There are unsung heroes out there who have saved countless lives. Like a true superhero, their only response to those saved is a simple "I'm only doing my job."
They are the men and women of the Joint Robotics Repair Detachment (JRRD), and they keep the US military's robot armada up and running. These bots are almost exclusively tasked with handling IEDs, improvised explosive devices, and other traps and explosives.
The JRRD handles robots ranging from the single digit pound range to several tons. Repairs are not always for the IED-damaged robots. Normal wear-and-tear finds that the bots need replacement treads or wheels, cameras, motors, and faulty electronics. More extreme cases have the repair technicians replacing major portions of the bots, such as arms and other mutilated components.
The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Dr. Kiyoshi Mabuchi and his team members for their work measuring the slipperiness of banana peels. Turns out they're slipperier with the yellow side up.
Many scientists have been working battery-free ways to power wearable electronics that can replace bulky battery packs, particularly through the use of energy-harvesting materials. Now a team of researchers in China have upped the game by developing a lightweight and flexible solar cell that can be woven into two-way energy-harvesting fabric.
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