Need that tissue sample, doctor? You may be laying aside your scalpel and forceps for a swarm of microgripping robots that you place and retrieve. David H. Gracias, PhD. and his Johns Hopkins team has developed star-shaped nickel metal discs of only 300 micrometers in size which snip bits of tissue. Using a magnetic catheter, the microgrippers are then gathered and removed–hopefully. Gizmag; study in Gastroenterology.
Last week, the TakkTile, this week, piezotronic transistors. Thousands of them arrayed, and designed to give robots–and touchscreens–that extra and almost human edge in touch sensitivity. The transistors in thin, flat material can sense changes in their own polarity when pressure is applied due to their zinc oxide composition. Initial use will probably be in touchscreens, but the Georgia Tech project’s supporters–the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the US Air Force (USAF), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences–are also considering its use in prosthetic skin or limbs. Gizmag.