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RoboBrrd Highlight Reel: RoboBrrdalicious

Learn how to make your own interactive robotic brrd

1 min read
RoboBrrd Highlight Reel: RoboBrrdalicious

We're big fans of RobotGrrl around here, and one of her current projects is these totally cool, totally DIY-able interactive robotic birds called RoboBrrds. If you've always wanted to throw yourself bodily into the world of Arduino-powered DIY robotics, this is a great way to go.

Here's just a taste of what these little brrds are capable of, as well as what goes into making them:

If you like what you see, you can build your very own RoboBrrd thanks to this exhaustively awesome Instructable here, and you can also find details over on Make: Projects. It'll take maybe a week's worth of on-and-off work, you'll likely need to order some electronics (and possibly some extra popsicles), and if you don't know how to solder, well, here's a great excuse to learn! YEAH!

Once you get your very own RoboBrrd up and running (or even if you don't), you can share it with the world (or at least with fellow robotics geeks) every Thursday night  at 8pm EST through a Google+ video hangout. AND, you should remember that RobotGrrl is doing all of this out of the goodness of her (robotic?) heart, and there's a handy little donate button on her website should you wish to help inspire future generations of roboticists. 

[ RoboBrrd ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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