Monthly Archives January 2016

This Homemade Robot Can Solve A Rubik’s Cube In One Second

So a LEGO robot might be able to monster a Rubik’s cube in a little over three seconds, but put together a dedicated machine from a more flexible part list and well, the popular multi-coloured puzzle gets dominated. Try 1.019 seconds on for size.

A pair of guys on YouTube by the names of Jay Flatland and Paul Rose built there own mechanical solver using an array of webcams, 3D printed frames and stepper motors. There’s nothing inherently complex about the setup — in fact, it looks like more work went into the software:


As you can see in the image, the program takes the image input from the cameras and converts it into a “unrolled” version for human consumption, as well as something the solver can understand...

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Henry Sapiecha

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A Firefighter Drone That Flies And Crawls Up Walls

firefighting drone image

The FAROS can endure the heat of over 1,000° Celsius from butane gas and ethanol aerosol flames for over one minute. Credit KAIST

The 1974 American disaster film Towering Inferno depicted well the earnest struggles of firefighters engaged in ending a fire at a 138-story skyscraper. To this day, fires at high-rise buildings are considered one of the most dangerous disasters.

Skyscraper fires are particularly difficult to contain because of their ability to spread rapidly in high-occupant density spaces and the challenge of fighting fires in the buildings’ complex vertical structure. Accessibility to skyscrapers at the time of the fire is limited, and it is hard to assess the initial situation.

A research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST...

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Killer robots. Invisible drones: not science fiction any more. Welcome to war.

Giving your soldiers superior technology has always been a significant factor in winning wars, but now it’s the technology itself threatening to do the killing.

drone soldiers in front of statue image

Time is running out for the UN to enforce a ban on invisible weapons and killer robots.

Photo: michael mucci

Autonomous killer robots that can hunt down humans and make their own decisions about who to exterminate are not science fiction or a problem for the future. They are a threat now.

Any doubt about that can be removed by reading US Department of Defence budgets covering the past 12 years and by talking to scientists at the forefront of military-funded research. Having done so, the following scenario becomes frighteningly real.

I can assure you a lot more innocent civilians will be killed by drones if we take humans out of...

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Microbots Individually Controlled Using ‘Mini Force Fields’

microbots info page image

This image shows how two microbots can be independently controlled when operating within a group, an advance aimed at using the tiny machines for applications such as advanced manufacturing and biomedical research.

Researchers are using a technology likened to “mini force fields” to independently control individual microrobots operating within groups, an advance aimed at using the tiny machines in areas including manufacturing and medicine.

Until now it was only possible to control groups of microbots to move generally in unison, said David Cappelleri, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

“The reason we want independent movement of each robot is so they can do cooperative manipulation tasks,” he said. “Think of ants...

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Disney Research creates drone car that can climb walls

Disney’s new ‘spider-drone’ can climb up walls

VertiGo, a Disney-developed robot that uses propellers to climb up walls, is the latest in gravity-defying robot technology.

If you’ve ever piloted a remote-controlled car, you’re familiar with the question we all ask ourselves after a couple of minutes of zooming around over horizontal surfaces: “Why can’t this thing climb straight up a vertical wall and scoot around like a fly or a gecko or some sort of tree frog?”

Well be disappointed by devices that obey the laws of physics no longer, because Disney Research Zurich and Swiss university ETH have concocted VertiGo, a prototype wall-gripping robot that appears to do just that.

In the age of consumer quadcopters, it’s perhaps not all that surprising to see a small device that ca...

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