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Category: biomimetics

Robotics | IoT

Insects Are Helping Us Develop the Future of Hearing Aids

The human ear is a miracle of mechanical evolution. It allows us to hear an astonishing range of sounds and to communicate and navigate in the world. It’s also easy to damage and difficult to repair. Hearing aids are still large, uncomfortable and as yet unable to deliver the rich and wonderful sounds we take for granted. Yet there may be a new way for us to replace damaged hearing from an unlikely source — the… read more

New Robot Stingray Is Part Biological — It’s Powered by Living Heart Cells

Researchers at Harvard University have created a biohybrid stingray. No larger than the average coin, the ray contains both biological and artificial parts—rat heart cells grown on a silicon mold fitted over a 3D printed gold skeleton. And it can move. Using a technique called optogenetics, the heart cells are genetically modified to contract when they’re hit with a beam of light.   Watch how it’s done: The heart cells are taken from two-day-old rat… read more

This Remarkable Robot Hand Is Worthy of Luke Skywalker

Most of today’s robot hands can perform easy tasks. They’re uber-practical grippers, simple and useful. But is it really so much to ask for robotic masterworks as dextrous as Luke Skywalker’s bionic hand in Star Wars? In short, yes, yes it is. It might have been a long time ago in a galaxy far far away—but most Star Wars tech is beyond us. Still, it’s hard not to get in a Star Wars state of mind watching this beautiful robot hand engineered by Yale postdoc Joseph (Zhe) Xu and the University of Washington’s Emanuel Todorov. The hand closely mimics the natural design and structure… read more

Maker Faire New York: Studying Evolution with Robots

Vassar college Professor John H. Long is a marine biologist, by training, and, now, a roboticist by trade. Essentially, he builds robot populations closely modeled on extinct (and living) fish, and then subjects them to simulated evolutionary pressure—to hype it up a bit, he “pits them against each other”—to learn things about why historical animals evolved as they did…