Video Friday: This NASA Robot Uses “Fishhook Grippers” to Climb Rock Walls

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): ICRES 2019 – July 29-30, 2019 – London, U.K. DARPA SubT Tunnel Circuit – August 15-22, 2019 – Pittsburgh, Pa., USA IEEE Africon 2019 – September 25-27, 2019 – Accra, Ghana ISRR 2019 – October 6-10, 2019 – Hanoi, Vietnam Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.

Automated system generates robotic parts for novel tasks

An automated system developed by MIT researchers designs and 3-D prints complex robotic parts called actuators that are optimized according to an enormous number of specifications. In short, the system does automatically what is virtually impossible for humans to do by hand.   In a paper published today in Science Advances, the researchers demonstrate the system by fabricating actuators — devices that mechanically control robotic systems in response to electrical signals — that show different black-and-white images at different angles. One actuator, for instance, portrays a Vincent van Gogh portrait when laid flat. Tilted an angle when it’s activated, however, it portrays the famous Edvard Munch painting “The Scream.” The researchers also 3-D printed floating water lilies with petals equipped with arrays of actuators and hinges that fold up in response to magnetic fields run through conductive fluids. The actuators are made from a patchwork of three different materials, each Continue reading Automated system generates robotic parts for novel tasks

First the E-Bike, Next the Flying Car

This company thinks its 3D-printing technology for carbon fiber can do anything Carbon fiber composites are incredibly strong for their weight; that’s why they’re key to the newest aircraft designs. However, they’re only strong in one direction, so they’re generally layered or woven in grid patterns before being shaped into structures. That means one set of fibers carries the load some of the time, and another set carries it at other times—which is not the most efficient use of the material. In 2014, Hemant Bheda was CEO of Quantum Polymers, a company that makes extruded plastic rods, plates, and other shapes for machined parts. The company used chopped up carbon fiber in some of its materials, but a potential customer asked for a material which would require continuous carbon fiber to be embedded in a polymer material in carefully laid paths that would give the material super mechanical properties. “I said that we Continue reading First the E-Bike, Next the Flying Car