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Robotics' Wild Kingdom

An engineer looks to nature to make robots that slither through pipes and climb walls

2 min read

Israeli roboticist Amir Shapiro takes his engineering cues from members of the animal kingdom, though his choices might seem unexpected: snakes and snails. Oh, and cats, too.

In the field of biomimetics-the use of technology to mimic nature--there's a subspecialty that mimics animal locomotion, and several research centers have worked on robots that mimic the undulation of a snake. But Shapiro's team has gone a step further (no pun intended) by combining two concurrent wave motions to create a slithering movement.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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