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Materials Science - Microtechnics - 08.11.2022
The VR glove from the 3D printer
The VR glove from the 3D printer
Together with EPFL and ETH Zurich colleagues, an Empa team is developing next-generation VR gloves that will make virtual worlds tangible. The glove is to be tailored to each user and capable of being produced largely automatically - using a 3D printing process. Research sometimes needs a sacrifice.

Innovation - Microtechnics - 21.09.2022
A swarm of 3D printing drones for construction and repair
A swarm of 3D printing drones for construction and repair
An international research team led by drone expert Mirko Kovac of Empa and Imperial College London has taken bees as a model to develop a swarm of cooperative, 3D-printing drones. Under human control, these flying robots work as a team to print 3D materials for building or repairing structures while flying, as the scientists report in the cover story of the latest issue of Nature.

Microtechnics - Environment - 14.06.2022
A drone that can both fly and dive
A drone that can both fly and dive
A new dual drone can both fly and land on water to take aquatic samples and monitor water quality, for example. The drone was developed by researchers at Imperial College London and Empa and recently tested together with researchers at the aquatic research institute Eawag for the first time on Lake Zurich.

Environment - Microtechnics - 19.05.2022
A drone for ultrafast transitions between air and water
A drone for ultrafast transitions between air and water
A new robot is capable of switching from an underwater drone to an aerial vehicle in less than one second. The robot also features a suction disc inspired by the remora fish, which enables it to hitchhike on wet or dry moving objects to significantly reduce its power consumption. It is designed for biological and environmental monitoring in marine ecosystems such as surveying ocean pollution in the open sea as the scientist of Beihang University, Imperial College London and Empa point out in a new study published in Science Robotics.

Health - Microtechnics - 12.05.2022
Bacteria with recording function capture gut health status
Bacteria with recording function capture gut health status
Microrobots have the potential to revolutionize medicine. Researchers at the Max Planck ETH Centre for Learning Systems have now developed an imaging technique that for the first time recognises cell-sized microrobots individually and at high resolution in a living organism. How can a blood clot be removed from the brain without any major surgical intervention? How can a drug be delivered precisely into a diseased organ that is difficult to reach? Those are just two examples of the countless innovations envisioned by the researchers in the field of medical microrobotics.

Microtechnics - 30.03.2022
Silicone raspberry used to train harvesting robots
Silicone raspberry used to train harvesting robots
EPFL engineers have developed a silicone raspberry that can help teach harvesting robots to grasp fruit without exerting too much pressure. Raspberries are the ultimate summer fruit. Famous for their eye-catching scarlet color and distinctive structure, they consist of dozens of fleshy drupelets with a sweet yet slightly acidic pulp.

Microtechnics - Computer Science - 29.03.2022
Control for wheelchair robots to mitigate risk of collision in crowds
Control for wheelchair robots to mitigate risk of collision in crowds
Robotic wheelchairs may soon be able to move through crowds smoothly and safely. As part of CrowdBot, an project, researchers are exploring the technical, ethical and safety issues related to this kind of technology. The aim of the project is to eventually help the disabled get around more easily. Shoppers at Lausanne's weekly outdoor market may have come across one of EPFL's inventions in the past few weeks - a newfangled device that's part wheelchair, part robot.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 23.11.2021
Robots build new hanging gardens
Robots build new hanging gardens
With the help of artificial intelligence and four collaborative robots, researchers at ETH Zurich are designing and fabricating a 22.5-metre-tall green architectural sculpture. Working with Müller Illien Landscape Architects, Timbatec and other partners from industry and research, researchers from the group led by ETH architecture professors Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler are creating a green architectural sculpture for the Tech Cluster Zug.

Health - Microtechnics - 09.11.2021
Finding inspiration in starfish larva
Finding inspiration in starfish larva
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a tiny robot that mimics the movement of a starfish larva. It is driven by sound waves and equipped with tiny hairs that direct the fluid around it, just like its natural model. In the future, such microswimmers could deliver drugs to diseased cells with pinpoint accuracy.

Microtechnics - 07.10.2021
Flying High-Speed Drones into the Unknown with AI
Flying High-Speed Drones into the Unknown with AI
Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a new approach to autonomously fly quadrotors through unknown, complex environments at high speeds using only on-board sensing and computation. The new approach could be useful in emergencies, on construction sites or for security applications. When it comes to exploring complex and unknown environments such as forests, buildings or caves, drones are hard to beat.

