Ep. 100 Cube Robots and Wound-Healing Tape | Twig Science Reporter

On this week’s news update– A message from interstellar space– Sticky tape to help wounds heal– And cube robots that can jump,
spin, and climb! First up– 42 years ago,
in 1977, a spacecraft named Voyager 2
was launched. Since then, it’s been traveling
across our solar system and sending back data–
such as these images– to help us learn more about planets
like Jupiter and Neptune. Now, Voyager 2 has sent data
from even further away! All the planets in our solar system
are surrounded by the heliosphere, a kind of bubble
created by the Sun, which separates us
from interstellar space The new data tells us Voyager 2
has now left the heliosphere. In around five years’ time,
the spacecraft will run out of fuel, and stop sending data. But it’s already given us fascinating
glimpses of our solar system. Next up– Doctors often use stitches
to hold the sides of a wound together as it heals. But that sometimes causes
infections and scars. Now, scientists are developing
a new kind of sticky tape that could replace stitches. It was inspired by the way spiders
catch insects when it’s raining! Spiders produce a substance
that soaks up water from the surface of their prey,
then sticks to that dry patch. The tape works in a similar way–
it quickly absorbs water, allowing a special glue
to stick strongly to the dry skin when it’s pressed. It can also be used
on more delicate body parts, like the intestines,
which are very difficult to stitch. The tape is still being
developed and tested, but one day, it could help doctors
stick us back together! And finally– Researchers have created robot cubes
that can flip, spin, and build structures. What’s more, they’re autonomous,
meaning they can act on their own without people telling
them what to do. Inside each robot is a device
called a flywheel, which spins very fast. When brakes are applied
to the flywheel, it causes the robot to move. It’s a little bit like the jolt you get
when you spin a fidget spinner, then stop it suddenly. The edges and faces of each cube
contain magnets, which make them snap together. The cubes can travel
across each other, climb up or down their neighbors,
and even jump! The cubes’ inventors think
they could eventually create emergency structures–
like a staircase– to help rescuers reach people
stuck inside a building. What do you think
they could be used for? That’s all for this week. We’ll see you next time.

Glenn Chapman

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