“Drones: They’re not just for spying on you any more. First-person drone racing isn’t a sport yet, but this is the closest we’ll get to watching the Endor speeder bike chase from Return of the Jedi.”
“Remember how blobs of liquid metal morphed into Robert Patrick’s T-1000, the ultimate killing machine in Terminator 2? North Carolina scientists say that sci-fi fantasy is now reality, as a low-voltage current can be used to create morphing electronics.
In the research by a group of scientists at North Carolina State University (NCSU), an alloy of liquid metals was forced to take shapes, driven by a low-voltage electric current. They say that getting control over the surface tension of liquid metals could evolve into morphing and self-healing electronics technology.”
“We’re all familiar with ant colonies, where every tiny creature is running around doing just what it needs to. Well it looks like SRI International has taken inspiration from the giant mounds of insects, to create their own swarms of tiny worker robots that can put together mechanical assemblies and electronic circuits.
Diamagnetic Micro Manipulation (DM3) uses tiny magnets that move under a circuit board, to get the micro-robots to follow a set pattern based on a set of preprogrammed instructions. The system can be set up so just one or a couple of robots are working together, or you can have giant groups of them moving together in sync like some bizarre gymnastics routine. Despite their tiny size, the robots can move up to a foot in a single second, so they can haul around your micro manufacturing supplies pretty swiftly.
SRI says that DM3 can be used for prototyping parts, electronics assembly, biotech lab-on-a-chip experiments, and assembling small mechanical systems in hostile environments. Eventually they plan to scale up the technology, by developing a manufacturing head containing thousands of the little buggers that can build much larger assemblies.”
“Ikea has come out with a new line of furniture that, according to the company, can be assembled within just five minutes. The new Regissör series, announced this week, includes a coffee table, bookshelf, and cabinets — all of which can be put together without any tools.”