DNA Nanorobots Pick Up And Sort Molecules

An autonomous molecular machine, made of a single strand of DNA, that can autonomously “walk” around a surface, pick up certain molecules and drop them off in designated locations has been developed by scientists at California Institute of Technology. Lulu Qian, assistant professor of bioengineering, explains: The researchers constructed three basic building blocks that could be used to assemble a DNA robot: a “leg” with two “feet” for walking, an “arm” and “hand” for picking up cargo, and a segment that can recognize a specific drop-off point and signal to the hand to release its cargo. [Read More]

Robot Mermaid Explores Coral Reef Ocean Depths

A robot named OceanOne with artificial intelligence and haptic feedback systems enables human pilots unprecedented abilities for exploring the depths of the oceans. Oussama Khatib held his breath as he swam through the wreck of La Lune, over 300 feet below the Mediterranean. The flagship of King Louis XIV sank here in 1664, 20 miles off the southern coast of France, and no human had touched the ruins, or the countless treasures and artifacts the ship once carried, in the centuries since. [Read More]

Robotic Insect Built By Scientists Can Stride On Water

Walking on water might be something only a human with superpowers can do, but it is actually a quite natural phenomenon in some species. Many small living creatures use water’s surface tension to maneuver themselves around. And one of the most intricate maneuvers, jumping on water, is second nature to a species of semi-aquatic insects called water striders that not only skim along water’s surface but also generate enough upward thrust with their legs to launch themselves airborne from it. [Read More]

Antimicrobial Compounds Assembled By Robots

Two robotic chemical-synthesizing machines tucked away on the fifth floor of the DOE’s Molecular Foundry at Berkeley Lab, are joining the urgent search for new antimicrobial compounds that are effective against constantly emerging drug-resistant bacteria. Symphony X and Overture, as the machines are named, specialize in creating custom nanoscale structures that mimic nature’s proven designs. And they are fast, assembling dozens of compounds at once. Peptide-based antimicrobials, despite their potency, can degrade quickly in the bloodstream, limiting their effectiveness. [Read More]

RHex, a Jumping, Flipping All-Terrain Robot that does Parkour

RHex is an acronym for Robot Hexapod, a name that takes its cue from the six springy legs. But most people call it Rex, like the trusty bounding puppy it acts like. Designed at the University of Pennsylvania, the Rhex platform was first developed more than a decade ago. Engineering graduate student Aaron Johnson and professor Daniel Koditschek are working on a version of RHex they call XRL, or X-RHex Lite. [Read More]

Vanadium Dioxide Micro-Robotics Actuator Fingers

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley, have devised a new simple yet powerful microscale actuator that can flex like a tiny finger. Based on a material that abruptly expands and contracts in response to small temperature variations, the actuators are smaller than the width of a human hair and are promising for microfluidics, drug delivery, and artificial muscles. “We believe our microactuator is more efficient and powerful than any current microscale actuation technology, including human muscle cells,” says Junqiao Wu of UC Berkeley. [Read More]

Robo-Cow: Four Legged Voice Controlled Robot Hits the Trail

DARPA’s Four Legged Squad Support System (LS3) is aimed at demonstrating a mobile, semi-autonomous legged robot which can carry 400 lbs of a military squad’s load, following squad members through rugged terrain and interacting with troops naturally, like a trained animal with its handler. Recently, in the woods of central Virginia around Fort Pickett, the four-legged robot has been put through its paces during field testing. DARPA researchers showed off new advances in LS3’s control, stability and maneuverability. [Read More]

Swarm of Nanomorph Robots that Work Together

Researchers at University of Colorado have built a swarm of 20 robots, each robot being about the size of a pingpong ball. Possible future use for such teams of intelligent robots could be tackling a number of challenging situations, from containing oil spills to self-assembling into large installations of hardware after being launched into space or deployed deep under the ocean. If one robot can accomplish a singular task, think how much more could be accomplished if you had hundreds of them, reasons Nikolaus Correll, assistant professor. [Read More]