Harvard created a wool-like 3D-printable material that can shape shift

What if you could have gym clothes that could automatically open cooling vents whenever you work up a sweat and close them when you’ve dried out? You might be able to get your hands on gear that does just that in the future, and it could use a materi...

Researchers are using drones to study the Amazon rainforest’s health

Researchers from Harvard University are using drones to better understand the Amazon rainforest. With drone-based sensors, the researchers hope to determine the unique "fingerprint" of different rainforest ecosystems. That could help them monitor the...

Harvard’s noodly robot fingers are great at grabbing jellyfish

Robots can be a bit heavy-handed. Their forceful grip might not be a problem when they're moving boxes in a warehouse, but they can damage fragile marine creatures like jellyfish. Researchers may have a solution. They've created a robotic hand with a...

Harvard student deported based on friends’ social media posts

If you thought the US' decision to screen social network posts for visa applicants risked giving innocent people the boot, you guessed correctly. US officials have deported new Harvard student Ismail Ajjawi not based on his own posts, but those on h...

This hip-hugging exosuit uses AI to make walking and running easier

Robotic devices have been used to help people walk or run in rehabilitation settings, but until now, they've been tethered and limited to a single action, like walking or running. In a paper published in Science today, a team of researchers explain h...

Drone lights will guide you home


The idea seems wild, but the more and more you think about it, the more it begins making sense, and seems more plausible than before. The idea behind the Twinkle is to combine drone tech and illumination to make the world’s smartest and most useful street-lights.

Each individual street-lamp would be a vertical pole with multiple Twinkle drones docked in it. The drones would come with powerful lights at their base, illuminating the land right underneath them, and when docked in their lamp-posts, would look just like any streetside lamp. However, as soon as pedestrians pass from underneath, a single Twinkle drone would leave its dock and follow the pedestrian(s) around, lighting their path. This individual lighting solution would mean no dark alleyways or blind-spots for pedestrians, as they quite literally have a guiding light with them. If a Twinkle’s battery reached critical status, it would head back to its dock and send another Twinkle on the way.

A floating street-light goes far beyond making streets safer. Its ability to move allows it to patrol streets, alleys, and even off-road paths where you probably wouldn’t find any lights. The Twinkle drone helps guide you from A to B, rather than rely on a string of streetlights to illuminate your path. When done, it goes back to its dock, transforming back into your regular streetlight!

Designers: Honghao Deng & Jiabao Li.






Rolls-Royce made miniature robot minions to perform jet-engine inspection

An innovation you’d completely expect from a Hollywood spy flick, Rolls-Royce has designed tiny robots called SWARM that get deployed within their jet engines to run reconnaissance and inspections.

A part of RR’s IntelligentEngine program, the SWARM get deployed into intricate parts of the engine, giving engineers real-time feedback on performance, wear-tear, etc. The visual data collected by these tiny robots would be used “alongside the millions of data points already generated by today’s engines as part of their Engine Health Monitoring systems.” They’ll work alongside snake-shaped INSPECT robots, providing inspection services, while remote boreblending robots will take on maintenance activities. Pretty nifty as long as they’re just used for producing world-class jet engines and not for world dominance!

Designers: Rolls-Royce, University of Nottingham and Harvard University.



Tomorrow’s firefighters will have near-superhuman abilities

Firefighting gear has evolved continuously since the 1600s to keep pace with the challenges that firefighters face, such as the numerous blazes that are currently ravaging Northern California. During the colonial days, structures routinely burned to...

America’s cash-free future is just around the corner

Shake Shack's next burger joint at Astor Place in NYC doesn't want your money -- at least not the physical variety. In an effort to reduce the "friction time" between paying for your meal and eating it, the company plans to replace human cashiers for...