Robot arms and grippers do important work every hour of every day. They’re used in production lines around the world, toiling virtually ceaselessly outside of their designated maintenance windows.
They’re typically built out of steel, and powered by brawny hydraulic systems. However, some scientists have gone for a smaller scale approach that may horrify the squeamish. They’ve figured out how to turn a dead spider into a useful robotic gripper.
The name of this new Frankensteinian field? Why, it’s necrobotics, of course!
Continue reading “Dead Spider Becomes Robot Gripper: It’s Necrobotics!”
We’ll admit it is a bit of a gimmick, but [Adam Beedle’s] Spider-Bot did make us smile. The little robot can launch a “web” and use it to swing. It is hard to picture, but the video below will make it all clear. It can also use the cable to climb a wall, sort of.
The bot’s ability to fling a 3D printed hook on a tether is remarkable. Details are scarce, but it looks like the mechanism is spring-loaded with a servo motor to release it. Even trailing a bit of string behind it, the range of the hook is impressive and can support the weight of the robot when it winches itself up. There’s even a release mechanism that reminds us more of Batman than Spiderman.
If we were going full autonomous, we’d consider a vision system. On the other hand, you could probably tell a lot by the tension on the cable and some way to measure the angle of it coming out of the robot. If you come up with a practical use for any of this, we’d love to see it.
We’ve seen robots that fly, jump, and can climb walls before. We don’t remember one that swings like Tarzan.
Continue reading “Grappling Hook Robot Swings Like Spiderman”
Companies spend thousands developing a project for the market, hoping their investment will return big. Investing like this happens every day and won’t shock anyone. What may surprise you is someone who spends more than a decade and thousands of their own dollars to make an open-source version of a highly-marketable product. In this case, we’re talking about genetically modified yeast that produces spider silk. If that sounds like a lead-in to some Spiderman jokes and sci-fi references, you are correct on both accounts. [Justin Atkin] had some geneticist work under his belt when he started, so he planned to follow familiar procedures like extracting black widow DNA, isolating and copying the silk genes, and pasting them into a yeast strain. Easy peasy, right? Naturally, good science doesn’t happen overnight.
There are a few contenders for the strongest spider silk among which the golden silk orb-weaver gets the most attention, but the black widow’s webbing is nearly as strong, and [Justin] is happy to wear black widow inspired bling, whereas the golden orb-weaver looks like it crawled out of Starship Troopers. His first attempt to extract DNA starts with a vial of preserved
nightmare fuel spider specimens because that is a thing you can just go online and buy. Sadly, they were candied in alcohol, and that obliterates DNA, so he moved to dried specimens from breeders, which also failed to produce results, and those were just the landmark hangups.
Continue reading “Spider Silk, Spider Silk, Made Using A Strain Of Yeast”
Many people who read Hackaday hold the title of “Webmaster” but [The Thought Emporium] is after slightly different credentials with the same title. He aims to modify a strain of yeast to produce spider silk. Charlotte’s Web didn’t go into great detail about the different types of silk that a spider can produce, but the video and screencap after the break give a rundown of how spiders make different types of silk, and that each species of spider makes a unique silk. For this experiment, the desired silk is “beta sheets” which the video explains are hard and strong.
Some of the points mentioned in the video rely on things previously mentioned in other videos, but if you are the type of person excited by genetic modifications or using modified yeast to produce something made by another lifeform, you will probably be just fine. This is one of the most technical videos made by [The Thought Emporium] as he goes into the mechanisms of the modifications he will be making to the yeast. It sounds like a lot of work and the financial benefit of being able to produce spider silk affordably could be great, but in true hacker form, the procedure and results will be made freely available.
For some background into this hacker’s mind, check out how he has hacked his own lactose intolerance and even produced graphene through electrochemical exfoliation.
Continue reading “Arachnid Ale Uses Yeast To Make Spider Silk”
The wonders of 3D printing don’t stop coming. Whether it’s printing tools on the International Space Station, printing houses out of concrete, or just making spare parts for a child’s toy, there’s virtually nothing you can’t get done with the right 3D printer, including spicing up your Halloween decorations.
Not only is this pumpkin a great-looking decoration for the season on its own, but it can also transform into a rather unsettling spider as well for a little bit of traditional Halloween surprise. The print is seven parts, which all snap into place and fold together with a set of ball-and-socket joints. While it doesn’t have any automatic opening and closing from a set of servos, perhaps we will see someone come up with a motion-activated pumpkin spider transformer that will shock all the trick-or-treaters at the end of this month.
It’s not too late to get one for yourself, either. The files are available on Thingiverse or through the project site. And we’ve seen plenty of other Halloween hacks and projects throughout the years too if you’re looking for other ideas, like the recent candy machine game, a rather surprising flying human head, or this terrifying robot.
Beware, arachnophobes, the robots are coming for you!
What else would you be expected to think if you watched a hexapod robot display its best Transformers impression by turning into a wheel and pushing itself in your direction? The BionicWheelBot — developed by [Festo] — should rightly remind you of the cartwheeling Flic-Flac spider, the main inspiration for the robot. Of course, Star Wars fans might justifiably see a Droideka.
The BionicWheelBot can — almost — seamlessly transition between crawling around on six legs, to literally rolling away. To do so, its three pairs of legs sequentially fold up into a shape befitting its namesake and then pauses for a moment — almost for dramatic effect — before the real fun begins.
Continue reading “It’s A Spider! It’s A Droideka! It’s Both!”
Some of the creepy-crawlers under our feet, flitting through the air, and waiting on silk webs, incorporate metals into their rigid body parts and make themselves harder. Like Mega Man, they absorb the metals to improve themselves. In addition to making their bodies harder, silk-producing creatures like worms and spiders can spin webs with augmented properties. These silks can be conductive, insulating, or stronger depending on the doping elements.
At Italy’s University of Trento, they are pushing the limits and dosing spiders with single-wall carbon nanotubes and graphene. The carbon is suspended in water and sprayed into the spider’s habitat. After the treatment, the silk is measured, and in some cases, the silk is significantly tougher and surpasses all the naturally occurring fibers.
Commercial spider silk harvesting hasn’t been successful, so maybe the next billionaire is reading this right now. Let’s not make aircraft-grade aluminum mosquitoes though. In fact, here’s a simple hack to ground mosquitoes permanently. If you prefer your insects alive, maybe you also like their sound.
Thank you for the tip, [gippgig].