Tiny robot caterpillar can push objects ten times its size

August 23, 2016 by  
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Physics researchers at the University of Warsaw have created an innovative soft robot that packs a powerful punch for its size. Despite being only 15 millimeters long, this powerful machine can carry loads up to 10 times larger than itself. While soft robots inspired by caterpillars have been designed before, it’s been a challenge to build them at a natural scale due to the available parts simply being too large and inflexible. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wulyMNiakpU That’s where this robot is different. At first glance, it appears to simply be a thin, transparent piece of plastic. However, when exposed to light , the body contracts in a wave pattern which moves it forward. The secret to this motion is in the light-sensitive elastomer the robot is made of, which is aligned in a specific molecular pattern. Related: Robo Raven Robot Can Flap its Wings Like a Real Bird The researchers could even change the lighting conditions in order to made the robot perform a variety of different actions . Not only can it haul a cargo, but it can also crawl through small crevices and climb up slopes. The robot is further controlled with a spatially modulated laser beam . Using what they’ve learned of new fabrication techniques and design strategies, the Warsaw team hopes to further develop the technology and create soft robots capable of swimming and even flying. Their findings have been published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials . + Faculty of Physics University of Warsaw Via Engadget Images via FUW and coniferconifer

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Tiny robot caterpillar can push objects ten times its size

Tropical solar-powered home boasts spectacular views of the ocean and jungle

August 23, 2016 by  
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While sustainability is a key objective of the two-story Terrace House, the architects also strived to make the home as comfortable and beautiful as possible. The 300-square-meter building’s remote location on Puntarenas necessitated the design of semi-prefabricated steel members lightweight enough to be brought on-site and preassembled with local construction methods. The use of lightweight materials and careful placement of the house against the back of a steep hill helped minimize site disturbance . To minimize dependence on air conditioning despite the region’s hot and humid climate, the architects created computer models to analyze local wind patterns and the solar trajectory. That data informed an airy and open house layout that uses passive solar design and cross ventilation to stay naturally cool. Photovoltaic panels power the home’s electricity needs, while solar thermal technology heats the water. All appliances and fixtures in the house were chosen for their energy efficient features. Rainwater is collected from all roof structures and reused throughout the home. Related: Tropical Casa Flotanta Hovers Lightly Above the Pacific in Costa Rica The most open areas of the home are placed closest to the ocean and jungle views, while the bedrooms and bathrooms are tucked to the rear. “The result is a series of interwoven terraces that relate to each other in all dimensions creating not only an internal dynamic interaction between levels, but also varied and sometimes unexpected relationships between the inhabitants and the natural landscape,” write the architects. “In these interstitial terrace spaces, which are never truly inside or out, architecture comes to foster the relationship, enjoyment, and appreciation of the natural world by the inhabitants.” Most of the construction materials were locally and ethically sourced, such as the certified Melina wood, and assembled by local workers. + Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture Images via Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture , by Andres Garcia Lachner

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Tropical solar-powered home boasts spectacular views of the ocean and jungle

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