ADAPTA is an research blog that focuses on the interdisciplinary intersection of projects and phenomena that have the potential to change and improve something, anything, everything.
This project emerges form the conviction that design is action.





Micro Robots

SRI International have developed incredibly small and fast robots that are capable of following building instructions - video embedded below:

SRI is developing new technology to reliably control thousands of micro-robots for smart manufacturing of macro-scale products in compact, integrated systems.

sriinternational have a Tumblr blog here


What would you use a drone for?

Gofor is an on-demand drones concept created by Alex Cornell and Phil Mills

The Ooho, created by Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche holds water inside a transparent membrane that can be made in a variety of different sizes. The edible balloon is made using a technique called spherification, a method of shaping liquids into spheres first developed by scientists in 1946, which captured the public imagination when used in recipes at Adria’s restaurant in Spain. (via Edible water bottle uses algae to create biodegradable alternative)

The handle, PullClean, was developed by the British studio Agency of Design for Altitude Medical. It’s a simple column that can be fitted on any pull door, with a blue paddle on bottom that dispenses a dab of hand sanitizer when pushed. The aim, the designers explain, is to “make it so simple that sanitizing becomes habitual every time you open the door.” (via A Hospital Door Handle That Sanitizes Hands With a Touch | Design | WIRED)

Professors John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Igor Efimov of Washington University in St. Louis have developed a new cardiac intervention that uses MRI and CT machines to scan a patient’s heart, 3-D printing a model from that data, and using the print to make a metallic mesh sleeve that can be implanted in the patient’s chest. The result looks like a gold doily and wraps around the heart to detect arrhythmias, deliver corrective electric shocks, and ultimately save lives. (via A Gold Gadget That Would Let You Stop Heart Attacks With a Smartphone | Design | WIRED)


Three-Dimensional Mid-Air Acoustic Manipulation

Tech demo of setup able to levitate, control and maneuver small light objects in a 3D space using ultrasound waves, defying gravity - video embedded below:

The essence of levitation technology is the countervailing of gravity. It is known that an ultrasound standing wave is capable of suspending small particles at its sound pressure nodes and, so far, this method has been used to levitate lightweight particles, small creatures, and water droplets.

The acoustic axis of the ultrasound beam in these previous studies was parallel to the gravitational force, and the levitated objects were manipulated along the fixed axis (i.e. one-dimensionally) by controlling the phases or frequencies of bolted Langevin-type transducers. In the present study, we considered extended acoustic manipulation whereby millimetre-sized particles were levitated and moved three-dimensionally by localised ultrasonic standing waves, which were generated by ultrasonic phased arrays. Our manipulation system has two original features. One is the direction of the ultrasound beam, which is arbitrary because the force acting toward its centre is also utilised. The other is the manipulation principle by which a localised standing wave is generated at an arbitrary position and moved three-dimensionally by opposed and ultrasonic phased arrays. We experimentally confirmed that various materials could be manipulated by our proposed method.

More Here

The Distributed Flight Array (DFA) has been developed by a team of researchers at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control (IDSC) at ETH Zürich university in Switzerland. Each robot has a 3D-printed hexagonal plastic chassis with magnets fixed to the sides of the frame and a single propeller fitted in the middle. Independently, the honeycomb-shaped robots fly in an erratic and uncontrolled way. However, the robots are able to detect each other, link to form a bigger craft and then fly in a controlled manner as a single unit. The task of keeping the multi-propeller system in flight is distributed across the network of vehicles. Each independent module exchanges information with the others and uses sensors to determine how much thrust it needs for the array to take off and maintain flight.

This fall, MatterPort is releasing a camera that can scan, compile, and make cloud-ready a 3-D model of your house, all in about 45 minutes. “We’re moving towards a world where people can send 3-D realities to each other,” says CEO Matt Bell. The pitch may sound a little New Agey, but with a $3,000 price point and simple iPad interface, the goal is practicality.

Created by Anirudh Sharma, Lirong Liu and Pattie Maes at the MIT Media Lab (Fluid Interfaces Group), Glassified is a modified ruler with a transparent display to supplement physical strokes made on paper with virtual graphics. The goal of the device is to complement rather than replace a typical ruler and since the display is transparent, both the physical strokes and the virtual graphics are visible in the same plane. Digitizer embedded in the ruler captures the pen strokes and updates the graphical overlay, fusing the traditional function of a ruler with the added advantages of a digital, display-based system. The device serves two purposes — to aid the user in drawing straight lines and secondly, it is a tool for taking measurements. Glassified augments both of these functions by means of its transparent, graphical display.

D-printed casts for fractured bones could replace the usual bulky, itchy and smelly plaster or fibreglass ones in this conceptual project by Victoria University of Wellington graduate Jake Evill. The prototype Cortex cast is lightweight, ventilated, washable and thin enough to fit under a shirt sleeve.

