The octobot is the worlds first autonomous soft-bodied robot

August 26, 2016 by  
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A silicone robot completely free of electronic parts may sound futuristic, but that’s exactly what researchers at Harvard University have created. Based on the shape and motion of the octopus, the “octobot” is the world’s first completely soft robot , and its motion is completely autonomous. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vkQ3SBwuU4 To create the octobot, Harvard researchers used a combination of 3D printing , soft lithography, and molding to shape the robot’s body from silicone. Rather than a traditional battery or electronic components, the small robot is pneumatic-based, meaning it’s powered by gas under pressure. The robot uses a small amount of hydrogen peroxide as fuel. A chemical reaction to platinum within the bot creates gas which inflates the octobot’s tentacles like balloons. A microfluidic logic circuit controls the flow of fuel in the octobot’s limbs, inflating four at a time to propel the device forward. Related: Tiny robot caterpillar can push objects ten times its size At present, the octobot can’t do much – scientists are not yet able to steer it in any particular direction as it moves, and the liquid fuel only lasts between four and eight minutes. However, future models will include sensors that allow the robot to detect nearby objects and steer toward or away from them. It’s a fascinating proof of concept: the robots of the future may look like nothing like what we’ve envisioned. Via Slashdot Images via Harvard University

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The octobot is the worlds first autonomous soft-bodied robot

The world’s ‘Third Pole’ is melting because of climate-warming black carbon

August 26, 2016 by  
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Global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels is heating up the North Pole and South Pole, causing the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to melt. The rapidly retreating glaciers could have far-reaching consequences for the planet, as they threaten to raise sea levels, change global ocean circulation patterns and alter global atmospheric circulation patterns. But there is another worrisome trend related to climate change that is found in the so-called “Third Pole” located in Central Asia. The snow-covered Himalaya-Hindu-Kush mountains and the Tibetan Plateau contain the largest ice mass on the planet outside of the polar regions and they are also experiencing dramatic melt, threatening the water supply for more than a billion people.

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The world’s ‘Third Pole’ is melting because of climate-warming black carbon

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