Liquid crystal polymer learns to move and grab objects

Conditioning is a method made famous by Ivan Pavlov’s experiments with dogs. Pavlov trained a dog by ringing a bell every time the dog was fed. The dog learned to associate the bell with food, and then drooled when it heard the bell ring, even if it didn’t see anything to eat. In an earlier … Read more Liquid crystal polymer learns to move and grab objects

Tiny swimming donuts deliver the goods

Bacteria and other swimming microorganisms evolved to thrive in challenging environments, and researchers struggle to mimic their unique abilities for biomedical technologies, but fabrication challenges created a manufacturing bottleneck. Microscopic, 3D-printed, tori – donuts ­­- coated with nickel and platinum may bridge the gap between biological and synthetic swimmers, according to an international team of … Read more Tiny swimming donuts deliver the goods

Shape-shifting robot built from ‘smarticles’ shows new locomotion strategy

Building conventional robots typically requires carefully combining components like motors, batteries, actuators, body segments, legs and wheels. Now, researchers have taken a new approach, building a robot entirely from smaller robots known as “smarticles” to unlock the principles of a potentially new locomotion technique. The 3D-printed smarticles – short for smart active particles – can … Read more Shape-shifting robot built from ‘smarticles’ shows new locomotion strategy

A chameleon-inspired smart skin changes color in the sun

Some creatures, such as chameleons and neon tetra fish, can alter their colors to camouflage themselves, attract a mate or intimidate predators. Scientists have tried to replicate these abilities to make artificial “smart skins,” but so far the materials haven’t been robust. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Nano have taken a page from the chameleon’s playbook to … Read more A chameleon-inspired smart skin changes color in the sun

Smart materials provide real-time insight into wearers’ emotions

Researchers from Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications have worked with smart materials on wrist-worn prototypes that can aid people diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and bi-polar disorders in monitoring their emotions. Wrist bands that change colour depending upon the level of emotional arousal allow users to easily see or feel what is happening without … Read more Smart materials provide real-time insight into wearers’ emotions

Building next gen smart materials with the power of sound

Metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, are incredibly versatile and super porous nanomaterials that can be used to store, separate, release or protect almost anything. Predicted to be the defining material of the 21st century, MOFs are ideal for sensing and trapping substances at minute concentrations, to purify water or air, and can also hold large amounts … Read more Building next gen smart materials with the power of sound