The puck-like device is a sleek vital-signs recorder – tracking everything from blood pressure, body temperature and heart rhythm via myriad sensors. The gizmo then beams your vital signs to an app loaded on your phone or tablet, where it’s yours to keep forever. De Brouwer designed the Scanadu Scout to be a DIY doctor’s office, minus the frustration, endless waiting, and lack of empowerment that’s often associated with the health care system.


in fostering an exchange of products and information, ‘hyperlocal market’, an online food exchange platform by london-based designer and 2013 RCA graduate kayleigh thompson encourages the dialogue between buyer and seller, promoting local commerce. the system connects urban growers with fair and professional trade through an interactive website, which works together with a specially designed printer and smartphone application. the program initiates when one becomes a member of the ‘hyperlocal’ community, where users can upload, price and label their products with the app and sell them to a network of registered users.

A prosthetic hand designed for people with missing fingers has been made available to download from the 3D-printing design database Thingiverse (+ movie).

Dubbed Robohand, the prosthesis was conceived by Richard Van As, a South African carpenter who lost four fingers from his right hand in a work accident.


He got in touch with Ivan Owen, a mechanical props designer from the USA, and the pair designed a set of mechanical fingers printed from plastic with a Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer, donated by Makerbot.


"[The Makerbot] dramatically increased the speed at which we could prototype and try out ideas, and gave us the ability to both hold a physical copy of the exact same thing, even though we were separated by 10,000 miles," says Van As in the movie.


They then tried making a complete hand for a child with amniotic band syndrome, a condition that causes babies to be born with missing or severely shortened fingers.


The resulting Robohand is worn around the wrist and lower arm like a gauntlet and driven by the motion of the wrist.


Bending the wrist forwards causes the cabling to pull the fingers closed, while moving it back releases the fingers.


The digits, knuckle block and wrist hinges are all printed by the Makerbot and joined by cabling and stainless steel bolts, all of which are easy to find and replace.

RobohandPrototypes of the Robohand in different sizes

"With the Makerbot, as [the child] grows, all we do is scale it up and print him another one, and the hardware just gets taken from that and put on the new hand," explains Van As, adding that old hands can then be reused by other children.


The 3D print files for the Robohand are open source and available to print from the Thingiverse website.


Other uses of 3D printing in medicine include a 3D-printed bionic ear that can hear radio frequencies beyond a human’s normal range.

We recently reported on the possibility of printing human organs in Print Shift, our one-off publication about the emerging technology – see all 3D printing news or see design for healthcare.


Created at the Mediated Matter Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, The Silk Pavilion explores the relationship between digital and biological fabrication on product and architectural scales. The primary structure was created of 26 polygonal panels made of silk threads laid down by a CNC (Computer-Numerically Controlled) machine, followed by a swarm of 6,500 silkworms spinning flat non-woven silk patches as they locally reinforced the gaps across CNC-deposited silk fibers.

Inspired by the silkworm’s ability to generate a 3D cocoon out of a single multi-property silk thread (1km in length), the overall geometry of the pavilion was created using an algorithm that assigns a single continuous thread across patches providing various degrees of density. Overall density variation was informed by the silkworm itself deployed as a biological “printer” in the creation of a secondary structure.


Affected by spatial and environmental conditions including geometrical density as well as variation in natural light and heat, the silkworms were found to migrate to darker and denser areas. Desired light effects informed variations in material organization across the surface area of the structure. A season-specific sun path diagram mapping solar trajectories in space dictated the location, size and density of apertures within the structure in order to lock-in rays of natural light entering the pavilion from South and East elevations. The central oculus is located against the East elevation and may be used as a sun-clock. Parallel basic research explored the use of silkworms as entities that can “compute” material organization based on external performance criteria. Specifically, we explored the formation of non-woven fiber structures generated by the silkworms as a computational schema for determining shape and material optimization of fiber-based surface structures.

Within few months, if the sculpture was left as is, moths can produce 1.5 million eggs with the potential of constructing up to 250 additional pavilions.

Research and Design by the Mediated Matter Research Group at the MIT Media Lab in collaboration with Prof. Fiorenzo Omenetto (TUFTS University) and Dr. James Weaver (WYSS Institute, Harvard University).

Mediated Matter researchers include Markus KayserJared LaucksCarlos David Gonzalez UribeJorge Duro-Royo and Prof. Neri Oxman (Director),

Project Page | Mediated Matter Group


Silk worm spinning-range calculation. Image: Jorge Duro-Royo

Silk worm spinning-range calculation.

Maltese Cross study series. Surface morphologies vary in sectional height from 0 (flat) to 25mm beyond which a 3D cocoon is spun. Variations in surface morphology yield corresponding variations in fiber density, property and overall organization. Image: Carlos David Gonzalez Uribe

Maltese Cross study series. Surface morphologies vary in sectional height from 0 (flat) to 25mm beyond which a 3D cocoon is spun. Variations in surface morphology yield corresponding variations in fiber density, property and overall organization.

Analysis through testing the variation in 3-Dimensionality of the Bombyx moris spinning environment from 2D to increasingly 3D.  Image: Carlos David Gonzalez Uribe

Analysis through testing the variation in 3-Dimensionality of the Bombyx mori‘s spinning environment from 2D to increasingly 3D.


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