When you say the words "Class Project," most folks flash back to tedious research papers, MLA-style references and boring talks about Shakespearian characters with Oedipus Complexes. In other words: BOOOOOORING. But school doesn't have to be a snooze-fest! Case in point: Penn State's Advanced Mechatronics class, which sounds like it may just be the coolest course ever. One enterprising mechanical engineering student went after his final mechatronic project with gusto and built a working, talking, tracking and firing replica of Portal's gun turret -- then put it up on YouTube for the world to see.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's… no, really, it's a person! That's what people in New York city have been screaming over the past few weeks as numerous folks saw, well, people flying over the skyline. What the heck? Could Superman be real? Nope -- you're just being sold to again! The flying people are actually nifty flying people-shaped aircraft designed by the Thinkmodo ad agency to spread the viral word about Chronicle, an upcoming 20th Century Fox film in which -- you guessed it -- people fly.
The most concise definition of a prosthetic is any device that replaces a missing body part, and whether you know it or not, prosthetics are a part of our daily lives. From banal applications such as dental crown, to complicated devices which compensate for a life altering injury sustained in an accident or enable an individual who lacks a fully functional body part due to an accident of birth, prosthetics are an awesome technology that the majority of us are fortunate enough to be able to take for granted.
The Boy Scouts of America program offers over 120 merit badges that kids can earn, everything from archery to camping, from coin collecting to dog care. As time goes on, outdated badges, like blacksmithing, end up being replaced with new versions more relevant to the skills boys need to succeed. In the past five years, only four new badges have been added. Go ahead and add one more to the list, because starting next week, your little scout will be able to earn his robotics merit badge.
Ossur, a global player in the prosthetic and orthopedic innovations game, has built the world's first motor-powered prosthetic knee. It's called Power Knee, and lower leg amputees in Europe and the U.S. will be able to get their hands on it first. Unlike traditional prosthetics, the Power Knee doesn't require patients to physically move it with their remaining limb.
Researchers from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia have published their study on the robotic hand, PsysOrg.com reports. The main objective of the dexterous anthropomorphic robotic typing hand, or DART hand, was to demonstrate that it could type on a computer keyboard, and it certainly passed that test. A single DART hand was shown typing at 20 words per minute, and the researchers predict that two DART hands could type at 30WPM. By comparison, humans average 33WPM with two hands.
Kenneth Crocker is in the books as the first person ever to undergo remote heart surgery, which was performed at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicestershire to correct an irregular heartbeat, UK's Daily Mail reports.
A 3-foot robotic arm shoved a thin surgical tube into the 70-year-old patient's body while the surgeon sat in a separate room controlling the delicate procedure with a remote control, steering the tube through a vein into the heart. By performing the procedure remotely, the surgeon was isolated from dangerous levels of radiation from the more than 250 X-rays to monitor the location of the probe for up to eight hours.
"I've been very excited about the operation for weeks," Crocker explained. "It's a little bit of extra magic being the first in the world. I tried cardioversion, which is electric shock therapy, and different medicines to get rid of the problem but so far nothing has worked. I've seen the robotic arm and it's an impressive piece of kit. I'd like to shake hands with it after when I'm cured but maybe that won’t be possible."
Given the success of the surgery, Dr. Ng, the surgeon who performed the operation, said the technique could be used to treat up to 50,000 Britons diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat each year, potentially reducing strokes and heart failure.
Okay admit it. Not only is Aliens one of the greatest movies of all time, but it instilled in you a secret lust to engage Alien queens in battle with a giant, futuristic cargo stacking mech. Okay, perhaps we are overstating this just a touch, but we were still totally excited to see Japanese engineers demonstrate a fully functional Dual-Arm Power Amplification Robot, particularly one that gives users superhuman strength, and was quite obviously inspired by the cult sci-fi classic.
The robot, which is being designed with a commercial future in mind, is capable of lifting more than 100kg, but itself weighs slightly over 230kg. Given these specs, obvious safety concerns are raised by wearing a suit that is heavy enough to crush its wearer, however, Chief engineer Go Shirogauchi claims the robot is quite safe. “The most important challenge is not to injure the operator with the amplified power” he said. “For that challenge, a delicate control and a mechanics design which does not put too much force onto a human in the worst situation is required”.
The robot is primarily being designed for the construction industry, but Shirogauchi claims they plan to have plenty of interchangeable parts to make it viable in many more situations. “Our intention is not to develop a small power shovel, but to create a common platform which can be applied to many areas other than the construction sites” said Shirogauchi.
The arms are expected to cost about $357,000 when they eventually come to market, hopefully sometime in 2015.