This week on Txchnologist, we watched researchers make strides in robotic technology by mimicking sidewinder rattlesnakes’ movements. Carnegie Mellon’s modular snake robots have already demonstrated proficiency at climbing trees and are now on their way to traversing difficult terrain like soft sand. With the sidewinder’s unique J-shaped form of locomotion, robots capable of these movements could have an advantage over others in exploring extraterrestrial worlds or tight spaces like those found in the aftermath of a mine collapse.
NASA researchers will be testing out a robotic aircraft for the coming year to see if it can aid in catching forest and brush fires before they grow out of control. The drones are equipped with a camera to track rising smoke plumes as well as an infrared camera to scan for hidden hot spots. The program will proceed once the Federal Aviation Administration approves UAV overflights, and could mean cost and time reductions for detecting nascent wildlands fires.
Researchers have developed a new technology that tracks the positions of nanoparticles as they move within the body or a single cell. The nanoparticles can also be manipulated by applying a magnetic field to pull them along and control where they move. This discovery means scientists can better probe biological functions within cells and improve our understanding and treatment of cancer.
Now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.