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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.

Life Sciences - Microtechnics - 14.12.2023
Cognitive strategies to augment the body with an extra robotic arm
Cognitive strategies to augment the body with an extra robotic arm
Scientists show that breathing may be used to control a wearable extra robotic arm in healthy individuals, without hindering control of other parts of the body. Neuroengineer Silvestro Micera develops advanced technological solutions to help people regain sensory and motor functions that have been lost due to traumatic events or neurological disorders.

Microtechnics - 01.12.2023
A color-based sensor to emulate skin's sensitivity
A color-based sensor to emulate skin's sensitivity
In a step toward more autonomous soft robots and wearable technologies, researchers have created a device that uses color to simultaneously sense multiple mechanical and temperature stimuli. Robotics researchers have already made great strides in developing sensors that can perceive changes in position, pressure, and temperature - all of which are important for technologies like wearable devices and human-robot interfaces.

Microtechnics - Innovation - 15.11.2023
Printed robots with bones, ligaments, and tendons
Printed robots with bones, ligaments, and tendons
For the first time, researchers have succeeded in printing a robotic hand with bones, ligaments and tendons made of different polymers using a new laser scanning technique. 3D printing is advancing rapidly, and the range of materials that can be used has expanded considerably. While the technology was previously limited to fast-curing plastics, it has now been made suitable for slow-curing plastics as well.

Microtechnics - Mechanical Engineering - 07.11.2023
Humans are far superior to robots
Humans are far superior to robots
A new ETH study compares 27 humanoid robots with humans and comes to the conclusion that while robots have better components, they are still not capable of achieving as much.

Microtechnics - Innovation - 26.10.2023
Soft, elephant trunk-like robot for close interaction with humans
Soft, elephant trunk-like robot for close interaction with humans
Researchers have designed a bio-inspired robot with a novel trimmed helicoid structure that allows for a wide range of motion and safe interaction with humans. At EPFL's CREATE lab , under the guidance of Josie Hughes, a breakthrough has been made in the realm of soft robotics. Drawing inspiration from the versatile movement of elephant trunks and octopus tentacles, the team introduced the trimmed helicoid - a novel robotic structure that promises greater compliance and control in robotic designs.

Microtechnics - Innovation - 21.08.2023
Robotic dog runs (almost) entirely on its own
Robotic dog runs (almost) entirely on its own
For his Master's project at EPFL, Mickaël Achkar compiled data on the movements of dogs to develop a robotic version of the animal that, once set in motion, can run without assistance. Engineers at EPFL's Computational Robot Design & Fabrication Lab (CREATE), headed by Prof. Josie Hughes, are coming up with new ways of building robots possessing never-before-seen capabilities.

Environment - Microtechnics - 03.08.2023
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Astronomy / Space - Microtechnics - 12.07.2023
Robot team on lunar exploration tour
Robot team on lunar exploration tour
Swiss engineers are training legged robots for future lunar missions that will search for minerals and raw materials. To ensure that the robots can continue to work even if one of them malfunctions, the researchers are teaching them teamwork. On the Moon, there are raw materials that humanity could one day mine and use.

Health - Microtechnics - 07.07.2023
Robot Assisted Surgery: Four Arms Are Better Than Two
Robot Assisted Surgery: Four Arms Are Better Than Two
Researchers at EPFL have developed the first system that enables four-arm laparoscopic surgery by controlling two additional robotic arms via haptic foot interfaces. Roboticists at EPFL have combined multi-limb manipulation with advanced shared control augmentation for an unprecedented advance in the field of laparoscopic surgery.

Microtechnics - Environment - 26.06.2023
FireDrone supports the fire department
FireDrone supports the fire department
Researchers from Empa and Imperial College London are developing a heat-resistant drone that can analyze the source of danger at close range in the event of a building or forest fire. This allows firefighters to optimize the strategy of a high-risk operation before entering the danger zone. Where others rush out, they have to go in: Firefighters put themselves in dangerous situations during rescue operations - sometimes right in the midst of a sea of flames.

Microtechnics - 23.06.2023
Mori3: a polygon shapeshifting robot for space travel
Mori3: a polygon shapeshifting robot for space travel
Jamie Paik and her team of researchers at EPFL's School of Engineering have created an origami-like robot that can change shape, move around and interact with objects and people. By combining inspiration from the digital world of polygon meshing and the biological world of swarm behavior, the Mori3 robot can morph from 2D triangles into almost any 3D object.

Microtechnics - Innovation - 14.06.2023
First Chat-GPT-designed robot
First Chat-GPT-designed robot
Researchers have used Chat-GPT-3 to develop a robotic gripper for harvesting tomatoes, in a first demonstration of the artificial intelligence tool's potential for collaborating with humans on robot design. With their ability to process vast amounts of text data, and to use this information to answer prompts, neural networks known as large language models (LLMs) like Chat-GPT have been making headlines for their potential to change the way we write, learn, and even make art.

Microtechnics - Innovation - 23.05.2023
An aviary for drone research
An aviary for drone research
They maintain and repair buildings, observe natural phenomena and transport goods: Drones and robots could play a major role in our lives in the future. With the DroneHub, a kind of aviary is to be created in the NEST research and innovation building on the Empa campus in Dübendorf, where researchers will explore and further develop the interaction of drones, infrastructure and natural habitats together with industrial and academic partners.

Environment - Microtechnics - 18.04.2023
Delicate, diligent, transient
Delicate, diligent, transient
Their task is to monitor the condition of ecosystems, for instance in the forest floor - and crumble to dust when their work is done: bio-gliders modeled on the Java cucumber, which sails its seeds dozens of meters through the air. researchers have developed these sustainable flying sensors from potato starch and wood waste.

Microtechnics - 23.03.2023
Robotic system offers hidden window into collective bee behavior
Robotic system offers hidden window into collective bee behavior
Researchers have developed a temperature-modulating robotic system that can be seamlessly integrated into notoriously sensitive honeybee hives, providing both a never-before-seen view of honeybee behavior and a means to influence it. Honeybees are famously finicky when it comes to being studied. Research instruments and conditions and even unfamiliar smells can disrupt a colony's behavior.
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