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The Best Robotics Kits for Kids Learning About Engineering, Coding, and Electronics – IAM Network


Robotics is a great way to introduce your child to a wide range of related brain-stimulating areas--coding, electronics, 3D printing, mechanical engineering--you name it. We live in an increasingly digitized, mechanized world, why not teach your child early on how to navigate our current world's STEM-heavy waters? Kids robotics kits teach children the value of hands-on learning and immerse them in the wide world of coding. Whether you're in the market for a battery operated, solar-powered, or hydraulic-run robot, we've got the perfect product for you. This kit includes the materials to build a robot on wheels that can turn around, follow a delineated path, and avoid obstacles.

Why do birds crash into solar panels?


Billions of birds die annually from collisions with windows, communication towers, wind turbines, and other human-made objects. One reason is that birds see a reflection of the sky in the object and think they're flying into an unobstructed path. This is even a problem for solar panel facilities, which see up to 138,000 bird deaths per year in the US from collisions with equipment. Though damage to the solar panels is minimal, officials worry about the impact these structures have on local wildlife. To combat the problem, the Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Argonne National Laboratory $1.3 million to develop a system that can automatically monitor bird activity.

Building Better Dust Detection


Throughout the world, dust storms wreak havoc on many aspects of human life including health, aviation, solar power generation, and agriculture, among others. Given the hazards that this natural phenomena causes, it is imperative that societies are prepared for the onset of these storms to minimize economic loss and save lives. Utilizing the data received from Earth observation satellites, it is possible for atmospheric scientists to detect developing dust storms; however, even for experts, it can be difficult to detect dust storms in satellite images obscured by clouds, smoke, or nighttime conditions. Furthermore, manual detection requires atmospheric scientists to gather together the relevant satellite images, which takes time before a complete analysis can be made. The ability to automatically detect dust is potentially a large boon for the Earth science community.

Artificial intelligence helps researchers up-cycle waste carbon - Express Computer


Researchers at University of Toronto Engineering and Carnegie Mellon University are using artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate progress in transforming waste carbon into a commercially valuable product with record efficiency. They leveraged AI to speed up the search for the key material in a new catalyst that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) into ethylene -- a chemical precursor to a wide range of products, from plastics to dish detergent. The resulting electrocatalyst is the most efficient in its class. If run using wind or solar power, the system also provides an efficient way to store electricity from these renewable but intermittent sources. "Using clean electricity to convert CO2 into ethylene, which has a $60 billion global market, can improve the economics of both carbon capture and clean energy storage," says Professor Ted Sargent, one of the senior authors on a new paper published today in Nature.

An Army of Microscopic Robots Is Ready to Patrol Your Body


If I were to picture futuristic bots that could revolutionize both microrobotics and medicine, a Pop-Tart with four squiggly legs would not be on top of my list. Last week, Drs. Marc Miskin*, Itai Cohen, and Paul McEuen at Cornell University spearheaded a collaboration that tackled one of the most pressing problems in microrobotics--getting those robots to move in a controllable manner. They graced us with an army of Pop-Tart-shaped microbots with seriously tricked-out actuators, or motors that allow a robot to move. In this case, the actuators make up the robot's legs. Each smaller than the width of a human hair, the bots have a blocky body equipped with solar cells and two pairs of platinum legs, which can be independently triggered to flex using precise laser zaps.

Britain's first robot ship prepares to set sail


'We are at the mercy of the weather," smiles Don Scott, standing on a slender steel hull. "If the sea is like glass it could take two weeks, but the north Atlantic weather is going to have a lot to say about that. Here on a hillside industrial park above Plymouth, Britain's boldest foray into robot shipping is taking shape. On Sept 16, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship, a 15-metre-long steel trimaran, will slip into Plymouth Sound to prepare for a pioneering voyage: the first unmanned transatlantic crossing powered by artificial intelligence and solar energy. Barring an accident, no human beings will be involved in the 3,220-mile trip, which will mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower crossing in 1620.

The Future of Cleaning Oil Spills: Robots, Wood Chips and Sponges WSJD - Technology

Recent oil spills in Russia and Mauritius have shown that the industry still needs better methods for cleaning up accidents. Researchers are working on some unlikely-sounding solutions, including oil-absorbing wood chips, a solar-powered robot and a reusable sponge. The oil industry is controlled by large companies and their suppliers, which together have often been the cause of spills, but university researchers and small firms are playing a key role in promoting new ways to clean up. Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a reusable sponge coated in a mixture containing iron and carbon that can absorb 30 times its weight in oil. The sponge, similar to sponges in everyday items such as furniture cushions and packaging, has attracted interest for further testing from several major oil companies, according to the researchers.

Army of tiny injectable marching robots set to wage war on disease

Daily Mail - Science & tech

An army of microscopic robots thinner than a human hair have been created that can be injected into the body to wage war on disease, researchers claim. It resembles the plot of sixties film Fantastic Voyage in which a vehicle was injected into a patient. Scientists inside destroyed his blood clot - with a laser gun. The new real-world micro-bots could monitor nerve impulses in the heart or brain, according to scientists from Cornell University who created the machines. The minute four-legged machines will also be able to move through tissue and blood after entering the body via a hypodermic needle.

#317: Environmental Monitoring with the SlothBot, with Gennaro Notomista


Gennaro discusses the SlothBot, a solar-powered robot that slowly traverses wires, like its animal namesake, to monitor the environment. Gennaro Notomista is a robotics PhD student in the Georgia Robotics and InTelligent Systems Laboratory at Georgia Tech. Gennaro studies control frameworks, with the goal of making robots robust against a changing environment so they can handle long-duration deployments. Toward this goal, he explores constraints-driven control and approaches to coverage control, or enabling robots to traverse closed environments. In addition to the SlothBot, Gennaro has applied his research to areas such as autonomous driving and swarm robotics.

Solar panel windows achieve record-breaking energy efficiency

The Independent - Tech

Researchers have achieved an efficiency record for transparent solar cells, paving the way for skyscraper windows to serve as power sources. A team from the University of Michigan used an organic, carbon-based design to transform sunlight into electricity with an efficiency rate of 8.1 per cent. Commercial solar cells, which are typically made using silicon rather than carbon, tend to have an efficiency rate of between 14 and 19 per cent. "Windows, which are on the face of every building, are an ideal location for organic solar cells because they offer something silicon can't, which is a combination of very high efficiency and very high visible transparency," said Stephen Forrest, a professor of engineering who led the research. The transparency of the solar cells used in the research had 43.3 per cent transparency, which is similar to the transparency of windows used in skyscrapers and tinted car windows.