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Using your body to control a drone is more effective than a joystick

If you've ever been chastised for throwing your entire body around during gaming (because physically leaning into track corners definitely helps somehow), here's a bit of science-backed vindication. Researchers in Switzerland have discovered that usi...

Girl Scouts add badges for cybersecurity and the environment

The US Girl Scouts campaign to promote STEM education is advancing to its next logical step: even more badges. The organization is introducing 30 new badges that promise to foster scientific and computer know-how across the Scouts' age groups. Youn...

This Sun-seeking Robot Flowerpot Will Keep Your Plant Alive

The Vincross Hexa is a programmable six-legged robot that looks all creepy walking on its bug-like legs, but now it has found its purpose thanks to Vincross founder Sun Tianqi. Now, the robot’s one job in life is to make sure that a single plant always get the sunlight it needs.

Tianqi got the idea for the Sharing Human Technology with Plants project from a sunflower exhibition where he noticed dead sunflowers near other plants and also observed how the plant could have survived if only it could move into the sun to get nutrients.

He replaced the original shell of the robot with a two-layer flowerpot large enough to hold a small succulent. Using sensors, the robot can move the succulent into the sun when needed. So with one of these, you will never kill your plant from lack of sunlight.

When the plant needs to be watered, the robot will even do a little dance to let you know. It is a very cool robot that could help anyone who has more of a brown thumb than a green one. Though it is a bit creepy to watch your plant walk around via six-legs. Good thing the plants and the robot can’t communicate or we would have some mobile plants taking over the world.

[via CNet]

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Engineer stashed Navy drone trade secrets in his personal Dropbox

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Daimler and Bosch will use NVIDIA to power self-driving taxis

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This Tiny Robot Bug Swims and Walk Underwater

Harvard University┬áresearchers have been working on a miniature robot called the Harvard Ambulatory Microbot (HAMR) for a while now. The insect-inspired, waterproo microbot recently received an upgrade, and now it can swim and walk underwater – on land, too. While it’s not the most graceful looking robot on those huge foot pads, it is quite capable.


The foot pads use surface tension and related buoyancy to float on the water, while electrowetting (reducing the contact angle between a material and a water surface under a voltage) helps it break through the water and also walk on the ground below. Plus, its circuits are coated in Parylene to prevent them from shorting out.

When it’s time to return to land, HAMR overcomes the surface tension force with a stiffened transmission and soft pads that redistribute the friction while it climbs out of the water. The robot weights only 1.65-grams. If it were larger it would have a hard time staying above-water. This guy may be tiny, but he can even haul cargo in the form of a 1.44-gram payload.

They still have to find a way to return HAMR to land without a ramp, but I’m sure they will accomplish that soon enough. The team is thinking about a jumping mechanism or gecko-like adhesives so it could climb walls too. I’m sure they have some other big ideas for this tiny robot down the road as well. Stay tuned.

[via Engadget]