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'Soft robots' could camouflage themselves one minute, and stand out, the next

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TechAndComputer (Aug. 16, 2012) — A team of researchers led by George Whitesides, the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, has already broken new engineering ground with the development of soft, silicone-based robots inspired by creatures like starfish and squid. Share This: See Also: Matter & EnergyRobotics ResearchEngineeringMedical TechnologyComputers & MathRoboticsArtificial IntelligenceComputer ProgrammingReference Robotic surgeryNanoroboticsRobot calibrationIndustrial robot

Now, they're working to give those robots the ability to disguise themselves.

As demonstrated in an August 16 paper published in Science, researchers have developed a system --...

Soft autonomous robot inches along like an earthworm: Flexible design enables body-morphing capability

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TechAndComputer (Aug. 9, 2012) — Earthworms creep along the ground by alternately squeezing and stretching muscles along the length of their bodies, inching forward with each wave of contractions. Snails and sea cucumbers also use this mechanism, called peristalsis, to get around, and our own gastrointestinal tracts operate by a similar action, squeezing muscles along the esophagus to push food to the stomach. Share This: See Also: Matter & EnergyRobotics...

Touch your philodendron and control your computer: Technology turns any plant into an interactive device

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TechAndComputer (Aug. 3, 2012) — A yucca plant might make your office desk look nice, but with a new technology developed at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, that little shrub could possibly control your computer. And the jade plant nearby? Put your hand close to it and your iPod could start playing your favorite tunes. Share This: See Also: Matter & EnergyTechnologyMedical TechnologyEngineeringComputers & MathComputer ScienceInformation TechnologyArtificial...

Handy technologies for dextrous robots

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TechAndComputer (Aug. 2, 2012) — A team of EU-funded researchers has developed the world's first human-sized, five-fingered robotic hand that can learn to grasp and manipulate a range of delicate and oddly shaped objects just as humans do. Share This: See Also: Matter & EnergyRobotics ResearchTechnologyEngineeringComputers & MathRoboticsArtificial IntelligenceVideo GamesReference Robotic surgeryIndustrial robotNanoroboticsHumanoid...

Identifying dolphins with technology

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TechAndComputer (July 31, 2012) — Dolphins all look pretty similar. So it can be problematic when your job requires you to identify individual dolphins in order to study their behavioral and ecological patterns. Photo-identification techniques -- recognizing a particular dolphin by the nicks, scars and notches on its dorsal fin -- are useful, but tedious.

"Researchers photograph dolphins in their natural surroundings and compare new dorsal fin photographs against a catalogue of...