Ultra-slim gadgets could be the next big breakthrough in technology if an'invisibly thin' material leaves the lab. Made from a two-dimensional metallic material, it promises to make installing an antenna on a surface as easy as applying a coat of spray paint. One of the hardest problems to overcome in today's technology is how to include antennae in their design, say its creators. The new technique means that radio waves can be received and transmitted from the outside of a device, through an external aerial. This opens up the possibility for a whole host of slimmed down gadgets, from smartphones and routers to smart fabrics and other'Internet of Things' devices.
SEE ALSO: Here's how to take photos even when your phone is out of storage The material is the product of research from Drexel University, headed by materials science and engineering professor Yury Gogotsi. The nanomaterial differs from traditional batteries because it opens up more paths for ions to move quickly throughout the material. Electrodes are the places where energy is stored in batteries for charging, so a change here can really morph the entire battery composition and charging process as we know it. The research team at Drexel University has actually been working with the nanomaterial since 2011, but in slightly different use cases -- namely, electromagnetic radiation shielding and water filtering.
A group of scientists have created a resilient RoboBee, that can survive crashing into walls and other robots without being damaged. The invention marks the first microrobot powered by soft artificial muscles that has achieved a controlled flight. Researchers in the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) developed a resilient artificial bee powered by soft actuators. Often these soft components have been dismissed as too difficult to control as their flexibility can lead to the system buckling at weak points if pushed to activate movements at speed. Yufeng Chen, a former graduate student and postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper, said: 'There has been a big push in the field of microrobotics to make mobile robots out of soft actuators because they are so resilient.'
The sight of a RoboBee careening towards a wall or crashing into a glass box may have once triggered panic in the researchers in the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), but no more. Researchers at SEAS and Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a resilient RoboBee powered by soft artificial muscles that can crash into walls, fall onto the floor, and collide with other RoboBees without being damaged. It is the first microrobot powered by soft actuators to achieve controlled flight. "There has been a big push in the field of microrobotics to make mobile robots out of soft actuators because they are so resilient," said Yufeng Chen, Ph.D., a former graduate student and postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper. "However, many people in the field have been skeptical that they could be used for flying robots because the power density of those actuators simply hasn't been high enough and they are notoriously difficult to control. Our actuator has high enough power density and controllability to achieve hovering flight."