Inspired by cell biology, European researchers have created the world’s first shape-shifting robot made of many modules, which could lead to new applications in fields ranging from medicine and space exploration to education and entertainment.
On display at IST 2004 in The Hague and being showcased on 17 November in Tokyo, the HYDRA project’s robots have broken new ground in robotics and artificial intelligence through a simple but highly effective design that allows the devices to configure themselves into almost any shape and perform a variety of functions. “We have shown that electronic artefacts can change not only their behaviour but also their shape during their lifetime, something that I don’t think most people believed was possible,” explains Henrik Hautop Lund, a professor at the Maersk Institute in Denmark and the coordinator of the HYDRA project, which was funded under the European Commission’s IST Programme.
Over the last three years the Maersk Institute, together with LEGO, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Zurich, developed two types of spherical modules, the ATRON and the HYDRON that can operate autonomously, communicate with each other and be programmed to take on virtually any shape and behaviour. The HYDRON was developed for use in fluids while the ATRON, which is the module being presented widely this week, was created for terrestrial use. “We based the design on the way biological cells interact, how they move, die and reconstruct themselves, and we emulated that in the modules, which are essentially building blocks for robotic devices that look very much like a string of atoms or cells when connected together,” Lund says. “These are the first robots of their kind, especially in terms of the simplicity of their design and their ability to change shape.”
Energy hybrid: Battery meets super capacitor
01.12.2016 | Technische Universität Graz
Tailor-Made Membranes for the Environment
30.11.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy