and 70,000 feet above the Earth. Titan Aerospace is currently building a long-endurance solar drone, the Solara 50, which is expected to launch next year, with plans for a bigger version in the works. The Solar 50 features a 50 meter wingspan and… read more

Scientists Can 3-D Print You A New Body Part

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Prosthetic limbs have long been a part of society, dating back to the Egyptian times, traveling through to fictional Captain Ahab and his notorious peg leg, and now to the modern day world. However, yesterday’s scary-looking body part is tomorrow’s 3-D printed miracle. There are a wide variety of items you can print using a 3-D printer, and we can now add “body parts” to the list. Here are a few limbs we can create in a lab and attach to anybody who needs it. Ears It’s an absolute tragedy when somebody loses an ear, or is born with a… read more

An Aquaponic Farm in a Shipping Container

An Aquaponic Farm in a Shipping Container

To showcase what can be done for local food production in an urban setting anywhere in the city, Kate Hofman and Tom Webster built a combination vertical farm and aquaponics system into an upcycled shipping container, called the GrowUp Box. “We want to show how fresh food can be grown anywhere in the city in a way that is ecologically sustainable and commercially scalable. For us, aquaponics is the technology that can make that vision a reality – by producing fresh fish and vegetables in a recirculating farming system.” – GrowUp Box With the help of some crowdfunding on Kickstarter,… read more

Art Piece Uses Industrial Design to Mimic Living System

Art Piece Uses Industrial Design to Mimic Living System

A new art installation at Espace EDF Fondation uses biomimetic components made from materials more associated with industrial design than with biology to create a “living” system. The piece, called Radiant Soil, is by architect Phillip Beesley, who describes it this way: Radiant Soil forms interlinking clouds of industrial design biomimetic components of polymer, metal and glass, arranged in suspended filter layers contain a near-living carbon-capture metabolism. Frond-clusters fitted with shape-memory alloy mechanisms react to viewers as they approach, flexing and setting off bursts of light that stimulate the protocells and trigger chains of motion that ripple throughout the environment…. read more

How To: Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle

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DIY’ers, we’re back again with another awesome tutorial on how to build your very own electric motorcycle. This time around, it’s a fairly simple 3-Step process: Step 1: Watch the video. Step 2: Follow the steps from the video. Step 3: Motor around town on your wicked awesome electric bike and inspire a DIY eco-project following. But wait, there’s more! You’ll practically become a legend among the other town-folk who elected to go the simple route and actually buy their bikes. You’ll learn important practical skills, including electrical engineering, soldering, welding, and wiring, along with feeling a tremendous amount of self-accomplishment… read more

Crowdsourcing the Shower of the Future

Hollow Water Showers

With the current pressures on water supply systems around the world, and the emphasis to conserve water so as to not waste this precious resource, having a better shower could go a long way toward changing water use habits in the developed world. And one company wants your help to design the shower of the future, offering cash prizes and a trip to London for the winners. Do you think you can design a more efficient, smarter shower, capable of being not only enjoyable, but also more sustainable? Then you might want to hit the drawing board and come up… read more