Russia’s Federal Government announced this week that they are continuing development on their “Cyclocar” prototype, with test flights set for 2022 and production by 2024. This hybrid-electric autonomous VTOL aircraft uses four cyclical propellers for propulsion and has room for six passengers, or a maximum payload capacity of 1,323 pounds. A miniature prototype weighing in at 140-pounds has successfully been tested. Read more for a video and additional information.
Earth 300 is not only the world’s first nuclear-powered superyacht, but it’s set to become an extreme technology platform for science, exploration and innovation at sea. The vessel will incorporate various technologies, such as robotics, internet of things, artificial intelligence and quantum computing, complete with 22 state-of-the-art laboratories. Its most notable feature is a science city housed inside a large sphere. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
University of Washington students Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor took home a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize back in 2016 for smart gloves that can translate sign language into text or speech, and now, we might be one step closer to seeing them on shelves. Called “SignAloud,” these gloves are capable of recognizing hand gestures that correspond to words and phrases in American Sign Language. Each one comes equipped with sensors that record hand position and movement and send data wirelessly over Bluetooth to a computer. Read more for a video and additional information.
California-based Kernal claims that its $50,000 Flow brain-computer interface can read your mind, or to be more specific, it contains multiple sensors as well as other electronic components that measure and analyze a brain’s electrical impulses as well as blood flow at the speed of thought. This data then provides insight into how it responds to the world, enabling researchers to study mental disorders, concussions, strokes, and more. Read more for a video and additional information.
Scientists at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology have developed an ultra-thin organic material that can transform stress into electricity using the piezoelectric effect. This process basically turns mechanical movements into electricity, and the material is basically a rubber substance consisting of a composite material made of polar nanoparticles and an elastomer. Read more for another picture and additional information.
Photo credit: Kevin Yufeng Chen
Researchers, led by MIT Assistant Professor Kevin Yufeng Chen, have developed insect-like robots that could eventually be used as drones. Unlike previous robots, this one utilizes a new class of soft actuator that enables them to withstand the physical travails of real-world flight. Whether it be for pollinating crop, performing machinery inspections in cramped spaces, or even military surveillance missions, this robot is up for the task. Read more for a video and additional information.
Sure, house and building fires can be extinguished with normal fire trucks, but what about those in oil wells? That is a job best left for Big Wind, which is now owned by the MOL Group. Initially based on a Russian concept used during the Soviet times for taking out gas as well as oil well fires, it consisted of a single MiG-15 jet engine tacked onto the bed of a truck. Since that time, Big Wind has been upgraded with two MiG-21 jet turbines bolted onto a tank chassis. Read more for a couple video and additional information.
When it lands on Mars, SpaceBok will become the first powered four-legged robot to traverse the Red Planet. This quadruped robot was designed and built by a Swiss student team from ETH Zurich and ZHAW Zurich, with testing currently taking place using robotic facilities at ESA’s ESTEC technical center in the Netherlands. Unlike other robots that use at least three legs stay on the ground at all times, dynamic walking allows for gaits with full flight phases during which all legs stay off the ground. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Photo credit: Jimmy Day
MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research teams have created electronic tattoos that can control and communicate with electronic devices, like smartphones or laptops. Called DuoSkin, these temporary tattoos can be made at home as well as wash off in a day and utilize electrodes present in inexpensive gold leaf to create a conductive surface. The gold leaf and a thin layer of silicone stick to the body to create an interactive interface on the skin that when touched can indicate certain commands to your electronic devices. Read more for a video and additional information.
UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed an innovative fast, controllable snake-like soft robot capable of burrowing through sand. This paves the way for new applications of fast, precise and minimally invasive movement underground, while also laying mechanical foundations for new types of robots. Simply put, the body mimics plants and the way they navigate by growing from their tips, while the rest of the body remains stationary. Read more for a video and additional information.