Tag: research

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Shake Your Silk-Maker: The Dance of the Peacock Spider

When a peacock spider dances, how do we know that it's a really, really good dancer? From their colorful, iridescent body displays, to their wide variety of dance moves, to the different rhythms that they "sing" while...

MIT’s electric cheetah-bot runs offleash

Quiet, efficient, and powerful: MIT's robotic cheetah has a "custom-designed, high-torque-density" electric motor, and can run and jump around without being tethered to an external power source. It's also looking ...

Self-Folding Crawler: A Transformer-style Origami Robot

From flat-packed to self-folding, Harvard graduate student Samuel Felton was inspired by origami when he created a laser-cut robot that could assemble itself and autonomously scurry away. The basic ingredients: two mo...

Outfitting Tree Kangaroos with tiny video cameras

Tree kangaroos are elusive creatures that live high in the trees of New Guinea's tropical rainforests. To learn more about them and to better protect them, Dr. Lisa Dabek has worked with National Geographic and local ...

Understanding tether dynamics through kite flying

For Hilary Costello's ongoing Ph.D. research, she can be found inside at a computer, coding and writing equations, and outside flying kites in the wide open spaces of Cambridge University. Her goal: "design an aerodyn...

Paralyzed Woman Controls Robotic Arm With Thoughts

When Cathy Hutchinson controlled a robotic arm using a small sensor planted in her brain, it was a remarkable breakthrough in neurobiology and computer science. The sensor would recognize patterns or signals from her ...

Spiders Tune Their Webs Like A Guitar

Much more than just a net to catch prey, spider webs can transmit lots of information about what has been caught or what might be visiting. Oxford researchers have recently discovered that the strands of silk vibrate ...

The Fire Lab and the Mysterious Science of Fire

How does fire spread? How do different forest materials fuel it? How can firefighters better understand its behavior in order to control it? Why is the physics of fire so counter-intuitive and mysterious to us? At Th...

The beautiful physics and math of sneezes

If you don't cover your mouth when you sneeze, that sneeze and the germs within it are explosively set free into the surrounding area. But where do the droplets travel and how far can they reach? No one had done much ...

Lost at sea: Researching the impact of sunken shipping containers

Thousands of shipping containers are lost from cargo ships every year, eventually falling to the ocean floor and disturbing the deep-sea ecosystems where they land. In February 2004, a container was discovered within ...

Unwinding the Cucumber Tendril Mystery

Watch plants grow (with time lapse)... or specifically, learn more about cucumber plant tendril coil movement and why it was confounding to scientists for so long. From 2012, this is Science Friday's Unwinding the Cuc...

A Deer Migration You Have to See to Believe

Traverse three highways, multiple water crossings, sand dunes, and over 100 fences in A Deer Migration You Have to See to Believe. This National Geographic video by Joe Riis shares the incredible yearly journey of mul...

Magnetically Actuated Micro-Robots

This magnetically-controlled micro-robot is in charge of gluing things. That magnetically-controlled micro-robot is in charge of placing carbon rods. Together they might build a small yet st...

Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station

If you’ve ever pretended to be on the Red Planet, you’re not alone. This is Crew 138 of the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a team of scientists who are re...

Fearsome Teeth of the Gelada Baboon

In the mountains of Ethiopia, the BBC’s Steve Backshall and his Deadly 60 team track a group of graminivorous (grass-eating) gelada baboons to observe their amazing, lion-sized, canine tee...

Underwater time lapse can show the secret life of a coral reef

For the last five years, Dr. Pim Bongaerts of University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute has been documenting the lives of corals through time lapse photography. It all happens t...

ScienceTake: Uncovering the Secrets of Mole Motion

An animal that can push with 40x their bodyweight, the hairy-tailed mole for example, is definitely something to better understand, and scientists at the University of Massachusetts and Brown...

Come fly with me: the physics of why birds fly in V-formation

Why do birds often fly in a “V” shape formation? Researchers at the UK’s Royal Veterinary College have gathered data from individual ibises in a migratory flock to study why...

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