Welcome to Cyber Dump number 71, your look at what's going on in this insane age of technology that we live in. As always, all the source links mentioned are below. Let's go.
Last week, technology company Festo showed off their BionicSwift flying bird-like robot.
This agile winged bot can co-ordinate with BionicSwifts, and has the ability to fly autonomously using radio-based indoor GPS.
The company envisages this kind of robot being used in automated factories, for both realtime mapping, and potentially transporting materials.
Engineering researchers at North Carolina State University have developed soft robots inspired by jellyfish that can outswim their real-life counterparts.
We've seen a few different soft robots throughout the years, but apparently these ones by the team use a technique of pre-stressing the polymers to make them more powerful.
As we move into an age of increased automation, warehouses and logistics are going to be an area changed beyond recognition.
Berkshire Grey uploaded a video the other day showing their automated warehouse solutions and it really highlights all this. Fulfillment centers for e-commerce are getting to the stage where almost no human staff are required to process thousands of items.
Another component of that logistics supply chain are the trucks which actually transport goods. The other day self-driving truck maker TuSimple announced their plans to set up a coast to coast autonomous freight network across the US.
Teaming up with companies such as UPS and Penske, they hope to establish a fully driverless freight network spanning west coast US to the east coast by 2024.
Think about how drastically things will change once manufacturing a product, to warehousing and delivering to consumers will be carried out almost entirely by machines.
Software developer James Stanley has been working on a fully 3D printed mini keypad, and he documented all his findings in a recent blog post.
What's really cool about this is the fact that the switch mechanisms are also 3D printed, with just some copper wiring needing to be added for the connection.
I look forward to seeing where this kind of thinking goes, and hopefully one day in the not-too-distant future we'll be able to print things like switches, and other electronic mechanisms completely self-enclosed.
In a similar vein, Hackaday user Vitor Barbosa has modified a Lexmark laserjet printer to print directly onto PCBs. An arduino is added to control the printer, and the original paper feed is replaced by an aluminium one. The user dips his board in acetone before printing so the toner sticks to the board, then you etch as you normally would.
Facebook's VR research lab has been working on some other interesting stuff. This time they have taken their photorealistic avatars, and added natural looking eyes and tracking.
They say the goal for this technology is eventually to be used for virtual telepresence systems, enabling realistic feeling eye contact and interaction.
DroGone unveiled their drone-catching drone the other day. The design, which was developed at ETH Zurich, is similar to the net casting spider, in that the target drones are caught up in a net instead of trying to damage them, leading to crashes.
Beach safety teams in New South Wales, Australia have been trialing the use of drones to detect sharks off coastal surf spots. The program which has been going for a few years will now expand to up to 80 drones on 34 beaches.
Although these aren't technically drones I thought it was interesting. Penn engineers have created nanocardboard sheets that levitate when bright light is shone on them.
The sheets criss-cross structure has no moving parts, and floats due to the temperature differential wich flows air around it's hollow design.
The goal is to miniaturize chemical sensors for detecting water or methane, and to drop them on Mars as a way to find life.
Finally let's end with something cool. I'm not a massive car guy, but this looks sweet, especially that rear light.
Automotive startup Czinger, is set to launch it's 21C hypercar next year, and what's interesting is the fact that most of it was 3D printed. The company had to create their own specialist printers and materials in order to create not only the lightweight plastics for the dash etc, but also the frame and other load bearing parts.
I can picture this driving around in Night City.
Anyways, that's all for this week. I will be getting back to some hardware projects soon, once I've got all the zine pre-orders shipped out, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I hope you have a good day and I'll see you in the next video.
Music: Xtract - Audiotool Day 2016 (CC License)