In the quest for better energy storage, researchers have investigated all manner of thin, flexible battery technology, power sources based on kinetic energy, and even batteries integrated into clothing. How about batteries you can paint onto any surface? According to research published in the June 28 issue of Scientific Reports, new “spray-on” battery technology could potentially turn any surface into an energy storage device. Continue reading
A Rice University professor’s low-cost robots, a mechanical engineer’s hex key organizer, and a wheelchair for rough terrain were honored by the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award Program this year.
Proto Labs launched the Cool Idea! program this year to give designers an opportunity to prototype their products. Throughout the year, the company provides up to $100,000 worth of prototyping and short-run production services to award recipients.
The R-One Robot
Rice University Professor James McLurkin was awarded prototyping and production services to help launch a group of low-cost robots for undergraduate engineering students. McLurkin had been using the same robots in his classroom for nearly eight years, but couldn’t afford to replace them. He decided to design his own model (called the R-One) that can be programmed for different levels of learning, and that is inexpensive enough to be used in a K-12 program.
You can see a video for McLurkin’s robots below: Continue reading