18 May '16, 2pm

Spiral Zipper Creates Robot Arm Out of a Strip of Plastic

Spiral Zipper Creates Robot Arm Out of a Strip of Plastic

As useful as robot arms are, they tend to be heavy, bulky things that need a bunch of support and structure to get them to work properly. If you need precision and speed, this may be unavoidable, but if all you’re looking for is long reach, a high-strength to weight ratio, and very low cost (which, admittedly, are a lot of things to be looking for), another option was presented at ICRA today by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania: an arm made out of a strip of plastic that zips together with itself, creating an extendable cylinder that can be paired with winches and cables and used for manipulation. This concept is similar in principle to some commercially available systems like the Zippermast and Spiralift , but both of those designs are heavier and significantly more complicated. The spiral zipper uses a single band that’s made of very lightweight plastic, wi...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hard...

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How to make the most of a sidewalk garden strip

How to make the most of a sidewalk garden strip

mnn.com 26 May '16, 4pm

Local code will often limit the height of median plantings (including containers) to a maximum of 3 feet for safety's sake...