Engineering 101

Soft Robots for Agility

Untethered soft robots mechanically adapt to their surroundings and tasks and are becoming more agile and controlled. Cornell University researchers led by Kirstin Petersen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering,…

50-Meter Laser Experiment Sets Record

Where’s Guinness when you need him? It happened at UMD’s Energy Research Facility—Physics Professor Howard Milchberg and his team transformed a hallway into a laboratory. In anticipation of the experiment, they covered all shiny surfaces to…

A First: Robot Able to Smell

We've come a long way. Eight years ago, I updated an article series I originally contributed to Digi-Key in 2011. That update, The Five Senses of Sensors—Part I: Smell, Taste, and Hearing, discusses the technology that was available at the…

From Robotic Wing to Flapping Drones

Based on the findings of a recent study by Lund University in Sweden, the efficiency of bird flight (and bird-like dinosaur flight before it) is at least partially a result of their ability to fold their wings during the upstroke. This may…