Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

KS TechnologyPeople creating robots that resemble nature is nothing new, but engineers at Harvard University have made something spectacular – a completely soft bodied Octobot with zero batteries or wires that uses gas (and farts) to move. 🐙


Scientists made this adorable tiny bot by pouring silicone gels of varying stiffness into an octopus mold. A 3D printer finishes the legs. At its heart is a tiny circuit board like controller which ultimately controls its movements.

Wanna hear the fun part? The Octobot moves completely on its own, powered by gas. The controller at the bot’s center shunts liquid hydrogen peroxide through platinum reaction chambers in the legs, turning the fluid fuel into gas. The gas flows through the ‘tentacles’ and inflates the compartments inside the eight limbs.

The blueprint for this soft, autonomous robot was published in the journal Nature.

Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly - Nature
Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly – Nature

All that gas has to go somewhere! The team gave the robot small orifices so the gas has a place to escape. This makes sure the Octobot doesn’t burst leaving an ugly mess.

Now, I don’t want you thinking this little soft robot is running around the lab farting its way into the history books. According to the BBC, the circuit sets up an alternating movement, inflating four limbs at a time. So it is more of a twitching movement than a walking demonstration. But still very cool!

This exciting technology could pave the way toward more effective soft robots that could be used in search and rescue, exploration and to more safely interact with the fleshy world of humans.

krystian science spaceDo you love robots? Me too! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more epic tech stories + check out these posts:


Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

9,000 Year-Old Skull and Severed Hands Might Be Oldest Case of Decapitation in the New World

KS_LOGOs2_HumanScientists made a very creepy discovery in a cave in Brazil – a 9,000 year-old decapitated skull covered by two severed hands. Researchers have concluded that the skull and hands found below represent the oldest case of decapitation in the New World. 💀


The remains, known as Burial 26, were found in the rock shelter of Lapa do Santo, an archaeological site that has yielded 26 human burials. The grave, which was excavated in 2007, consists of a circular pit covered in limestone slabs. Under one of these slabs is where the skull and amputated hands were found.

André Strauss from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and his colleagues wrote that using cranial morphology and tooth wear they have decided the individual was most likely a young adult male. According to the study, decapitation was likely common in the New World, but this case raises questions about how the morbid practice began in the Americas.

“Few Amerindian habits impressed the European colonizers more than the taking and displaying of human body parts, especially when decapitation was involved,” said Strauss.

The skull was buried about 22 inches below the surface suggesting it was a deliberate ritual entombment, not the result of an enemy trophy. The placement of the hands in opposite directions on the skull leads researchers to believe it was a ritualized decapitation. See more photos here!

“The careful arrangement of the hands over the face is compatible with an important public display component in the ritual that could have worked to enhance social cohesion within the community,” Strauss said.

Scientists hope to analyze the DNA of the remains in the near future to learn more about who they belonged to. The findings were published online Sept. 23 in the journal PLOS ONE.

9,000 Year-Old Skull and Severed Hands Might Be Oldest Case of Decapitation in the New World

Every Day You are Surrounded by Your Own Distinct Cloud of Microbes

KS HealthHuman beings are not sterile organisms – we are made up of millions of living microbes. In fact, we shed up to a million particles an hour! That means over the course of a day you will ditch roughly 24 million biological particles (bacteria, viruses, spores and more) into the air around you, forming what scientists are calling a ‘microbe cloud.’ It looks like everyone has a little more in common with Pig-Pen from Peanuts than we thought. 😷

Pig Pen Peanuts Dirt Cloud

Adam Altrichter, a microbial ecologist at the University of Oregon, and his colleagues asked 11 individuals to spend varying amounts of time in a sanitized sample chamber. Then they sampled the surfaces and the air for microbes.

Researchers discovered that most people could be clearly detected by their airborne bacterial emissions alone, as well as settled particles found on surfaces. Bacterial clouds from the sample groups were statistically distinct! The results show for the first time that individuals release their own personalized microbial cloud. We each give off a slightly different cocktail of bacteria.

“Our results confirm that an occupied space is microbially distinct from an unoccupied one,” the authors wrote, “and reveal for the first time that individuals occupying a space can emit their own distinct personal microbial cloud.”

Our unique ‘microbe clouds’ could have an impact on epidemiology, environmental engineering, or criminal forensics. The findings were published Tuesday in the journal PeerJ.

