Inspired by termites’ resilience and collective intelligence, a team of computer scientists and engineers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University has created an autonomous robotic construction crew. The system needs no supervisor, just simple robots that cooperate.
Harvard engineering Professor Robert Wood lends his perspective to Amazon’s proposal to start a flying drone delivery service within a few years. His verdict is that FAA regulations and liability concerns will likely be bigger hurdles than the technology.
The demonstration of the first controlled flight of an insect-sized robot is the culmination of more than a decade’s work, led by researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed an inexpensive tactile sensor for robotic hands that is sensitive enough to turn a brute machine into a dexterous manipulator.
Using small explosions produced by a mix of methane and oxygen, researchers at Harvard have designed a soft robot that can leap as much as a foot in the air.
Using small explosions produced by a mix of methane and oxygen, researchers at Harvard have designed a soft robot that can leap as much as a foot in the air. That ability to jump could one day prove critical in allowing the robots to avoid obstacles during search and rescue operations.
Researchers have developed a system — inspired by nature — that allows soft robots to either camouflage themselves against a background, or to make bold color displays. Such a “dynamic coloration” system could one day have a host of uses, ranging from helping doctors plan complex surgeries to acting as a visual marker to help search crews following a disaster.
Having already broken new ground in robotics with the development, last year, of a class of “soft”, silicone-based robots based on creatures like squid and octopi, Harvard scientists are now working to create systems that would allow the robots to camouflage themselves, or stand out in their environment.
Harvard Professor George Whitesides and his research team have developed an array of “soft” robots based on natural forms, including squids and starfish, that may one day be used to aid disaster recovery efforts by squeezing into the rubble left by an earthquake to locate survivors, or as a way to free up a surgeon’s hands in the operating room.