Building A Drone Umbrella: The Future Of Staying Dry

In the future, will we all have drone umbrellas autonomously follow us, hovering just above our heads to shelter us from the rain? Maybe! But Youtuber I Build Stuff couldn’t wait for the future, so he took matters into his own hands and constructed his own drone umbrella. While this one doesn’t autonomously follow its user, it’s certainly a step in the right direction. That step being one out of the rain, just to be clear.

After hand drawing the design, I Build Stuff then reproducing it in CAD, and the parts were 3D printed. The design is a large quadrocopter, with each rotor on a long arm to allow enough space for an umbrella to fit between them.

The design works well, although it appears any amount of wind causes the umbrella to quickly start drifting away. And rain and wind DO go hand in hand. With enough interest in the project, I Build Stuff says he’ll add a camera to the dronebrella and write the code to track his movement so it can autonomously follow him. This will also help the drone compensate for wind by trying to constantly stay above him. That’s a good idea. Another good idea? Adding some safety cages around those spinning blades right above your head.

[via TechEBlog]

World’s First 3D Printed Edible Eel: Sushi Ready

Hot on the heels of 3D-printed salmon comes the world’s first 3D-printed eel, made by Steakholder Foods using its line of 3D meat printers. Its current iteration of eel is plant-based, but it plans to ethically harvested eel cells and cultivate them once “economies of scale allow for price-competitive cell development.” These are fascinating times for the sushi industry!

SteakHolder’s printing process involves printing alternating layers of varied textures to as closely resemble the meat it’s printing as possible. So, it’s not just a solid block of the same texture and flavor. Its printing technology also allows the company to produce meat alternatives using significantly fewer ingredients than others currently on the market.

Above: A filet of grouper being printed.

SteakHolder Foods CEO Arik Kaufman says, “The launch of our printed eel marks a pivotal moment in the seafood industry…This technology is designed to enable partners to generate products on a potential industrial scale of hundreds of tons monthly, not only at lower costs compared to wild eel, but also with the flexibility to create a variety of printed products using the same production line.”

Would you eat 3D-printed eel? I would. As a matter of fact, I want some right now. Ideally, laid atop some rice with wasabi and soy sauce on the side. Great, now I want sushi. But I just had Mexican! I suppose I still have a little room…

[via TechEBlog]

Unitree’s ‘Affordable’ Humanoid Robot Tackles Uneven Terrain Without Tripping

Billed as a much more affordable humanoid robot than others coming to market, Unitree’s H1 Evolution V2.0 humanoid is now available for sale at a cost of just $89,000. I say ‘just’ because most others will cost significantly more. At least not for anything besides immortal life, and even then, I’d try to get the wizard down to $600 or $700.

In the video, the robot demonstrates its ability to autonomously tackle unknown and uneven terrain without falling, thanks to its “LIVOS-MID360 3D LiDAR system and Intel RealSense D435i depth camera for real-time acquisition of high-precision spatial data to achieve panoramic scanning.” But will it be able to dodge a rolled bowling ball? I only ask because I live close to a bowling alley and could access a lot of ammo in the event of a robot uprising.

The H1 Evolution 2.0 weighs in at just over 100 pounds and is advertised as “the world’s first full-sized general purpose humanoid robot that can run in China.” But can it run other places as well? That’s the question. And if it can run in the United States, how fast can it actually run, because I may need to start a cardio regimen if I’m going to survive the robot apocalypse.

[via TechEBlog]

Super Mario 64 Reimagined as First Person VR Game for Quest 3

Redditor yeldellmedia recently showed off footage showing what a first-person version of Super Mario 64 might look like using the Meta Quest 3 virtual reality system. It looks like a good time. Will Nintendo actually make a VR version of a Mario game? Probably not until they develop their own VR headset, and it becomes the must-have but impossible-to-get toy for like three Christmases in a row.

In the video on Reddit, you can see the player in front of Princess Peach’s castle wandering around and interacting with objects, including Mario’s hat. Unfortunately, in its current state, not all of the in-game objects are interactive yet, so it’s more just imagining what the game might look like.

Would I live in a virtual reality version of the Mushroom Kingdom? There’s no question. Of course, they would need to mod the game further to include a snack bar and toilet in every other level so I don’t forget to eat and go to the bathroom in real life. Otherwise, I might find myself crouching over a warp pipe to do my business, and knowing my luck, it would be a pipe inhabited by a piranha plant.

[via Reddit]

Golfi Robotic Golfer Putts Like a Pro

After the robotic uprising, all sports will be played by robots, reducing humans to mere spectators of our own demise. And ready to compete in the robotic PGA is Golfi, a robot designed to be able to sink putts with the very best of them. The very best of them being me at miniature golf, just to be clear. You should see me putt right between those windmill blades!

Golfi uses a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera to create a depth map of the putting surface, then uses its 3,000 putt neural network training database to make a shot based on a physics model. It takes additional factors into consideration before swinging the club as well, including “the rolling resistance of the turf, weight of the ball, and its starting velocity.” It probably does not take into consideration me rushing the green and kicking the ball into the rough yelling, “Robots suck!”

