Research, Development, & Legos

An engineering Ph.D. student at Michigan State University has built a robot that has “legs to jump with, wheels that let it roll along, and a tail that lets it do a perfect flip, so it always lands on its feet.” The acrobatic robot is called TailBot and was inspired by a study of how reptiles use their tails to balance. TailBot can jump up to 32 inches and will be presented at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Tokyo later this year. Read the article from Discovery News

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In a recent paper, student researchers from Virginia Tech detail their work in developing a hard hat for construction workers that can detect carbon monoxide levels and warn of carbon monoxide poisoning. The ten students from Tech said that “the helmet is the first step toward a long-term vision of having a network of wearable and environmental sensors and intelligent personal protective gear on construction sites that will improve safety for workers.” For more information, read the article

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TIME recently reported on the excitement surrounding the September 1 release of Lego’s new Mindstorms sets. The Denmark-based Lego company has designed the new sets “for kids over ten and make it easy to build basic, remote-controlled robots.” Click here to read the article, for input from Lego enthusiasts and other testimonials related to how Legos have sparked lifelong interest in engineering and other STEM fields.

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