In the classic 1966 American science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, a submarine crew was miniaturised and injected into a body to fix a blood clot in the brain. That obviously isn't how future medical science is going to work, but the notion of creating microscopic machines to perform complex tasks is certainly on point. A recent advance, in which robots made from DNA were programmed to sort and deliver molecules to a specified location, now represents an important step in this futuristic direction.
Tagged With engineering
Mazda may be well on its way to introducing a new Mazda3 already, and reports indicate the new model may be bringing along an all-new, sparkless ignition gasoline engine with it.
About 6 trillion cigarette butts are produced every year worldwide, leading to more than 1.2 million tonnes of cigarette butt waste. This is set to increase by more than 50 per cent by 2025, mainly due to an increase in world population.
Now an Australian research team is developing a way for cigarette butts can be turned into footpaths, bricks and other building materials - that have the added bonus of cooling our cities.
Do you deliberately avoid visiting friends who live in multi-story buildings without an elevator? No one would fault you — having to climb even just a single flight of stairs is like being forced to work out against your will. But thanks to engineers at Georgia Tech and Emory University, stairs might one day do all the hard work for you.
One of the biggest engineering challenges of building a towering skyscraper isn't keeping the structure from falling over, it's moving all the people around inside of it. To improve efficiency, and facilitate the construction of even taller buildings, Germany's ThyssenKrupp has completely redesigned elevators so that they can move sideways now, too.
Video: We've all seen the primary school science experiment where sticking a couple of electrodes into a potato produces enough current to power a small light bulb. But engineer Marek Baczynski took that experiment several steps further, building what could be the world's first autonomous potato — and the ultimate housepet.
Video: As a follow-up to turning the classic LEGO Solo Trainer set into a fully-functional RC plane, aerospace engineer Adam Woodworth is back with an even more impressive build: He somehow made this tiny 27-year-old LEGO Space Shuttle actually fly.
Like maintaining a zen garden, or pruning a bonsai tree, some people stack and balance rocks as a way to relax. But robots don't really experience emotional stress, so why bother teaching a bot to balance rocks? One day, this robot's skills could prove invaluable when it comes to building structures on distant worlds we're trying to colonise.
One of the many challenges of colonising Mars is that the planet is lacking many of the natural resources we rely on here on Earth. We'll need to bring as much of what we need to survive as possible, but you can only pack so much into a spaceship. So scientists are developing ways to utilise at least one of the red planet's most abundant resources: Dust.
Like death and taxes, drone crashes are basically inevitable. Even experienced pilots aren't immune to hardware failures or software problems. But instead of building drones stronger, or wrapping them in awkward safety cages, Swiss researchers have designed a flexible quadcopter that squishes when it crashes, minimising the damage it takes.
You might not think that the teeth in your mouth have much in common with the massive fangs you'll find in a T-rex skull. But at the microscopic level, the core structure of tooth enamel hasn't changed much over the ages. So, scientists are once again copying a tried-and-true Mother Nature design to potentially improve the strength and safety of aeroplanes.