The world’s first certified Multicoptor, e-volo’s Volocopter VC200, premiered manned flights in Karlsruhe, Germany. Volocopter is designed to be a personal aerial vehicle, so easy and safe to fly, that anyone can do it. And due to its electric propulsion it has no tailpipe emissions and is remarkably quiet.
If two hands are better than one, then think of how much better it would be to have eight, especially when it comes to mass production. Engineers from electronics manufacturer Siemens have protyped a 3D-prinitng robot, that looks like a spider, and could be used to build car bodies and airplane fuselages. These robots could cut costs and speed up production on large scale projects.
The new Eelume robot is a self propelled aquatic mechanical snake. The Eelume is designed to do subsea repair and inspection work that is difficult or impossible for humans to do. This robot is perfect for the task because it emulates something that actually lives under the sea.
Wood, an inexpensive and renewable resource, has many applications. Including building materials for high rises, bicycles, and foam insulation. Recently researchers developed transparent wood for potential use in windows, and solar cells, providing a cheaper alternative to silica-based glass. Led by Prof. Lars Berglund at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, researchers chemically remove lignin from natural wood fibers – lignin is one component of wood cell walls. What was left was a material that was “beautifully white,” but still not transparent.
The company the Autonomous Tractor Corporation, which invented the autonomous, and cab-less tractor Spirit in 2013, has developed an aftermarket package to turn any tractor, no matter the brand, into an autonomous vehicle. The package is called AutoDrive, a safety navigation and implement management system that allows for autonomous operation. It taps into the electronics onboard the tractor and, using sensors, lasers, radio signals and artificial intelligence software, takes over the controls, without the need for a driver.
We’re heading for a future where we can start 3D print our own shoes and our own dinners, but so far the hype has not met the expectations. The technical challenge of consistently printing, quality, objects, in multiple colors and materials at once has been very difficult to overcome. But Stratasys, the largest 3D-printing company in the world, says its newest industrial printer does both, marking what it says is an “industry breakthrough.”
Is it possible to draw blood without causing pain? This problem has plagued the medical industry for decades. The old archaic needle is getting replaced by tiny vacuums and laser beams, but for women it could become much easier than that. In 2014, an engineer at Harvard named Ridhi Tariyal hit on a far simpler workaround. “I was trying to develop a way for women to monitor their own fertility at home,” she told me, and “those kinds of diagnostic tests require a lot of blood. So I was thinking about women and blood. When you put those words together, it becomes obvious. We have an opportunity every single month to collect blood from women, without needles.”