science
This Caterpillar Can Eat Plastic Shopping Bags

In a chance discovery, a European research team has learned that a common insect larva is capable of breaking down the plastic found in shopping bags and other polyethylene-based products. This rubbish-munching caterpillar could inspire scientists to develop a new chemical process to tackle the growing problem of plastic waste. Read More >>

robots
A Squishy Robotic Octopus Tentacle Might Not Actually Be Nightmare Fuel

Hollywood movies have used giant squids and octopuses to inspire underwater nightmares for decades. But Festo, a German company that makes industrial machinery, has realised that an octopus’ amazing muscle-packed body and tentacles could actually be the ideal way to design and build a robot destined to work alongside humans. Read More >>

science
Scientists Made the Perfect Underwater Glue By Stealing an Idea From Shellfish

Even the strongest artificial glues are completely useless when you try to apply them underwater, but somehow shellfish are able to hold fast to rocks to deter predators from trying to carry them away. Clearly, nature has already figured out how to make glues that work underwater, and now researchers may have discovered the secret. Read More >>

design
A Wind Turbine With Flapping Wings Might Be Quieter and Safer For Birds

Unless they’ve got stake in a big oil company, the most common reasons people have for opposing the installation of wind turbines is the noise pollution and the risk they pose to birds. But a radically redesigned turbine with flapping wings instead of spinning blades might finally solve both of those problems. Read More >>

robots
This Cyborg Stingray Is the Coolest Thing You’ll See All Day

An international team of researchers has developed an eerily realistic robotic stingray that blurs the line between animal and machine. Fuelled by light-activated heart cells, the cyborg fish could inspire the development of futuristic medical devices and incredibly life-like synthetic animals. Read More >>

robots
This is the Smallest Flying Robot Capable of Landing on Surfaces

Birds, bats, and insects can’t fly forever, and neither can microrobotic drones. A new system that taps into the power of static electricity — the same principle that allows a balloon to stick to a wall — now allows robotic insects to land and stick to surfaces, greatly extending their operational life. Read More >>

science
Graphene Patterned After Moth Eyes Could Give Us ‘Smart Wallpaper’

Tweaking the structure of graphene so that it matches patterns found in the eyes of moths could one day give us “smart wallpaper,” among a host of other useful technologies. Read More >>

science
This Locust Robot Jumps 11 Feet High and Could Scour Disaster Zones

Locusts get a bad rap—noise and plagues!—but they’ve inspired Israeli engineers to make bug-like robots that could be a godsend in emergencies. Read More >>

science
Seahorses’ Square Tails May Be the Key to Building Better Robots

It’s hip to be square if you’re a seahorse. Or rather, it has certain adaptive advantages. Cylindrical tails may be much more popular in the animal kingdom, but the seahorse’s bizarre square-prism tail has far better mechanical properties. Read More >>

drones
Flying Rescue Drones Will Claw Like Eagles and Swarm Like Bees

Nature-inspired engineering isn’t new but engineers are still finding new ways to take cues from Mother Nature. We got the beastly lowdown at the RoboUniverse conference in New York this week. Read More >>

robots
This Skeleton Robot Walks and Swims Exactly Like a Salamander

Pleurobot looks like a salamander skeleton come to life and that's no coincidence. The robot was engineered to slink around exactly like a salamander. And we mean exactly. Read More >>

3d printing
This Incredible Robotic Arm Prints Plastic Like a Spider Makes Silk

Robotic arms have been around for years, 3D printers for decades, and we've even seen 3D printers attached to robotic arms before. But this... is different. Read More >>