Science

Tiny HAMR-JR microbot is one of the fastest microrobots

Tiny HAMR-JR microbot is one of the fastest microrobots

Harvard researchers have created a microrobot they call HAMR-JR that's able to run, jump, carry heavy payloads, and is highly maneuverable. It's a half-scale version of another robot developed at Harvard that was inspired by a cockroach called HAMR. HAMR-JR is about the size of a penny and can perform most of the feats its larger predecessor was capable of, which makes it one of the most dexterous microrobots built to date.

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New electronic fibers can be embedded in textiles as sensors

New electronic fibers can be embedded in textiles as sensors

EPFL researchers from the Laboratory of Photonic Materials and Fiber Devices have developed a new technology that can be used to detect the movement of the body. The researchers say that the breakthrough could result in clothing or hospital bed sheets that can monitor breathing and other vital movements. The electronic fibers could also be used to allow robots to interact more safely and intuitively with humans.

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SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites with sun-blocking visors

SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites with sun-blocking visors

It hasn't even been a week yet and SpaceX already made its second rocket launch. Of course, such frequent launches will be the norm if the company ever achieves its goal of economic commercial rocket launches. While last week's historic launch brought two astronauts to the International Space Station, this latest catapults non-living satellites into orbit. While comparatively less exciting, it still makes a few first for Elon Musk's highest-profile company after Tesla.

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Rare ancient skeleton discovery helps solve big food mystery

Rare ancient skeleton discovery helps solve big food mystery

Researchers with the University of Exeter have announced the discovery of ancient skeletons that help solve a big food mystery: when did humans in Central America start eating maize as a staple food? The discovery is described as 'unparalleled' because the skeletons were 'remarkably well-preserved' in the rock shelters where they were found.

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UCI researchers create human cells with the transparency of a squid

UCI researchers create human cells with the transparency of a squid

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, have made a breakthrough with a bio-inspired research project that they say is the first step towards intrinsically translucent tissue. The team was inspired by octopuses, squids, and other sea creatures that can disappear by using specialized tissues in the body to manipulate the transmission and reflection of light. The scientists have been able to engineer human cells that have similar transparent abilities.

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MIT researchers created a shoe coating to help prevent falls

MIT researchers created a shoe coating to help prevent falls

Most people who live in a part of the world with icy winter conditions know the risks that slippery ice raises. Falls are a very common form of injury in icy winter weather, but MIT has a new coating that can be applied to shoes that could improve traction on slick surfaces. The coating was inspired by the Japanese art of paper cutting and is designed to boost friction and could give shoes a stronger grip on ice and other slippery surfaces.

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China’s huge FAST telescope will soon search for intelligent aliens

China’s huge FAST telescope will soon search for intelligent aliens

Chinese state media has announced that the nation will launch its FAST alien-hunting mission later this year. The effort will involve China's 500m Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), which wrapped up construction in 2016 and went operational back in January after years of testing. China has an ambitious goal -- it wants to find intelligent extraterrestrial life, not just evidence of past life on other planets.

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Researchers have created a viable sodium-ion battery

Researchers have created a viable sodium-ion battery

Researchers from Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created a sodium-ion battery that holds as much energy and works as well as some commercial lithium-ion battery chemistries. The breakthrough makes for a potentially viable battery technology using abundant and cheap materials. Researchers on the project have reported one of the best results to date for a sodium-ion battery.

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MIT scientists improve sensory perception for soft robotic grippers

MIT scientists improve sensory perception for soft robotic grippers

Scientists at MIT are researching soft robotics, which is robotics that use flexible materials rather than the traditional rigid materials. The capabilities of soft robots have been limited due to the lack of good sensing. A robotic gripper needs to feel what it is touching and the sense the position of its fingers, a capability that has been missing from most soft robots.

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ESA Solar Orbiter will fly through the tails of Comet Atlas

ESA Solar Orbiter will fly through the tails of Comet Atlas

The ESA has announced that over the next few days, the Solar Orbiter will pass through the tails of comet Atlas. The Solar Orbiter only recently launched and wasn't due to begin taking science data at this time. Mission controllers have worked to ensure that the four most relevant instruments will be switched on during the unique encounter.

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NASA supercomputers are working hard on COVID-19 research

NASA supercomputers are working hard on COVID-19 research

NASA is lending some of its supercomputing muscle to COVID-19 research. NASA's supercomputers have been working on a range of projects, including basic science, on how the virus interacts with the cells in the human body to genetic risk factors to screening for potential therapeutic drugs. NASA's joined a consortium of institutions that is pairing up supercomputing resources with proposals for using high-end computing for COVID-19 research studies.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon crew made history again at the Space Station

SpaceX Crew Dragon crew made history again at the Space Station

It's not the first time that men and women have been catapulted into space but NASA, SpaceX, and mankind reached a historic milestone last Saturday nonetheless. May 30, 2020 will be remembered by many as the first time NASA astronauts made such a journey aboard a SpaceX commercial spacecraft. That was literally only half the journey and, Sunday morning, that lucky pair made history again, this time being the first to board the International Space Station from that same commercially-made capsule.

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