First You Gotta Have (a 3D-Printed) Heart

Using advanced 3D-printing techniques, Stanford’s Mark Skylar-Scott and his team want to transform a paste made of living cells into hearts and other organs. They’re manufacturing thick tissues one layer at a time, placing the exact type of cells needed at the right spots. As promising as it may be, 3D printing with cells comes with some deep and thorny challenges. Watch this video to learn more about the process.

Speedy Robo-Gripper Reflexively Organizes Cluttered Spaces

Looking to give robots a more nimble, human-like touch, MIT engineers have developed a gripper that grasps by reflex. The team’s robot adapts in the moment to reflexively roll, palm, or pinch an object to get a better hold. Watch this video to see it carry out these “last centimeter” adjustments without engaging a higher-level planner.

A-Maze-ing Soft Robot Navigates Complex Layouts Sans Brain

Researchers at NC State University reported an intelligent soft robot that can self-escape from challenging mazes sans a human-like brain. The mazes include multi-channeled mazes, a maze on sand, narrow-exit mazes, and dynamic mazes with in-situ changing layouts. Watch this video to learn more about this soft robot made of liquid crystal elastomers.

Battery-Free Robots Use Origami to Change Shape in Mid-Air

University of Washington researchers have developed small robotic devices — “microfliers” — that can change how they move through the air by “snapping” into a folded position during their descent. Watch this video to see the researchers control the timing of each device’s transition and the few methods they used.