Microtechnics - 21.07.2021
New Algorithm Flies Drones Faster than Human Racing Pilots
New Algorithm Flies Drones Faster than Human Racing Pilots
For the first time an autonomously flying quadrotor has outperformed two human pilots in a drone race. The success is based on a novel algorithm that was developed by researchers of the University of Zurich. It calculates time-optimal trajectories that fully consider the drones' limitations. To be useful, drones need to be quick.

Microtechnics - 18.05.2021
Helping drone swarms avoid obstacles without hitting each other
Engineers at EPFL have developed a predictive control model that allows swarms of drones to fly in cluttered environments quickly and safely. It works by enabling individual drones to predict their own behavior and that of their neighbors in the swarm. There is strength in numbers. That's true not only for humans, but for drones too.

Microtechnics - Art and Design - 26.03.2021
Contemplate the nature of robotics at EPFL Pavilions
Contemplate the nature of robotics at EPFL Pavilions
EPFL Pavilions re-opens its exhibition Nature of Robotics which offers perspective on robotics in a human and organic environment. At the entrance of Nature of Robotics a couple of robotic snails slither around the floor, leaving behind slimy trails. Two visitors, young boys, enter the exhibit and squat next to the slimy creatures, trying to follow both of them at once.

Astronomy / Space Science - Microtechnics - 05.03.2021
Army of robots pushes the limits of astrophysics
Army of robots pushes the limits of astrophysics
One thousand newly-minted microrobots created in EPFL labs will soon be deployed at two large-scale telescopes in Chile and the United States. These high-precision instruments, capable of positioning optical fibers to within a micron, will vastly increase the quantity of astrophysics data that can be gathered - and expand our understanding of the Universe.

Microtechnics - 13.01.2021
How to Keep Drones Flying When a Motor Fails
How to Keep Drones Flying When a Motor Fails
Robotics researchers at the University of Zurich show how onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably - even without GPS. As anxious passengers are often reassured, commercial aircrafts can easily continue to fly even if one of the engines stops working. But for drones with four propellers - also known as quadcopters - the failure of one motor is a bigger problem.

Microtechnics - Materials Science - 24.11.2020
Miniscule robots of metal and plastic
Miniscule robots of metal and plastic
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a technique for manufacturing micrometre-long machines by interlocking multiple materials in a complex way. Such microrobots will one day revolutionise the field of medicine. Robots so tiny that they can manoeuvre through our blood vessels and deliver medications to certain points in the body - researchers have been pursuing this goal for years.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 11.11.2020
On the way to lifelike robots
On the way to lifelike robots
In order for robots to be able to achieve more than simple automated machines in the future, they must not only have their own "brain". Empa researchers postulate that artificial intelligence must be expanded to include the capabilities of a Physical Artificial Intelligence, PAI. This will redefine the field of robotics and the relationship between man and machine.

Environment - Microtechnics - 03.11.2020
Drones to monitor ecological changes
Drones to monitor ecological changes
A team of researchers from Empa and Imperial College London developed drones that can attach sensors to trees to monitor environmental and ecological changes in forests. Sensors for forest monitoring are already used to track changes in temperature, humidity and light, as well as the movements of animals and insects through their habitats.

Microtechnics - 23.06.2020
Deep Drone Acrobatics
Deep Drone Acrobatics
A navigation algorithm developed at the University of Zurich enables drones to learn challenging acrobatic maneuvers. Autonomous quadcopters can be trained using simulations to increase their speed, agility and efficiency, which benefits conventional search and rescue operations. Since the dawn of flight, pilots have used acrobatic maneuvers to test the limits of their airplanes.

Microtechnics - Computer Science - 19.03.2020
This Drone Can Play Dodgeball - And Win
This Drone Can Play Dodgeball - And Win
Using a novel type of cameras, researchers from the University of Zurich have demonstrated a flying robot that can detect and avoid fast-moving objects. A step towards drones that can fly faster in harsh environments, accomplishing more in less time. Drones can do many things, but avoiding obstacles is not their strongest suit yet - especially when they move quickly.
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