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Category: Weird Science

Scientists Remotely Control Cockroaches with a Solar Powered Backpack

Scientists Remotely Control Cockroaches with a Solar Powered Backpack
An international team of mad scientists at Japan’s RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR) has created cyborg cockroaches capable of being steered remotely by humans. And not only that but each cockroach is outfitted with a solar-charging backpack and lithium polymer battery to provide it with all the power it needs to consistently power its steering capabilities.

Mad Scientists Use Wolf Spider Carcasses as Robotic Grippers

Mad Scientists Use Wolf Spider Carcasses as Robotic Grippers
A group of researchers at Texas’s Rice University have developed a method of turning wolf spider carcasses into robotic grippers, making the legs open and extend when a small amount of air is applied inside the carcass and close and grip when the air is drawn back out.

Researchers Develop Octopus Sucker Glove for Grasping Objects Underwater

Researchers Develop Octopus Sucker Glove for Grasping Objects Underwater
Researchers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech (my alma mater!), led by Assistant Professor Michael Bartlett, have developed the Octa-Glove, a glove with octopus-like suckers on the fingers designed for firmly grasping objects underwater without requiring grip strength.

Termitat is an Ant Farm for Termites

Termitat is an Ant Farm for Termites
If you live in a house constructed with a wood frame or wooden siding, this is the last thing you ever want to buy. But if your dwelling is made from brick, concrete, stone, metal, or glass, read on… Do you want to see what termites can do to a piece of wood?

Scientists Create Self-Healing Skin For Robots Using Human Cells

Scientists Create Self-Healing Skin For Robots Using Human Cells
Researchers at The University of Tokyo have covered a robotic finger with skin created from actual human skin cells. It’s also capable of repairing itself when a collagen sheet is applied. And repair itself, it’s going to need to because I’m taking that Terminator finger down!

Liquid-Filled Eyeglasses Automatically Adjust Focus: Bye Bye Bifocals!

Liquid-Filled Eyeglasses Automatically Adjust Focus: Bye Bye Bifocals!
Have 20/20 vision? That must be nice. My eyes are awful, and if they were any worse I’d be wearing dual eye patches right now. But here to push the envelope in vision correction is University of Utah electrical engineering professor Carlos Mastrangelo and Ph.D.

The Eyecam: A Webcam That Looks Like a Moving, Blinking Human Eyeball

The Eyecam: A Webcam That Looks Like a Moving, Blinking Human Eyeball
Because it was inevitable we reach the pinnacle of human achievement at some point, researcher Marc Teyssier has developed the Eyecam, a webcam that resembles a moving, blinking human eyeball. One thing’s for certain: it’s going to be nearly impossible to look away from the camera during Zoom meetings now.

Rats Have Learned to Drive Tiny Cars

Rats Have Learned to Drive Tiny Cars
Apparently, because we don’t already have enough problem with scooters weaving in and out of traffic, scientists are working on a way for rats to drive around in miniature cars. Yes, these rodents can now literally join the rat race.

Scientists Develop Butt Scanner Because Fingerprints Aren’t Enough

Scientists Develop Butt Scanner Because Fingerprints Aren’t Enough
Our butts: just like our fingerprints, they’re all unique. And now scientists at Stanford University have developed a prototype ‘smart toilet’ (links to their scientific paper) that can identify an individual based on their unique, um, analprint.

MIT Scientists Working on Tech That Can Manipulate Your Dreams

MIT Scientists Working on Tech That Can Manipulate Your Dreams
Dreams are weird enough all on their own. So the idea that technology could be used to influence your dreams seems like it could produce even stranger results. Now, researchers from MIT are developing a system that could do just that.

This Tiny Robot Beetle Runs on Methanol Instead of Electricity

This Tiny Robot Beetle Runs on Methanol Instead of Electricity
When it comes to robots, most of them are powered by batteries or plug-in electricity, which in turn drive servos or other motors. But if you’re trying to build insect-sized robots, it’s tough for them to get around them without an external power source.

The World’s Brightest Fluorescent Material Gives Us SMILES

The World’s Brightest Fluorescent Material Gives Us SMILES
If you really want to stand out at a rave, you dress up in fluorescent colors and then stand under the black lights. But if you want to take your illumination to 11, there’s a new material that could up your visibility even more.

These Spray-on Touchscreens Work on 3D Surfaces

These Spray-on Touchscreens Work on 3D Surfaces
From our smartphones to our laptops to our cars to our kitchen appliances, touchscreens have turned up just about everywhere. But touchscreens are generally limited to flat, squared-off surfaces. Now, a team of engineers at the UK’s University of Bristol are demonstrating a technology that could enable touch-based interfaces on all kinds of surfaces.

This Device Can Synthesize Any Flavor on Your Tongue: Taste the Rainbow

This Device Can Synthesize Any Flavor on Your Tongue: Taste the Rainbow
Back in the 1990s a team of engineers created a device called the iSmell. This unusual gadget used scent cartridges to simulate a wide variety of aromas, which could be triggered through computer code. The iSmell ultimately failed due to lack of market interest, but I always thought the idea that you could create anything from the smell of hot chocolate to pepperoni pizza just by mixing chemicals was pretty fascinating.

This Machine Will Probably Never Finish a Full Rotation

This Machine Will Probably Never Finish a Full Rotation
When it comes to telling time with an analog clock, the idea of gear reduction is a very critical piece of the puzzle. Basically, a set of multiple gears work in concert to gradually rotate at slower speeds.

Computer Physics Simulation Can Accurately Mimic Bread Being Pulled Apart

Computer Physics Simulation Can Accurately Mimic Bread Being Pulled Apart
Computer graphics have come a very long way in the past couple of decades, offering up images which are becoming more and more difficult to distinguish from reality. Especially notable are the improvements in physics engines, which allow objects to move and behave more like they do in real life.