I-Swarm robot update


Back in October we reported on the I-Swarm robotics project. [Travis] sent us some more information. These tiny robots are programmed optically and are able to respond to programming commands via an infrared signal. Locomotion is facilitated with piezoelectric actuators and the power to the units provided through a solar cell. It is not clear that this project is still ongoing as the I-Swarm web page lists a project termination date of 6/31/2008. That being said, the video embedded after the break was posted two days ago showing swarm movement and detailing the programming, testing, and hardware specifics. Continue reading “I-Swarm robot update”

BlackBerry Storm 2 teardown


Photos of the BlackBerry Storm 2, both inside and out, have been leaked. Engadget provides us with the specifics, going into detail about the four large piezoelectric pressure sensors that sit underneath the screen. It looks as though the screen will still function as a button, just without the physical movement of the previous model that received mixed reviews. For a better explanation of the technology behind the phone’s innovative screen, here’s a video describing it in more detail and a writeup over at the CrackBerry forums.

Dance floor power generation

With concerns about the environment at an all-time high, do we roll up our sleeves and fix the situation or set our fears aside and dance the night away? [Andrew Charalambous], a nightclub owner in from Britain, doesn’t think we should have to choose, so he installed a dance floor that harnesses power from dancers into one of his clubs.

The dance floor uses piezoelectrics to collect the power: as clubgoers dance, electricity-producing crystals under the floor are compressed, producing a small current. The current is collect by embedded batteries, which in turn provide the power to lights, audio systems, and other parts of the club that consume electricity.

It’s certainly an interesting idea, but we’d like to know just how much power these floors are able to generate. Is this a gimmick or a genuinely practical solution? [Charalambous]’s club has adopted the somewhat hokey policy of forcing patrons to sign a pledge to be climate-conscious and do what they can to help the Earth, but that’s a small price to pay to earn green karma and have fun at the same time.

[via io9]