Robotic dexterity using…coffee?

One of the biggest obstacle within the realm of robotics is how to grip things. Sure, if your robot is placed at an assembly line where all the pieces are the same shape, it may be simple. But what if you want your robotic hand to be able to grip any shape? What was a seemingly impossible request before is now so easy, you can make it at home! All you need is a party balloon, ground coffee and a vacuum pump, and your robotic gripper can lift almost anything. And if you add a pressure pump, it can even throw things!If you don’t believe us then just watch this fantastic video from Cornell Creative Machines Lab! Isn’t it amazing how the simplest of materials, combined just right, can solve the most difficult of problems?

 

Make your own circuit board!

Bread boards and perfboard are fine for prototyping and quick setup/testing, but nothing can beat the great look of a professionally designed printed circuit board. The process of making them can seem a bit daunting, but it’s not that difficult. In fact, you don’t even need any special CAD skills to make the pattern, you can use any painting program or even a permanent marker to create your pattern. Collin Cunningham at Make magazine took it upon himself to make this video to show just how easy it can be to make them. Follow these instructions, and you will end up with a circuit board so beautiful, you’ll consider using a transparent case for it, just to show off your copper art!