Tomorrow's wind turbines could look like enormous owl wings

Engineers often take inspiration from animal designs because they're more efficient than machines are. In the case of owl wings, nature has a major advantage over human engineering: owl wings are uncannily quiet. Now, researchers are considering outfitting wind turbines with an upscaled equivalent – if they can figure… »11/25/13 3:05pm11/25/13 3:05pm

What's creepier than swimming alongside an aquatic snake? A mechanical aquatic snake

When the pending robopocalypse strikes, you may be tempted to seek refuge in the water. Don't do it — and watch this video to see why. It's the HiBot ACM-R5 robotic snake, a twirling and swirling amphibious machine developed by Japanese researchers. And what's just as remarkable (or is that horrifying?) is that it… »11/27/12 10:40am11/27/12 10:40am

How Studying Ant Behavior Can Make Social Networks Better

People who go on social networking sites are often compared to ant colonies — but it may be truer than anyone realizes. A new study from the University of Madrid suggests that the behavior of real-life ants could inspire developers to improve the way these sites function. By constructing an algorithm modeled off the… »6/05/12 1:39pm6/05/12 1:39pm

The Pentagon's robotic cheetah is the fastest mechanical mammal ever built

18 miles an hour may not seem terribly fast, but that's the new land record for legged machines. This speed was clocked by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) robo-cheetah project, which is investigating technologies that allow machines to traverse terrain in new unique ways. Explains DARPA of… »3/05/12 1:50pm3/05/12 1:50pm