This week scientists get their inspiration from dragonflies, cartwheeling spiders, clotting blood and more.
Inspired by the cartwheeling Moroccan desert spider, the Cebrennus rechenbergi, professor Ingo Rechenberg of the Technical University of Berlin has developed a cartwheeling robot. His Tabbot -- “Tabacha” means “spider” in the Berber language -- mimics the agile spider’s moves. “This robot may be employed in agriculture, on the ocean floor or even on Mars,” Rechenberg said.
By combining graphene with carbon nanotubes, scientists were able to make super small, flexible sensors that can be attached to anything from beetles to leaves. These delicate and unobtrusive sensors could work to collect environmental data from a range of ecosystems and even sense small amounts of dangerous airborne particles such as nerve gas.
Inspired by the way wounds heal, scientist Scott White at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invented a new kind of plastic that heals itself by oozing liquid that solidifies to fill a crack. The technique could be used to automatically repair the hulls of ships or the exteriors of cars or airplanes.
A team of artists and scientists has used focused beam etching to create the world’s smallest comic strip on a single human hair. The strip titled, “Juana Knits The Planet,” was created by German artist Claudia Puhlfurst for the annual Exceptional Hardware Software Meeting in Hamburg, Germany. The meeting hosts makers, hackers, scientists and engineers aiming to deliver on the “third industrial revolution.”
Engineer Omer Kiyani, who was shot in the face when he was 16 years old, has invented the Indentilock, a biometric device that attaches to a gun's trigger mechanism and only unlocks when an authorized finger activates it. The device, which glows in the dark and unlocks in a second, improves gun safety by reducing accidental shooting.
Asia is known for its high-speed trains that travel in excess of 300 miles per hour. Now researchers in China are working on a high-temperature superconducting magnetic levitation version they call super-maglev. In tests at Southwest Jiaotong University, an enclosed track was shown to reduce air resistance and ensure the right temperature for the track. The train could eventually reach speeds of more than 600 miles per hour!
Images posted this week to the Italian website Macitynet.it, show what appears to be a prototype iPhone 6 next to an iPhone 5. The alleged mockup of the new phone shows that it's bigger and thinner with the power button on the side rather than on top.
Urban farming is an idea that's gaining speed. To that end, Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut has come up with a concept vertical farm meant for New York City's Roosevelt Island. His Dragonfly is designed to span 132 floors and accommodate 28 different agricultural fields that yield fruit, vegetables, grains, meat and dairy. Powered by sun and wind, the entire structure is 100 percent self-sustaining.
Like we just said, urban gardening is picking up steam. This indoor farm is a collaboration between Philips and Chicago-based commercial grower Green Sense Farms. Using LED lighting developed by Philips, the farm is expected to yield 20 to 25 times more crops than those that grow outside.
Solar Roadways is a project developed by two average citizens who want to change the road. Their concept is to build roads and parking lots from solar panels that harvest sunlight to produce electricity. Made from tempered glass, the hexagonal panels are strong enough to be walked on, biked on, driven on and parked on. Embedded LEDs create lanes and also display warnings and traffic messages. A section called Cable Corridors is designed to store, treat and move storm water that typically carries pollution.