We're Only Just Starting To Understand The Miracle Of Hagfish Slime

The incredible properties of hagfish slime have fascinated scientists for decades, but researchers are only just beginning to make sense of this mucilaginous secretion. In doing so, they hope to create superfibers that could one day be used in everything from bullet-proof vests to artificial tendons. » 4/10/14 1:22pm 4/10/14 1:22pm

Somebody Built a Kangaroo Robot Because Why the Hell Not?

That somebody is German engineering firm Festo. The company, which has a history of turning to nature for inspiration, is also responsible for this mechanical seagull and these claw-tipped Doc Ock arms (which were modeled after an elephant's trunk). » 4/06/14 8:30am 4/06/14 8:30am

Holy crap, these bionic arms look just like Doc Ock's

Designed by German engineering firm Festo, these claw-tipped, artificially intelligent arms were designed to mimic the utility and movement of an elephant's trunk – but the resemblance to Dock Ock's writhing limbs is just uncanny. » 3/15/14 5:00pm 3/15/14 5:00pm

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 12:05pm 11/25/13 12:05pm

A Robotic Snake That Acts Like a Python

Unsatisfied with the crawling, writhing, coiling and climbing abilities of their existing hoard of robotic snakes, members of Carnegie Mellon University's Biorobotics Laboratory have gone and given their mechanical serpent a brand new talent: the ability to wrap itself in a stranglehold around pretty much anything… » 3/25/13 2:53pm 3/25/13 2:53pm

Quadcopters now have eagle-like talons to snatch prey — er, objects

Now that BigDog can throw concrete slabs like it's nobody's business, it would be a mistake to assume that the humble quadrotor isn't going through a similar evolution in form and function. Watch as this avian-inspired micro UAV uses its talons to snatch objects like an eagle. » 3/19/13 6:20am 3/19/13 6:20am

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

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 can … » 11/27/12 7:40am 11/27/12 7:40am

DARPA just obliterated the landspeed record for the fastest mechanical …

You remember Cheetah, don't you? Back in March, DARPA released video of the robotic quadruped galloping at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour. At the time, 18 mph was a new record, outstripping the previous one by just shy of five miles per hour. » 9/07/12 9:15am 9/07/12 9:15am

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 10:39am 6/05/12 10:39am

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

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 this … » 3/05/12 10:50am 3/05/12 10:50am

This butterfly could hold the secret to letting you see in the dark

The opalescent wings of the Morpho butterfly embody a perfect marriage of aesthetic beauty and biological functionality. Scientists believe that a better understanding of this creature's wings and their chemical makeup could have big implications for imaging technologies like night vision goggles that rely on sensing… » 2/15/12 12:00pm 2/15/12 12:00pm

Judging from this Japanese robot, the guide dogs of the future will…

You're looking at the most recent prototype of Japanese robotics manufacturer NSK's mechanical seeing-eye dog. This model uses Microsoft Kinect to navigate obstacles, and its creators are adding such features as voice recognition to prevent the robot from leading its master astray. Will future generations be dealing… » 11/05/11 1:05pm 11/05/11 1:05pm

Robotic Venus flytraps will trap bugs and eat them for fuel

It's alarming enough when robots ingest plant detritus like twigs and grass clippings. It's another thing entirely when they can start chowing down on members of the animal kingdom. A pair of prototype robots are designed to catch bugs, a major step on the path toward robots that can hunt, catch and digest their own… » 10/29/11 8:30am 10/29/11 8:30am

Disembodied Japanese robot arms applaud your growing fear

These Ondz clapping robots were built by Masato Takahashi of Keio University, who modeled them on his own arms and designed them to sound like authentic human applause. These aluminum and urethane "multipurpose hand-clapping machines" were showcased at the 2011 Tokyo Digital Content Expo. » 10/25/11 5:05pm 10/25/11 5:05pm