Miniature Origami Swimming Robot

By Wendy Laursen 2015-06-05 00:17:59

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have demonstrated an untethered miniature origami robot that self-folds, walks, swims and dissolves. From a flat 2D sheet with a magnet on it, the robot folds itself up in a matter of seconds, zips around via magnets on land or water and then gets dunked into a tank of acetone to dissolve completely.

The robot consists of a magnet and PVC sandwiched between laser-cut structural layers (polystyrene or paper). It weighs 0.31g, is 1.7cm long and can travel at speeds of up to four centimeters a second.

In forming itself, heat is applied which causes the PVC to contract and fold along pre-cut layers. The robot is powered by a permanent magnet motor. Its interaction with four electromagnetic coils placed under it provide the energy used for movement, although the magnets don’t move the robot directly. Rather they vibrate it slightly in different directions, and the built-in magnet keeps it moving steadily in one direction.

The robot can be steered through water when the external magnetic field is strong enough.

The MIT researchers haven’t yet added sensors or other payloads, but the robot is designed for use in tight, unreachable spaces. Using different construction materials it could be further enhanced to dissolve in water. The attraction for this biodegradable self-destruction is potential medical applications inside the body.

MIT has already demonstrated a robot cheetah that can run and jump without the need for cables. MIT researchers have also developed a robotic fish that can move and change direction as quickly as a real fish, a soft arm that can grasp objects and slither like a snake, robotic sheep, origami flowers that can open and change colors and robotic ducks that fold into shape by being heated in an oven.


Mystery over oil spill in Indonesia

Enigma surrounds an oil spill that occurred in Indonesia’s Penyu Bay on 20 May.
Until today, no one can say for certain what caused the oil spill.
Indonesia’s state-owned oil company Pertamina initially thought the oil leak occurred when product tanker Martha Petrol, which had been trading in

Coast Guard to Fine Seattle Protestors

By MarEx 2015-06-04 18:54:28

The U.S. Coast Guard has initiated civil penalties against four individuals who entered an established safety-zone around a Shell-contracted vessel in Bellingham Bay near Seattle during Memorial Day weekend.

Cody Erdman, Chiara D’Angelo, Paul Adler and Matthew Fuller were cited in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations for entry into or staying in a federally-regulated safety zone between May 22 and 24.

Coast Guard officials can seek a maximum civil penalty of $40,000 for each entry into the zone or day the individuals violated the zone. The final penalty will be determined by the Coast Guard Hearing Office in Arlington. Hearing officers will be assigned and provide the individuals an opportunity to refute the charges or provide evidence on their behalf.

On April 28, the Coast Guard established 100-yard safety zones around Arctic drilling and support vessels while moored or anchored, and a 500-yard safety zone while transiting to allow maximum use of the waterway by all users consistent with safe navigation.

“The Coast Guard supports and defends the rights of the public to assemble peacefully and protest. However, prolonged violations of the safety zones tax Coast Guard resources and crews hindering the service’s ability to quickly respond to mariners in distress or other life-threatening emergencies,” said Captain Joe Raymond, commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound and captain of the port.

“Most importantly, prolonged safety violations unnecessarily put protesters and law enforcement personnel at risk due to rapidly changing environmental conditions, fatigue and marine traffic.”

The Coast Guard assisted Fuller on May 24 and D’Angelo on May 25 from the Arctic Challenger and both were transported to Station Bellingham where they were met by police. D’Angelo was issued a summons by the local police department.