Every Day You are Surrounded by Your Own Distinct Cloud of Microbes

Beetle Butt, Beetle Butt, Beetle Butt! – This Insect Shoots Hot Nasty Liquid Out of Its Abdomen

KS Nature

Bombardier beetles are famous in the insect world, not because they have colorfully patterned wings or a nasty bite, but because they have a very unique defense mechanism: When disturbed or attacked, the beetles produce an internal chemical explosion in their abdomen and then expel a jet of boiling, irritating liquid toward their attackers.

Photo: Charles Hedgcock
Photo: Charles Hedgcock

The liquid they eject is called benzoquinone, and they heat it to the temperature of boiling water before they shoot it out in an intense, pulsating jet. They are not the only insect to use this liquid, but they are the only ones to make it steaming hot. Not only that, they are the only ones to emit a pulsating stream, forcing out the liquid with unique precision five times faster!

Researchers were baffled as to how these beetles could produce this spray without causing themselves any physical damage. But, the question has now been answered! Researchers at MIT used high-speed synchrotron X-ray imaging to look inside the abdomens of living bombardier beetles during their chemical explosions. Check out the video below to see the X-ray footage in action!

The key is that they synthesize the chemical at the instant of use, mixing two chemical precursors in a protective chamber in their hindquarters. As the materials combine to form the irritant, they also give off intense heat that brings the liquid almost to the boiling point — and, in the process, generates the pressure needed to expel it in a jet.

The findings are published this week in the journal Science by MIT graduate student Eric Arndt, professor of materials science and engineering Christine Ortiz, Wah-Keat Lee of Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Wendy Moore of the University of Arizona.

Bombardier beetles lives on every continent except Antarctica and have virtually no predators. Sounds like a good life to me 🙂 Spray on, little dudes.

Beetle Butt, Beetle Butt, Beetle Butt! – This Insect Shoots Hot Nasty Liquid Out of Its Abdomen

Biohackers Test Eye Drops That Give You NIGHT VISION – And They Look Super Creepy

KS Strange ScienceHave you ever wanted to be recruited by Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters? Well, that’s not terribly realistic, but you can totally LOOK like an X-Men!

New night enhancement eyedrops were tested by a group of independent researchers known as Science for the Masses, based in California, with lead researcher Gabriel Licina as their guinea pig.


These liquid black drops are a simple combination of Chlorin e6 (Ce6) and insulin in saline, with the addition of dimethlysulfoxide (DMSO). The drops were based on a patent filed in 2012 that claimed this mixture, when applied to the eye, will absorb to the retina and act to increase vision in low light.

Eyedrop Chemical Breakdown: Ce6 has light amplification properties, and has been used as a therapy agent in cancer treatment. The insulin is used to allow absorption of the Ce6 into the chamber of the eye. DMSO is used in cell preservation and in medication application. In this case, its primary ability is to cause increased permeability of the cellular membrane, allowing free passage for the chemicals in the eye drops to reach the eye.

Licina’s eyes were flushed with saline to remove any micro-debris or contaminants. Then they were actually pinned open to remove the ability to blink. Ce6 was then added to the eye via micropippette. After the drops disappeared he was given special lenses and black sunglasses to ensure increased low light conditions and reduce the potential for bright light exposure.

The drops began to work in as little as one hour, with the effects lasting for many hours afterwards. Licina was able to see more than 164 feet (50 meters) in almost total darkness. And it looks like it didn’t even hurt! Licina told Mic, “To me, it was quick, greenish-black blur across my vision, and then it dissolved into my eyes.”


Nightcrawler - Marvel's X-Men

Licina and four subjects from the control group (people who did not use the drops) were taken to a ‘darkened area’ for testing. Three forms of subjective testing were performed. These consisted of symbol recognition by distance, symbol recognition on varying background colors, and the ability to identify moving subjects.

Turns out, Licina’s special vision allowed him to recognize symbols the control group couldn’t see! The Ce6 drops allowed Licina to identify distant figures 100% of the time, while the control group got it right just 33% of the time.

But, as cool as this experiment sounds, these revolutionary drops have people worried. Increased light amplification may cause damage to the eye if used improperly. Science for the Masses stresses the fact they conducted this experiment for research and informative purposes only. So don’t try this at home.

CLICK HERE to view the full report from Science for the Masses.

Biohackers Test Eye Drops That Give You NIGHT VISION – And They Look Super Creepy