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Science

New Shape Born From Rubber Bands 120

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sproingees dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Physicists playing with rubber bands have discovered a new shape. In an attempt to create a spring that replicates the light-bending properties of cuttlefish ink sacs, a team of researchers suspended two rubber strips of different lengths. Connecting the bottoms of the two strips to a cup of water, the shorter band stretched to the same length as the longer one. After gluing the two stretched strips together, the researchers gradually drained the water from the cup. As the bands retracted and twisted from the reduced strain, the researchers were shocked to see the formation of a hemihelix with multiple rainbow-shaped boundaries called perversions. The team hopes their work inspires nanodevices and molecules that twist and transform from flat strips into predetermined 3D shapes on demand." There are several videos attached to the original paper, and all can be viewed without flash.

Comment: Re: Improvement (Score 1) 232

by David Gould (#45135635) Attached to: ITER Fusion Reactor On Track To Generating Power By 2028

Also, even with all the perpetually shifting estimates, it really does appear to be getting closer. It's not a case of "always 50 years away": 50 years ago, it was "50 years away"; 20 years ago, it was "25 years away"; now, it's "15 years away". That is actual progress -- not as fast as we'd like, or as was once expected, but progress.

Comment: Re: wrong two words (Score 2) 740

by David Gould (#44954805) Attached to: Somebody Stole 7 Milliseconds From the Federal Reserve

> (Or should I be expecting a Whooshing sound any minute now?)

Yes.

> I suspect the answer is: the "Chicago Exchanges" have nodes on the low-latency Wall Street network.

No doubt they've got the most expensive, premium, low-latency network connection money can buy; you're right that far. But did you seriously mean to suggest that money can currently buy a faster-than-light connection? That they have negative latency?

Robotics

Inside Mantis: a 2-Ton Hexapod Robot With a Linux Brain 84

Posted by timothy
from the but-can-it-get-to-boston-on-one-battery-charge? dept.
DeviceGuru writes "After four years of development, Micromagic Systems has finally completed the Mantis Hexapod Walking Machine (YouTube video), claimed to be the world's largest all-terrain operational hexapod robot. The device stands nearly three meters tall, weighs just under two tons, and is controlled by a PC/104 module stack running embedded Linux."

Comment: Re:Point? (Score 2) 43

by David Gould (#43312935) Attached to: Giant Robotic Jellyfish Unveiled by Researchers

If you RTFS, you might notice that it mentions "replicat[ing] the energy-efficient nature of jelly movement". Any task that's useful to perform in water can be done better by making the vehicle more energy-efficient. Other properties of the design will no doubt make it more suitable for some tasks than for others. That'll all shake out as the technology becomes available to designers of machines for all sorts of purposes. Adding another mode of locomotion to the toolkit available to such designers can only be useful.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable. -- C.B. Luce

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