World Science Festival 2013: Innovation Square Brings Soccket, Dynamics System Laboratory, Hubo The Humanoid, And More To Brooklyn [EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS]

By Danny Choy on June 3, 2013 3:04 PM EDT

The World Science Festival, organized by the non-profit Science Festival Foundation, was held from May 29 until June 2 in New York. The Science Festival Foundation shared its mission on the official website:

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"The Foundation's mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future."

An annual event, the World Science Festival brought creativity and innovation to Brooklyn's NYU-Poly Metrotech Plaza by presenting the most exciting science trends of today. iScience Times reporters attended the World Science Festival's Innovation Square on Saturday, June 1, to learn more.

Innovation Square attracted more than a dozen leading innovators to discuss and demonstrate their latest breakthroughs for visitors looking to gain an insightful understanding of how the latest technologies continue to change our world.

Unable to attend the World Science Festival's Innovation Square? No problem. Here's a rundown of five of our favorite ideas on display at Innovation Square:

5.) Dynamical Systems Laboratory (NYU-Poly) "Schools of Thought"

NYU-Poly's Dynamical Systems Laboratory demonstrated two incredible robotic fish in a small kiddy pool for visitors to see.

Assistant Mechanical Engineering Professor Dr. Maurizio Porfiri of NYU Polytechnic Institute created prototype marine robots in order to understand the behavior of schooling fish as part of an effort to discover new ways to preserve and protect marine life.

"Studies of schools of fish, flocks of birds and herds of animals have inspired robotic systems designed for our own applications," explained Porfiri. "But I wanted to see if I could close the gap, bringing some of those benefits back into the natural world."

"Schooling fish have a rich system of information sharing," said Porfiri. "They decide when to school based on a wide variety of factors, including vision and pressure cues from other fish. By studying these cues, we can learn how school members recognize-and follow-a leader."

According to Porfiri, if it is possible to enforce leadership via an external member (the robot fish), then perhaps the direction and behavior of schooling fish may be controlled. The breakthrough could allow marine populations to swim from natural or man-made disasters, such as oil or chemical spills.

4.) danceroom Spectroscopy (dS)

NYU-Poly Metrotech Plaza's Wunsch Hall held a stunning demonstration of danceroom Spectroscopy (dS).

Inviting visitors to take part, families could dance before a novel 3d imaging and quantum mechanics device which transformed humans into energy fields in motion. Energy can be sensed by physical or sonar triggers as the dS reacts to movement, light and sound.

A project supported by Bristol University, EPRSC, and the Pervasive Media Studios, the danceroom Spectroscopy 3D imaging super-computer interprets your energy field by identifying exerted elements in different colors. Oxygen is in turquoise, hydrogen is blue, helium is red, iron is orange and carbon is purple. As a result, visitors dancing before the 3D imaging computer can see themselves on screen as energy, more vibrant than ever before.

3.) Cornell Ranger Bipedal Robot

Cornell's robotic lab demonstrated its record breaking Ranger robot, which set the legged robot distance record at a robot ultra-marathon at Osaka, Japan, in May 2011. A remarkably efficient robot, the Cornell Ranger began its marathon on May 1, 2011 at 2:11 p.m. After 30 hours, 49 minutes, and 2 seconds, the Cornell Ranger had taken a total of 186,076 steps in 307.75 laps for a total of 40.54 miles. Each step takes just over half a second for a speed of 1.32 mph.

According to Cornell, the Ranger's power is comes from a 6.3 lb. 25.9V Lithium-ion battery connected to a 11.3 W electric motor and 4.7 W computer and sensors.

In total, the Cornell Ranger only exerted 493 watt-hours, or just about 5 cents worth of energy. At a Cost of Transport (COT) figure [Energy/(Weight*Distance)] of just 0.28, the Cornell Ranger is nearly as efficient as a human COT of just 0.20.

2.) Hubo the Humanoid Robot

Engineered to be as close to human as possible in terms of articulation and intellect, the Hubo robot boasts voice recognition and synthesis faculties, as well as a sophisticated vision system in whichs its "eyes" move independently of one another. Hubo units can even bust some pretty fancy dance moves.

Developed by Drexel University's Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL), the fully actuated Hubo humanoid stands at four feet tall and is engineered with similar joints and movement capabilities to that of a human, including arms, legs and hands with fully functional fingers and opposable thumbs.

While Hubo's dance demonstration to PSY's "Gangnam Style" was hugely entertaining, the ultimate goal for Hubo is to become a rescue bot that can be dispatched in response to natural disasters.

See the Hubo humanoid in action in the video below:

1.) SOCCKET

Can a soccer ball change the world? Company Uncharted Play says yes!

The SOCCKET is an all-new soccer ball that is able to capture the energy during game play to charge LEDs and small batteries. After playing with the ball, the child can return home and use the ball to connect a LED lamp to read, study, or illuminate the home. Just 30 minutes of play generates enough kinetic energy within the ball to power an LED bulb for up to three hours.

A simple product that promises vast improvements to society, the mission for Uncharted Play's SOCCKET is ambitious yet straightforward: "to foster well-being by inspiring people to lead playful lives."

According to Vice President of Business Development at Uncharted Play Melissa Seligmann, the SOCCKET will be produced in the U.S. and is expected to launch by August 2013 via e-retail. You may learn more and even pre-order your own SOCCKET online via the Uncharted Play official website.

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