To the best of our knowledge, the mechanical gear—evenly-sized teeth cut into two different rotating surfaces to lock them together as they turn—was invented sometime around 300 B.C.E. by Greek mechanics who lived in Alexandria. In the centuries since, the simple concept has become a keystone of modern technology, enabling all sorts of machinery and vehicles, including cars and bicycles.
As it turns out, though, a three-millimeter long hopping insect known as Issus coleoptratus beat us to this invention. Malcolm Burrows and Gregory Sutton, a pair of biologists from the University of Cambridge in the U.K., discovered that juveniles of the species have an intricate gearing system that locks their back legs together, allowing both appendages to rotate at the exact same instant, causing the tiny creatures jump forward.
Excerpt from an article written at The Smithsonian. Continue THERE
MIT is leading an ambitious new project to reinvent how robots are designed and produced. Funded by a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the project will aim to develop a desktop technology that would make it possible for the average person to design, customize and print a specialized robot in a matter of hours.
“This research envisions a whole new way of thinking about the design and manufacturing of robots, and could have a profound impact on society,” says MIT Professor Daniela Rus, leader of the project and a principal investigator at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). “We believe that it has the potential to transform manufacturing and to democratize access to robots.”
“Our goal is to develop technology that enables anyone to manufacture their own customized robot. This is truly a game changer,” says Professor Vijay Kumar, who is leading the team from the University of Pennsylvania. “It could allow for the rapid design and manufacture of customized goods, and change the way we teach science and technology in high schools.” Continue HERE
Text and Image via MIT News
With the world’s economy picking up again we’re being confronted with some pre-crisis trouble areas. High oil prices and rising food prices. With developing countries developing into First World nations their quest for a more varied diet is hiking up prices across the globe. World demand is outstripping world supply. Seeing as a new supply of food sources takes time it might be an idea to start looking for other produce to fill our bellies. And insects might be a good place to start. They’re plentiful and full of nutrients and if presented right you won’t even know you ate them. Mealworm quiche, grasshopper springrolls and cuisine made from other creepy crawlies is the answer to the global food crisis, shrinking land and water resources and climate-changing carbon emissions, Dutch scientist Arnold van Huis says. To attract more insect-eaters, Van Huis and his team of scientists at Wageningen have worked with Rijn IJssel (a local cooking school) to produce a cookbook and suitable recipes.
Text and Images via Totally Cool Pix (REUTERS/Jerry Lampen). Look the full photo essay HERE
The EDIBLE INSECTS boom…YUM!
The Perennial Plate Episode 78: Eating Insects
Future of meat: edible bugs as cheap, low waste, homegrown protein