Well, at least it’s can’t drive or chip balls yet; at least there’s that. Also, I would love to see this thing try to maneuver itself into a sand trap without falling over and rendering itself incapacitated in the sand. Now that’s something I would tune in to watch on television.

[via TechEBlog]

MIT’s Self-Assembling Assembler Robots: Builders of the Future

Researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms have developed an autonomous robot capable of assembling new versions of itself, as well as other building structures. Not only that, multiple robots can transfer both power and data modules from one to another, allowing the newly constructed bots to begin performing tasks on their own. The future, ladies and gentlemen! I’m pretty sure this is how Terminators are built.

The robots are also capable of determining the best building sequence to perform to minimize effort. Even I don’t have that capability! I always do things the long and hard way and am usually exhausted halfway through. I’ve never successfully finished a project.

The researchers imagine future versions of their robots constructing even larger versions of themselves, buildings, and even vehicles. Will it actually happen? Only time will tell. It wouldn’t hurt to have John Conner on speed dial though, just in case.

[via TechEBlog]

Robotic Swarm Cubicle Walls: Privacy on the Go

Because scientists are working hard to make sure the future is going to be nothing like Back to the Future II led me to believe, WaddleWalls are an interactive partitioning system that can set up semi-private walling around a person on the fly. The future of office workspaces! It’s… bleak.

Developed by researchers at Japan’s Tohoku University, the swarm of wall-bots can either autonomously set up partitioning around an identified person or assemble preset partitions, navigating around an office space on their own. The heights of the partitions can also be adjusted for the necessary level of privacy. Me? I want them to go all the way to the ceiling. And be covered with fiberboard and filled with insulating foam. You know, actual walls.

Will these prove to be the future of cubicles? I doubt it. You never know, though. Of course, as flimsy as these walls are, it would take almost no time or effort for a human to set up the same thing. Just buy three portable projector screens, and boom, you’ve got yourself an equally depressing cubicle in less than a minute and at a fraction of the cost.

[via Gizmodo]

Autonomous Fruit-Picking Drones: Harvesting the Future

Developed by Tevel Aerobotics, the Flying Autonomous Robot harvester is a collection of tethered drones that can pick ripe fruit from trees. The robots can analyze a piece of fruit for color and ripeness before picking it with its suction arm, being able to identify fruit from leaves or other objects. That’s good because the last thing you want is your fruit-harvesting robots to come back with a bunch of squirrels instead of apples.

The robots have already successfully been used to harvest peaches, apples, nectarines, and plums, with California-based HMC Farms, which is pleased with the results. According to HMS vice president Drew Ketelsen, “The years of work we’ve put into cultivating high-density orchards are paying off as we implement technology like Flying Autonomous Robot harvesting. This project is still in an early stage, but the future potential is very exciting.” Exciting being relative to just how thrilling you find robotic fruit harvesting to begin with, of course.

First, harvesting fruit to power the humans; next, harvesting humans to power the Matrix. It’s only a matter of time. And I don’t want to be here when it happens, just for the record. And it will happen. I’ve read a lot of robot fan fiction, and 9 out of 10 ends poorly for us fleshbags.

[via TechEBlog]

Creepy Tentacle Robot Can Carefully Grasp Fragile Objects

Because what good is a robotic gripper if it breaks everything it touches, researchers at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a robotic gripper that can carefully grasp and pick up objects with its creepily long tentacles. Just imagine that thing slithering up your pant leg!

Drawing inspiration from nature (specifically octopuses and jellyfish), the SEAS researchers created a soft gripper that uses thin tentacles to “entangle and ensnare object, similar to how jellyfish collect stunned prey.” A rather unsettling image when applied to robotics. The tentacles are powered by air alone and don’t require any sensing, planning, or feedback control to operate. The individual pneumatic tentacles contract when air is removed, causing them to curl up and grab any objects they run into. Again, unsettling.

Fine, but if these things make their way to the doctor’s office, you can count me out. I can’t help but play with all the equipment after the nurse leaves, and I’m waiting for the doctor; there’s no telling what sort of trouble I’ll get into with one of these. I really don’t want to have to change doctors again.

[via adafruit]

3D Printed Meat Is Coming to a Supermarket Near You

3D printed meat: just the thought alone probably has your mouth watering right now. I know mine is, but I’ve eaten nothing but saltines for the better part of a week because I’m too lazy to go to the grocery store and too poor to order delivery. But enough about my stomach eating itself; food company Redefine Meat is hard at work making 3D-printed meat a reality.

Redefine Meat’s New-Meat product is supposed to be delicious, good for the environment, and kinder to animals. The last two are almost certainly the case considering it’s lab-grown and 3D printed, leaving only its deliciousness in question. Send some my way for a taste test! Just let me know when it’s supposed to arrive, so it doesn’t sit on my front porch for a week and start to rot (I always enter the house through the garage).

The first video, compared to the second, shows a drastic improvement in the technology already. If companies can nail the taste and price, I’m really curious to see how all this lab-grown pans out. Hopefully medium-rare, with a nice sear and topped with herb butter!

[via Reddit]