Physicists Build a Wheel that Rolls Uphill

University of Amsterdam’s Corentin Coulais and University of Chicago’s Vincenzo Vitelli, along with their collaborators, invented a wheel that seemingly defies physics. Dubbed “Odd Matter,” the wheel—comprised of six small motors tethered together with plastic arms and rubber bands—wiggles and gyrates to travel uphill. This writhing enables the wheel to adjust to difficult terrain despite not having any cognizance of the environment. It’s a phenomenon …

Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Dreaming spiders, an AI that fixes roads, a remote-controlled robot surgeon and more this week

This Free AI Tool Fixes Old Photos GFP-GAN is an open-source photo-restoration tool that uses AI to transform old photos that may have faded over time or become damaged. The algorithm makes an educated guess about missing or damaged details from each image, smoothing out creases and enhancing color. While the AI may not always recreate an exact replica of the original photo, the restored …

The World’s Smallest, Remote-Controlled Walking Robot

Researchers at Northwestern University created a crab-shaped robot that is smaller than a flea, measuring just half a millimeter—making it the smallest-ever remote-controlled walking robot. The robot can bend, twist, crawl and leap, all without relying on complex hardware. Rather, the micro-robot’s movement utilizes an alloy that can “remember” shape when heated. Researchers point a laser beam at the robot to heat up several targeted …