An autonomous robotic jellyfish that can chase after me in the water? No thank you, science. Nevertheless, that's what the researchers at Virginia Tech's College of Engineering hath wrought. The team is developing a prototype of a multi-legged "sea creature" (nicknamed Cyro) that may one day inhabit our waters. Why? I don't know, I was busy screaming. In other recent news of bionic creatures, there is the Festo BionicOptor Dragonfly Robot, which can "assume almost any position in space." I assume we'll be using this technology to wreak havoc upon our enemies from the sky. Videos of our impending doom, below.

Published in Best of the Web
Monday, 11 March 2013 14:15

Mechanical Medicine: The Bionic Hand


More than one robot invasion-based sci-fi movie has made me nervous about the incredible advances behind humanoid technology, but then there are inventions like this bionic hand from Prensilia. The ability to deliver advanced prosthetics to amputees is one of the best reasons to embrace the android-heavy future. With sensors wired throughout the hand, amputees can manipulate the bionic hand as finely as a natural hand.

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Using recycled materials and components salvaged from electronic items (DVD players, stereo players, computers, motherboards, lighters, old toys, etc.), designer Marco Fernandez lovingly constructs robots full of personality. Fernandez doesn't do any preliminary sketches or planning, and he likes to think that the bots, or R³bots, assemble themselves.

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Anouk Wipprecht is a Dutch designer for whom the concept of fashion as function doesn't mean utilitarian button downs, or a reversible jacket you can wear in lots of settings. Rather, the dress designer combines textiles and technology, to create what we might call cyborg couture, including this creepy crawly Robotic Spider Dress which dances around the wearer's face and protects them if someone approaches too quickly. It's a little reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but you better believe no one else will want to invade your personal space. See more of Anouk's made–to–wear machines below. 

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Inspired by Luxo Jr., a two–minute film by Pixar where two animated desk lamps interact with one another and contemplate fun, Pinokio is the brainchild of creative team Shanshan Zhou, Adam Ben-Dror and Joss Doggett, who have brought a lamp to life. Pinokio is an adventurously modified Anglepoise lamp (first designed in 1932 by George Carwadine) that watches you work and moves playfully in front of you, half mimic, half annoying younger sibling who wants to play with you when you've got too much stuff to do.

Published in Best of the Web
Monday, 26 November 2012 20:41

Brian Despain Talks of Tin

Brian Despain finds beauty in tin, sorrow in rust. Weather-beaten, worn, falling apart, inorganic but very much alive, his robots make up in spirit what they lack in polish.

Published in Front Page Stories