Robots, soccer and the staying power of Short Circuit- Scientists and engineers on sofas

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Soccer aficionado and RoboCup champion DARwin-OP and robotics expert Alex Leonessa recently sat down with Thi Le in the NSF library to about robots of all kinds, and discuss how research in robotics could help do much more than just build better robots. DARwIn-OP, which stands for Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence–Open Platform, and Leonessa, NSF program director for General & Age-Related Disabilities Engineering, both participated in local National Robotics Week...

Shoe-based sensor system smartens up gait rehabilitation and therapy

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It may look like an insole, but this Smart Shoe system developed at the Mechanical Systems Control Lab at UC Berkeley could help physical therapists get their patients walking better, faster.

Sensors capture information to create a detailed picture of the patient's gait and walking abnormalities, while real-time visual feedback helps patients and therapists see and measure change and progress. The result: made-to-order physical therapy routines for maximum impact.

Robotic hand with a delicate grip – Empire robotics at CES 2015

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In industry, fragile or difficult-to-grip items require a delicate touch. That’s why Empire Robotics, funded by the NSF Small Business Innovation Research program, is bringing the VERSABALL to the marketplace. The VERSABALL is a spherical robotic hand filled with granular material that conforms to and grips objects.   At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Empire Robotics displayed their innovative soft gripper technology by outcompeting human challengers with precision ping pong...

Snowflakes photographed by new high-speed camera

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In the late 1800's, Wilson Bentley and Gustav Hellmann began photographing snowflakes. Their photos would go on to spark the public's fascination with snowflakes. Today University of Utah engineer Cale Fallgatter and atmospheric scientist Tim Garrett are using a new camera system that photographs free-falling snowflakes. The technology behind the camera that revealed the intricate, imperfect beauty of snowflakes can now expose their potential danger. About three years ago, a new...

Smart vents to save energy – CES 2015

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NSF-funded small business Keen Home has developed a smart vent that opens and closes to reduce uncomfortable hot and cold spots, save energy in unused rooms, and tailor a home’s heating and cooling to fit specific lifestyles. The new wireless system will respond automatically based on users’ habits and presence. Keen Home co-founder Nayeem Hussain explains how the smart vents integrate into daily life. Keen Home is funded through NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research program....

Engineering the spark that starts wildfires

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Hot metal fragments can be created from power lines, overheated brakes, railway tracks, or any other manner of metal-on-metal action in our industrialized society. The particles can reach more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, around the boiling point of most metals. Although these bits cool as they fall to the ground, they can ignite a flame that quickly spreads if they land on a prime fuel source like pine needles or dry grass. At least 28,000 fires occur each year in the U.S. due to...