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New foldable drone can navigate narrow holes

New foldable drone can navigate narrow holes

Science
Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Drones can be used to explore environs too difficult and dangerous for humans to navigate, like a burned out building or the rubble of a collapsed bridge. But often, entrances to and passageways through these environments are quite small -- holes and cracks measuring just a few inches wide. Engineers at the University of Zurich have developed a foldable drone that can shrink itself to fit through small holes. The technology could help drones navigate tight confines during search and rescue missions in the wake of a disaster. Inspired by birds, which can fold their wings mid-flight, Swiss engineers built a drone that can fold its arms in order to fly through small spaces without sacrificing aerial stability. Researchers described their new technology in the journal IEEE Ro...
Smartphone makers bet on foldable screens as next big thing

Smartphone makers bet on foldable screens as next big thing

Technology
For the past few years, the smartphone industry has been searching for a breakthrough to revive a market mired in an innovation lull and a sales slump. A potential catalyst is on the horizon in the form of flexible screens that can be folded in half without breaking. Samsung and several rivals are preparing to roll out such screens to make devices more versatile for work and pleasure. The foldable screens could increase display space to the size of a mini-tablet, but fold like a wallet so they revert to the size of regular phones. But there are questions about price and durability. If the new phones fulfill their makers' ambitions, they will become a leap ahead for an industry whose origins can be traced to the old flip phones that consumers once embraced as cool and convenient. Foldable...
Earwig wings inspire scientists working on foldable device designs

Earwig wings inspire scientists working on foldable device designs

Science
March 22 (UPI) -- When most people think of origami, they think of a swan or a butterfly. When a group of scientists in Switzerland think of origami, they think of an earwig.Researchers at ETH Zurich say the wing of an earwig is the perfect example of origami's design principles.When folded, the earwig's wing fits snuggly and compactly against its body, allowing it to tunnel into the soil. When it emerges from dirt, the wing expands, increasing its surface area by a factor of ten and allowing the insect to take flight.What's more, the wing is so structurally sound that it doesn't require muscle activation for stability. It also folds into itself with a simple click -- a model of efficiency.To better understand the wing's genius, scientists at ETH Zurich set out to recreate it. While tradit...