Swarms of pumpkin-like robots could explore and map the oceans

A start-up is developing underwater drones to map the seas.

THE planet’s surface is more than 70 per cent water. Yet we know more about the moon than we do about what’s going on in the deep oceans. A Massachusetts start-up has a ball-sized robot it wants to fix that.

Meet EVE – the Ellipsoidal Vehicle for Exploration – a sensor-studded yellow robot the shape of a pumpkin.

Read the full article in New Scientist.

Soft robotic suit gently guides stroke patients’ stride

Image: selimaksan/Getty

It’s enough to put a spring in your step. A soft robotic suit has helped three people recovering from a stroke to walk better.

The suit, developed by a team led by Conor Walsh at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, is made of flexible fabric that attaches to the waist, thigh, calf and shoe. Cables fastened to the outside of the suit can contract in the same directions as muscles, helping to move the legs.

Read the full article in New Scientist.

Gel scaffold paves way for 3D printing of biological organs

3D printing needle creates intricate objects in soft gels

To improve 3D printing, simply add gel. A fresh technique uses one to support complex shapes that would fall apart under their own weight in normal 3D printing.

This new-found combination of strength and delicacy will be crucial if we’re ever to print the biological structures that make up organs, blood vessels and other tissue.

Read the full article in New Scientist.

Conor Walsh | Innovators Under 35 – MIT Technology Review

Walsh with his soft robotic exosuit.

This robotics researcher might have something in just your size.

Most robotics labs don’t contain sewing machines. But there’s a room full of them in Conor Walsh’s lab, along with three full-time textile experts and a wall of fabrics in neat plastic bins. There’s a rack that looks as if it belongs in a sporting goods store, with a row of what could be some new kind of running shorts in an array of sizes.

For Walsh, a robot is not necessarily a rigid metal machine. He’s working on robots that are soft, lightweight, and flexible so people can wear them to enhance their abilities.

Read the full profile in MIT Technology Review.

Soft Robotic Glove Could Put Daily Life Within Patients’ Grasp

This robotic glove is softer and more lightweight than available assistive technology for the hands.

The latest in assistive technology is a lightweight glove that helps patients with limited mobility grab and pick up objects.

The motor hummed like a belt sander, and without any help from me, my fingers and thumb curled together in a grasping motion. It felt as if someone else’s hand were underneath mine—someone stronger, moving my fingers for me.

Read the full article in MIT Technology Review.