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Worm in a Robot’s Body

“What?”, you ask. But it’s true! Scientists have transplanted a worm’s (Caenorhabditis elegans) nervous system into the body of a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot.

“Why?”, you ask again. OpenWorm, an organization that wants to create the first virtual organism in a computer, hopes to further understand the human brain. Understanding a simple worm’s brain is just the first step in the enormous ladder that is understanding the human brain.

The scientists reverse-engineered the worm’s neural networks using software and sensors. Apparently, the robot does act a lot like the worm: stimulation of the nose made it stop moving, and touching another sensor made it move forward.

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Skin Gun

Your skin is the largest organ of the body, and standard techniques for treating and performing large skin grafts takes weeks, even months. Patients who do die from these procedures die because of infection while waiting for the skin to heal. If you could treat skin in, let’s say, a week, that number of deaths from these procedures would be drastically lower.

Check out this cool video about the Skin Gun.

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Robotic Turtles

Since the dawn of the technological age, and even before that, researchers have been fascinated with trying to mimic nature and natural behaviors. In the underwater robotics world, the robot of choice would be a small autonomous bot that can sink and dive quickly, without a ballast system.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) say that the robot they’d choose is the robotic turtle that can think for itself and has the same behavior of a real turtle – diving, swimming, and swarming.

Scientists want to be able to create swarms of tiny autonomous robotic sea turtles that can tackle huge underwater problems like nuclear waste detection, missions often too dangerous for humans.

Wow, it’s 2015 already! Enjoy your new year celebrations, and be ready for a great year in technological innovations! Why? Well…because robots!

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The Jumping Sumo

It wasn’t until a few years ago that the French company Parrot decided to start building robots. They weren’t really specialized in that field: they mostly made Bluetooth stuff, speakers, and some fantastic headphones. Recently, they’ve expanded their new family of robots, with a wheeled sumo robot that jumps.

In the Jumping Sumo (I have no idea where the “sumo” comes from), an actuated, spring-loaded tail can repeatedly launch this bot up to 80 cm. in the air, with a battery life of around 20 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eqAlsLFzBs4

Jumping Sumo has a tiny camera mounted to the front, and can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet, with a range of over 150 feet. With a built in gyro and two huge wheels on the sides, Jumping Sumo can do a variety of tasks, from jumping over obstacles to turning 90 degrees on a dime.

While Jumping Sumo still has some work to do to catch up to Boston Dynamic’s Sand Flea, it’s still quite impressive how much tech is now available to the consumer market.

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Two-Legged Quad-copter can perch, walk, and stalk.

We’ve all seen¬†quad-copters¬†before, but one with two legs that can walk? That’s a first.

Built by Vishwa Robotics, the robot’s strong claws on the ends of two legs allow the drone to stay upright while not using any power. The legs, modeled after the American Kestrel can also be powered to walk short distances.

The company, who developed the leg add-ons for “small US air force drones,” is also testing its legs on fixed-wing drones.

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