Topic: inventions

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iCub, IIT’s teleoperated robot toddler

iCub is a toddler-sized open-source robot by the Dynamic Interaction Control Lab at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). See the iCub robot walk across the lab and interact with a toy in the September 2018 video...

The Shoe-Tying Robot

What might five mechanical engineering students create with two motors, Arduino, and a $600 budget? How about a shoe tying machine? Winning an annual design competition with Japan's Meijo University, University of...

The Uminami Strandbeest

A new design that hearkens to Theo Jansen's original kinetic structures from the early 1990s, the PVC tube-constructed Uminami Strandbeest doesn't get sand into its joints and requires no lubrication to move smoothly....

A pinned insect manipulator (IMp), the Natural History Museum’s LEGO invention

When you're an entomologist who's trying to help digitize insect specimens—studying them, comparing their details with other insects, and capturing multiple images of them from all angles—it can be a challenge to use ...

Disney Imagineering’s autonomous robot stunt doubles

To level up the animatronic characters in their parks around the globe, Disney Imagineering has created autonomous robot stunt doubles that can perform "extreme aerial maneuvers 60 feet in the air, making real-time de...

3D-printed structures that shape-shift with magnetic microparticles

These small, soft 3D-printed structures can shape-shift—expand, contract, wrinkle up, roll, and move about—thanks to the magnetic microparticles within their silicone-based rubber bodies. This is the latest iteration ...

These tiny origami robot transformers use magnetic fields to walk, roll, sail, and glide

This small cube can transform into a walking, wheeling, boating, or gliding bot with the help of origami exoskeletons that fold around it to create a new form and function. These are tiny shape-shifting robots from re...

The Jankó keyboard, an 1882 replacement for the traditional piano layout

The Jankó keyboard is a musical keyboard layout for a piano designed by Paul von Jankó in 1882. It was designed to overcome two limitations on the traditional piano keyboard: the large-scale geometry of the keys (stre...

Liquid Printed Pneumatics: 3D printing stretchy silicone structures

Imagine 3D printing a balloon of sorts, a stretchy material that can expand or contract with the air that's pumped into it. MIT’s Self-Assembly Laboratory, in collaboration with BMW, has developed a new way to print s...

A Visual History of Light, animated

400,000 years ago, humans and Neanderthals created fire. This ignited a relationship between people and photons that changed the course of mankind—and continues to evolve to this day. Take a tour through the visual hi...

Introducing the Dial Telephone, films from 1936 & 1954

Have you ever heard a dial tone or a busy signal? How did we call someone before speed dial and push-button telephones, but after people stopped needing to speak with a switchboard operator? Behold the rotary dial: ...

The playful wonderland behind great inventions

Music boxes, automatons, harpsichords, typewriters, flutes, fabric-making machines, modern computers. Explore the playful wonderland behind these great inventions from around the globe, the unnecessary but delightful ...

Fungus: The Plastic of the Future

In 2014, Ecovative Designs was working to combine mycelium with local crop waste to make a compostable biomaterial for packaging, and continue to expand their efforts. One example: A collaboration with Netherlands-bas...

Building a prosthetic arm with parts from a LEGO Technic Air Race Jet

David Aguilar has built with LEGO since he was a kid. At nine years old, he built a prosthetic LEGO arm to augment his underdeveloped right arm, but the LEGO pieces weren't strong enough to meet the needs of his desig...

The Exhale Bionic Chandelier: Microorganism-filled ‘leaves’ that ‘breathe’

An air purifier, an art object, and a piece of lighting design all in one living, 'breathing' chandelier. This is London-based inventor and bioengineer Julian Melchiorri's Exhale Bionic Chandelier, a microorganism-fil...

Magnetic fields make this tiny robot roll, jump, swim, and wriggle

This very small elastic strip is a robot that can walk, roll, jump, swim, and wriggle like a worm. Infused with magnetic particles, it responds to the strength and direction of magnetic fields surrounding it. As scien...

LEGO Mindstorm mecanum wheel vehicles by Yoshihito Isogawa

Mecanum wheels, also known as Ilon wheels for their inventor Bengt Erland Ilon, are wheels designed to move a vehicle in any direction. Japanese pro LEGO builder Yoshihito Isogawa has been building vehicles with diffe...

The Courage To Invent: A NASA Roboticist Tells Her Story

When educator, researcher, and innovator Dr. Ayanna Howard was a kid, she decided that she wanted to invent robots. When she grew up, she made that dream come true with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and a job at N...

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