Cornell University and University of Chicago Created Robotic Arm

Cornell University and the University of Chicago have developed a new robotic arm that works in much the same way as many others we’ve seen, but with a twist. Unlike most robotic arms we’ve seen which emulate a human hand, the researchers have created what they call the “simple passive universal gripper.” This uses a membrane filled with a mass of granular material (like a balloon filled with sand) connected to an air compressor and vacuum. To pick up an object, the balloon pushes down on it and then the vacuum kicks in, causing the balloon to harden and grip the object. To throw the item, the process is reversed, with a compressor quickly pumping air into the membrane to project the grabbed object at speed.

Tesla Unveils Model X Electric SUV

Electric car maker Tesla unveiled its third car, an all-electric SUV, minivan hybrid called the Model X, for the first time. First thing you’ll notice about the car will be its “falcon wing” rear doors. Instead of opening to the side like regular doors in the front, these “falcon wing” doors open upwards instead, resembling the wings of a bird when open. The doors even feature a double hinge so that they take up less horizontal space when opening, which makes it more practical especially in tight places.

Bootstrapper Recognizes Man by Their Shoes

Team from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, has developed a system known as Bootstrapper which distinguishes between users based on their footwear. When a user interacts with the tabletop computer, the Bootstrapper system, which consists of one or more depth cameras mounted to the table’s edge, observes their shoes and matches them to a database of known shoe images that are associated with specific user profiles. When multiple users are interacting with the table at the same time, the system also takes into account the hand orientation of the touch inputs so they aren’t mismatched.

Magic Mirror System for Anatomy Education

Using the Kinect as some sort of “magic mirror”, researchers at the Technical University of Munich created an augmented reality application that lets people see what the insides of their bodies look like, as opposed to just seeing a reflection of themselves in the Kinect “mirror”

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