The biggest draws at Festo’s recent Hannover Fair exhibits have been biologically-inspired robotic creatures that show off cutting-edge automation technologies. Turning once again to nature for inspiration, the company’s engineers this year came up with robotic jellyfish that either swim or fly.
They may look whimsical, but the waterborne AquaJelly and airborne AirJelly make use of mechatronic design practices, control strategies and actuation methods that could have serious engineering implications. Read about them in my article, Robotic Jellyfish Swim and Fly at Hannover Fair.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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