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Air-Powered Lego Car

What do you get when you mix $20,000 and half a million legos?

They see me rollin’, they hatin’

Why, of course! An air powered Lego car!

Build by Raul the Inventor from Romania, this car, (including all the engine parts) is made entirely from lego pieces. Running on compressed air, this car can drive up to 20 km. The engine has 256 cylinders, and over 100,000 parts. But this car isn’t meant for driving around. It’s meant to be an example of what can be done with air, and to serve as a catalyst for more innovation in this field of renewable energy.

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Self Guiding Bullets

Snipers are often regarded as the most dangerous person on the battlefield. With this technology from DARPA, they are just that much deadlier.

DARPA’s new self-guiding .50 caliber sniper rifle round.

Often faced with moving targets and harsh winds, snipers risk giving away their platoon’s position with every shot they take, and need to make their shots and accurate as possible. DARPA has recently developed a new technology to help them do just that. DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program (what a fitting name) created a system that uses real-time optical guidance to steer the bullet into a moving target, regardless of weather.

In many live-fire tests, it was shown that even the most novice of marksmen could hit moving targets with this 50 caliber round, and this project looks like it has hit the bulls eye.

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4D Implant Saves Babies

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3 baby boys are still breathing today thanks to a new 3D printed 4D bio-material medical implant. Suffering from a severe form of tracheobronchomalacia, which causes the windpipe to regularly collapse, the three boys were each implanted with a custom splint to keep the windpipe open.

The 3 different children were given 3 custom designs, all with the same materials and printing.

Using this new bio-material that can change shape over time (the 4th dimension), scientists say that they can print hundreds of these splints, and not worry about having to switch them out, to allow for the child’s growth. And while the splints will dissolve eventually, infants’ bronchi (the air passages connecting the windpipe and lungs) by then will have nearly doubled in diameter from the original diameter.

The boys who got the implant no longer need the aid of sedatives, narcotics, or paralytics to keep breathing.

Made from polycaprolactone, which harmlessly dissolves in the body over time, the not-dog bun shaped splints are currently being approved by the FDA for a 30 child clinical trial.

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Industrial Legos

We all, to some extent, grew up tinkering with Lego bricks, building cascading towers, cool little vehicles, or just trying to get that annoying little flat piece unstuck from another block. Ugh, just thinking about it makes me frustrated. 

Well, now you can relive your childhood with the Uberblox! Consisting of aluminum nodes, bars, and connectors, you can make almost anything you want, from 3D printers and CNC mills to even little robots. You don’t even need to weld them; you only need to screw each component together.  Controlled using Arduino or Raspberry Pi, you can make your insanely flexible robot/machine do virtually anything, and can break down and reuse all the different components.

Just like Lego Mindstorms, Uberblox also has specialized parts required for popular machines, as well as BrainBoxes (their equivalent of the NXT Brick) that allow users to make 3D printers, CNC mills, and even laser cutters and engravers.

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Microtugs

A team from Stanford has just developed a tiny robot capable of pulling more than 2000x its own weight.

Using directional adhesives similar to those on geckos, these robots are able to winch in multiple times their body weight, exceeding the power on the winch before they suffer from the adhesive slipping. The microtug can pull the equivalent of a human pulling a blue whale.

The second version of the microtug can pull 100x its body weight up a vertical wall, the equivalent of a human climbing a skyscraper while holding an elephant. Researchers expect to expand these robots and be able to place more sensors and other additional hardware.

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Octopus Clears Rubble

Years after the 2011 Fukushima quake-tsunami disaster, rubble is still being cleared.

To aid in cleaning up the area, Japanese researchers have developed a 4-arm, 4-wheeled crawler bot, which aims to help clear the rubble, as well as save lives. Dubbed the “Octopus” because of its 8 limbs, this remote controlled bot can be fitted with a fiber laser capable of cutting through stone and a grappler capable of handling radioactive waste.

Each arm is able to lift up to 200 kilograms, and being able to use all four arms at once is what makes this robot rare. The researchers are looking to implement this robot in lifesaving efforts in earthquake, tsunami and fire relief.

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Balloon Animal Bot?

Clowns are creepy. But the balloon animals they make are great!

Ever wanted to be rid of the clown, but keep their balloon animals?

Don’t you fret, because RE2 Robotics has got your back! The Highly Dexterous Manipulation System, or HDMS, includes dual robotic manipulator arms mounted on a movable humanoid torso, which can be easily mounted onto a robotic platform to perform a multitude of tasks.

As demonstrated, those skills may include balloon animal making! However, funded by DARPA, this robot’s 11 DoF system, 90 degrees/second joint movement, JAUS or ROS communication protocols,  AEODRS architecture…etc make it more suitable for military purposes/missions. These missions include manufacturing, healthcare, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), so don’t worry clowns; you may lose your balloon animal-making job, but at least the robot who took your job will also defuse your bombs for you!

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