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Microtechnics - Materials Science - 14.06.2024
Robots au chocolat for dessert?
Robots au chocolat for dessert?
A fully edible robot could soon end up on our plate if we overcome some technical hurdles, say scientists involved in RoboFood - an project which aims to marry robots and food. Robots and food have long been distant worlds: Robots are inorganic, bulky, and non-disposable; food is organic, soft, and biodegradable.

Microtechnics - Life Sciences - 06.05.2024
Field reality reshapes robotic design
Field reality reshapes robotic design
In 2016, the BBC commissioned two reptilian robots from the BioRob laboratory for a documentary on the African wilderness. The scientists never imagined how testing the devices in the wild would change their approach to robotic design. Auke Ijspeert and his team at the Laboratory of Biorobotics ( BioRob ) in EPFL's Faculty of Engineering had already tested their bio-informed robots in the wild.

Microtechnics - Life Sciences - 30.04.2024
Trotting robots reveal emergence of animal gait transitions
Trotting robots reveal emergence of animal gait transitions
A four-legged robot trained with machine learning by researchers has learned to avoid falls by spontaneously switching between walking, trotting, and pronking - a milestone for roboticists as well as biologists interested in animal locomotion. With the help of a form of machine learning called deep reinforcement learning (DRL), the EPFL robot notably learned to transition from trotting to pronking - a leaping, arch-backed gait used by animals like springbok and gazelles - to navigate a challenging terrain with gaps ranging from 14-30cm.

Microtechnics - Materials Science - 18.04.2024
An ink for 3D-printing flexible devices without mechanical joints
An ink for 3D-printing flexible devices without mechanical joints
Researchers are targeting the next generation of soft actuators and robots with an elastomer-based ink for 3D printing objects with locally changing mechanical properties, eliminating the need for cumbersome mechanical joints. For engineers working on soft robotics or wearable devices, keeping things light is a constant challenge: heavier materials require more energy to move around, and - in the case of wearables or prostheses - cause discomfort.

Microtechnics - Health - 13.03.2024
Robotic interface masters a soft touch
Researchers have developed a haptic device capable of reproducing the softness of various materials, from a marshmallow to a beating heart, overcoming a deceptively complex challenge that has previously eluded roboticists. The perception of softness can be taken for granted, but it plays a crucial role in many actions and interactions - from judging the ripeness of an avocado to conducting a medical exam, or holding the hand of a loved one.

Microtechnics - Environment - 30.01.2024
Robot swings its way to unexplored treetops
Robot swings its way to unexplored treetops
It abseils from a height and swings around obstacles: robot Avocado will one day manoeuvre through the canopy of the rainforest and collect data for researchers about this hard-to-reach habitat. It's called Avocado and does actually look a bit like one: currently being developed by researcher on, the innovative robot has a robust housing similar in shape to the green fruit.

Electroengineering - Microtechnics - 30.01.2024
Artificial muscles - lighter, safer, more robust
Artificial muscles - lighter, safer, more robust
Researchers at ETH Zurich have recently developed artificial muscles for robot motion. Their solution offers several advantages over previous technologies: it can be used wherever robots need to be soft rather than rigid or where they need more sensitivity when interacting with their environment. Many roboticists dream of building robots that are not just a combination of metal or other hard materials and motors but also softer and more adaptable.

Microtechnics - Computer Science - 11.01.2024
Robots improve hearing aids
Robots improve hearing aids
It is extremely time-consuming to measure how sound behaves in a room. The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and the hearing aid manufacturer Sonova have therefore developed robots that can take over this task. This serves to improve hearing aids in rooms with a lot of background noise.