This week: Drinking beer with mind controlled robots, intelligent handheld robots, smartphone app keeping elections fair and open in Nigeria, disaster response robots, and biodegradable computer chips.
Paralyzed Man Sips Beer With Mind Controlled Arm
A brain implant that can decode what someone wants to do has allowed a man paralyzed from the neck down to control a robotic arm with unprecedented fluidity – and enjoy a beer at his own pace.
Intelligent Handheld Robots
What if handheld tools know what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers at the University of Bristol have developed and started studying a novel concept in robotics – intelligent handheld robots.
Historically, handheld tools have been blunt, unintelligent instruments that are unaware of the context they operate in, are fully directed by the user, and critically, lack any understanding about the task they are performing.
Smartphones and Elections in Nigeria
Of the more than 175 million people who live in Nigeria, 70 percent of them are young. And among those millions are more than 125 million mobile phone subscribers, the largest such market in Africa.
So, as Nigeria turned to a crucial national election last month, a group of political activists selected a smartphone application might galvanize a few million of those citizens and guarantee a free and fair election in a nation not known for its transparency.
Disaster Response Robots Face Off
This month, 25 robots will traverse rubble, saw through walls, and drive a vehicle through a simulated disaster zone in the DARPA Robotics Challenge final showdown. The three-year competition–inspired by the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident–is motivating the development of robotic technologies for use in hazardous environments. (A $2 million prize for the team behind the winning robot doesn’t hurt.) Just as the 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge led to self-driving-vehicle technology, this event could lead to dexterous robots for disaster response, advanced manufacturing, and warehouse automation.
Biodegradable Computer Chips Made From Wood
Portable electronics — typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials — are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers’ pursuit of the next best electronic gadget. In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, scientists have develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!