Tiny Vibration-Powered Robots Are the Size of the World’s Smallest Ant
By John Toon – Researchers have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers. Swarms of these “micro-bristle-bots” might work together to sense environmental changes, move materials – or perhaps one day repair injuries inside the human body.
The prototype robots respond to different vibration frequencies depending on their configurations, allowing researchers to control individual bots by adjusting the vibration. Approximately two millimeters long – about the size of the world’s smallest ant – the bots can cover four times their own length in a second despite the physical limitations of their small size.
“We are working to make the technology robust, and we have a lot of potential applications in mind,” said Azadeh Ansari, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We are working at the intersection of mechanics, electronics, biology and physics. It’s a very rich area and there’s a lot of room for multidisciplinary concepts.”
A paper describing the micro-bristle-bots has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. The research was supported by a seed grant from Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology. In addition to Ansari, the research team includes George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jun Ueda and graduate students DeaGyu Kim and Zhijian (Chris) Hao. more>
- Soft Wearable Health Monitor Uses Stretchable Electronics, John Toon
- Hackers Could Use Connected Cars to Gridlock Whole Cities, Ben Brumfield
- Reinvented Toilets Could Provide Safe Sanitation for 2.5 Billion People, John Toon
- GTRI Wins $245M Air Force Contract for Engineering, Advanced Technology Support, Joshua Stewart
- Metal Oxide-infused Membranes Could Offer Low-Energy Alternative For Chemical Separations, Josh Brown
- Peanut Plant’s “Chemical Breath” Could Give Clues to Drought and Other Stresses, John Tibbetts
- Georgia Tech Faculty Among Presidential Science and Technology Award Recipients, Denise Ward
- Think Small: Working with clinicians, Georgia Tech researchers develop innovative technology to fill the gaps in pediatric research – and save children’s lives, Kenna Simmons
- Georgia Tech Research Institute Develops and Teaches Tactics to Defend Transport Aircraft, Josh Brown
- What Delayed Earth’s Oxygenation? Maureen Rouhi
- Rising Tundra Temperatures Create Worrying Changes in Microbial Communities, John Toon
- Instability in Antarctic Ice Projected to Make Sea Level Rise Rapidly, Ben Brumfield
- Scientists Discover the Biggest Seaweed Bloom in the World, Josh Brown
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Nature, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Climate change, Georgia Tech, Health, Internet, Skills, Technology
I Can Get Paid for Bike Helmet Art?!
By Jordan Kushins – There’s so much freedom to be found on a bike: hop on, start pedaling, and go go go. But before setting out, adults have an important decision to make: to helmet or not to helmet. Danny Sun understands that despite the fact that strapping one on can literally save your life, helmets can be a tough sell for adults. “I know I work on a product that no one really wants to wear,” he says.
Sun is an art director at Bell, a longtime leader in the motorcycle and bicycle helmet field. He and senior designer Anne Mark have been adorning bike helmets—specifically, “mid-price-point helmets for average everyday riders,” she says—with colors, graphics, finishes, and more for more than a decade. They regularly collaborate with companies such as Disney, Lucasfilm, and Marvel, and produce custom lines for major big-box clients. The full-time job of a helmet designer requires far more than digital creative skills; here’s what it takes to make it in the challenging, curvilinear world of helmet art.
Personal reasons for going without headgear varies, but often, it’s an image thing. “There’s a whole generation who feel like helmets are really dorky,” says Sun.
In the quest to get as many riders as possible opting in, helmet designers have got to offer options that cater to that wide range of potential customers. It’s about finding a balance, but also pushing the boundaries a bit on what might spark a potential purchase—but also joy. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Product, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Adobe, Business improvement, Design, Health, helmet, Skills, Technology
Public disclosures help hold politicians accountable
By Rebecca Stropoli – A common problem in democracies is that, once elected, politicians may fail to address the needs of their constituents, especially the poorer ones. But is there a way to empower the electorate by holding officials accountable for their actions?
MIT’s Abhijit Banerjee and Harvard’s Nils Enevoldsen, Rohini Pande, and Michael Walton examined the effect that publicizing politicians’ records had on electoral results in the 2012 municipal elections in Delhi, India. They find that being issued public report cards caused politicians to shift their spending priorities.
With more than 18 million people, Delhi is the world’s second-largest city, behind Tokyo. Poor people living in slums form a significant share of the Delhi population. Slum dwellers, in fact, account for an electoral majority in many of the city’s 272 single-member wards, each of which elects a councilor to the municipal government every five years.
The anticipation of media reports did influence the policies of politicians representing poorer areas, the findings suggest. Councilors in high-slum wards whose report cards were published shifted their spending priorities to better match the needs of their constituents.
The “effective spending” on the needs of the poor by these councilors over two years increased by about $5,000 on average, or more than 13 percent, Enevoldsen says. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Leadership, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Capital, Chicago Booth, Health, Internet, Leadership, Skills
How local productivity growth affects workers near and far
One city’s boom can be felt across a nation
Chicago Booth – When big cities experience an economic boom, you expect an upsurge in wages and growth in those areas. But there’s some nuance: according to Chicago Booth’s Richard Hornbeck and University of California at Berkeley’s Enrico Moretti, one area’s surge particularly benefits low-skilled workers locally—and high-skilled workers elsewhere.
Using total factor productivity (TFP) as a measure of local productivity growth, Hornbeck Amount and Moretti analyzed two decades of data from major US cities to quantify the direct effects on people living in booming cities and the indirect effects on people elsewhere. Allowing for trade-offs between salary and cost-of-living increases, as well as unequal distribution of benefits across different groups, the researchers find that low-skilled workers gained the most from local productivity growth.
But gains extended further afield: a boom in San Diego or Los Angeles, say, was also felt in other cities. And high-skilled workers gained more from productivity growth in other cities. more>
Posted in Business, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Chicago Booth, Economic development, Finance, Health, Insurance
Perceptible differences that drive top-line growth
Siemens – 150 million times a day…
…someone, somewhere in the world, chooses a Unilever product.
Unilever’s brand portfolio spans 14 categories of home, personal care and food products and includes world favorites such as Lipton, Knorr, Dove and Omo. The company employs 179,000 people in 100 countries worldwide. Its products are sold in the Americas, Europe and Asia/Africa in roughly equal distribution.
Innovation is critical to sustaining Unilever’s growth. “We see product innovation as one of the key drivers of top-line growth,” says Huw Evans, R&D director of information in Unilever’s Home and Personal Care Division. Unilever defines product innovation this way:
“Product innovation means providing the consumer with a product that delivers a perceivable benefit that is differentiated from those of our competitors and that differentiation drives the choice to purchase and use that product,” explains Evans.
“You can change products to improve their price differentials, for example, but if the consumer is not really experiencing a difference, then we wouldn’t classify that as innovation. Innovation is about consumer-perceptible benefits that drive choice. To help achieve this Unilever invests €1 billion every year in research and development, which includes support for five major laboratories around the world that explore new thinking and techniques to help develop our products.” more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Consumer goods, Health, Internet, PLM, Product lifecycle management, Siemens