First Steps for Hector the Robot Stick Insect

Elastic joints and six legs that function like those of a stick insect: Hector is the only walking robot of its kind in the whole world. Photo: Bielefeld University

Elastic joints and six legs that function like those of a stick insect: Hector is the only walking robot of its kind in the whole world. Photo: Bielefeld University

A research team at Bielefeld University has succeeded in teaching the only robot of its kind in the world how to walk. Its first steps have been recorded in a video (see below). The robot is called Hector, and its construction is modelled on a stick insect. Inspired by the insect, Hector has passive elastic joints and an ultralight exoskeleton. What makes it unique is that it is also equipped with a great number of sensors and it functions according to a biologically inspired decentralized reactive control concept: the Walknet. Read More →

Using Robotics in Food Production Processes

This is the team behind the robot "Gribbot ", who has a special eye for chicken. From the left: Elling Ruud Øye, Ekrem Misimi and Aleksander Eilertsen at SINTEF. Photo: TYD/SINTEF

This is the team behind the robot “Gribbot “, who has a special eye for chicken. From the left: Elling Ruud Øye, Ekrem Misimi and Aleksander Eilertsen at SINTEF. Photo: TYD/SINTEF

Can an industrial robot succeed both at removing the breast fillet from a chicken, and at the same time get more out of the raw materials? This is one of the questions to which researchers working on the CYCLE project now have the answer. They have built a fully-functional robot in the lab to automate the process of extracting breast fillets from chickens. This is a task normally performed by skilled human hands. Read More →

Identifying the Principal Protein Sensor for Touch

Sense of Touch Research

A team led by biologists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has solved a long-standing mystery in neuroscience by identifying the “mechanoreceptor” protein that mediates the sense of touch in mammals. Mice that lack the Piezo2 ion-channel protein in their skin cells and nerve endings lose nearly all their sensitivity to ordinary light touch, but retain a mostly normal sensitivity to painful mechanical stimuli. Read More →

Did Life Originate in the Earth’s Crust?

Early Earth

This, at least, is what the geologist Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schreiber and the physico-chemist Prof. Dr. Christian Mayer of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany are convinced of. “It is the first model on the origin of life which includes a complete process leading from inorganic chemistry to a protocell where the problems of molecule formation, local concentration, driving force and membrane formation are being solved simultaneously” Prof. Mayer from the faculty of Chemistry says. Read More →

Novel Approach to Sex Ed

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Sexual Education is a divisive issue which is brought into focus each year as children face a new curriculum, but a university student has set out her own approach to the problem by turning her master’s project into a social commentary on sexuality. Read More →

Cosmic Battle and the Future of the Universe

Cosmologists use galaxies observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to study the nature of dark energy – CREDIT: Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Cosmologists use galaxies observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to study the nature of dark energy – CREDIT: Sloan Digital Sky Survey

New research offers a novel insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy and what the future of our universe might be. Researchers in Portsmouth and Rome have found hints that dark matter, the cosmic scaffolding on which our universe is built, is being slowly erased, swallowed up by dark energy. A cosmic battle of sorts.

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Scent of a Comet

Image taken on 26 September from a distance of 26.3 km from Comet Chury. The image shows the spectacular region of activity at the «neck» of the comet with ices sublimating and gases escaping from inside the comet. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Image taken on 26 September from a distance of 26.3 km from Comet Chury. The image shows the spectacular region of activity at the «neck» of the comet with ices sublimating and gases escaping from inside the comet. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

How does a comet smell and what can it teach us about the emergence of our solar system? Since early August, the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) has been “sniffing” the fumes of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko with its two mass spectrometers to answer these very questions. The detected chemistry in the coma of the comet is surprisingly rich at more than 400 million kilometers from the Sun.  Read More →

Vanadium Dioxide & Associative Processing

Science

Vanadium dioxide has some unusual properties, and it’s actually able to transition between being a semiconductor and a full conductor. That has begun to open up some interesting possibilities as far as material engineers are concerned. Penn State engineers recently developed an oscillating switch that uses the compound. Due to its ability to fluctuate between the two states, the substance was perfect as far as making a switch was concerned. Read More →

Where humans, animals and robots meet

Swarm Tech

To meet our everyday needs in an increasingly multifaceted technological world is a challenge that pushes researchers to find innovative tools using a multidisciplinary approach. We inhabit a globalized planet, made up of complex systems, where domains such as communications, business, healthcare, energy or transportation converge, interact and integrate. Read More →

The Future of Molecular Electronics

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The emerging field of molecular electronics could take our definition of portable to the next level, enabling the construction of tiny circuits from molecular components. In these highly efficient devices, individual molecules would take on the roles currently played by comparatively-bulky wires, resistors and transistors. Read More →