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Mechatronic jellyfish, sensor-laden seals, and lobster look-alikes are just a few of the robots whose main design techniques derive from the animal kingdom. These artificial jellyfish [above] are blooming in the labs of engineers at Festo, a German automation company. Inside each AquaJelly’s umbrella-shaped top are 11 LEDs that pulse infrared signals. The lights allow the robots to communicate with their mechanical brethren, enabling them to operate as a swarm and adjust their positions relative to each other. IEEE Spectrum Online shows you how today’s robots are gaining new abilities to swim, skip, and nuzzle in a convincingly lifelike way.
COULD THE BIGGEST photovoltaic power plant in the eastern United States be justified without renewables mandates and generous subsidies? IEEE Spectrum’s Bill Sweet investigates.
KEEP PACE with the latest major software crashes and system failures on Robert N. Charette’s Risk Factor blog.
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