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The World's First Electric Batmobile

Hopefully, fledgling caped crusaders aren't in a hurry. Also, flying, bee-inspired robots, and a COVID breathalyzer.

Bees Inspire Tiny Flying Robots

Researchers from the University of Bristol have developed tiny flying robots.

The insect-sized micro air vehicles (MAVs) have flapping wings that, when paired with their diminutive size, could be used to breach high-risk spaces, like manufacturing plants after an industrial accident or collapsed buildings.

The flying robots are unique because they're transmission-free. They call it electromechanical zipping, and it allows the robots to be lighter and more efficient than previous designs. 

The team created a direct-drive artificial muscle system called the liquid-amplified zipping actuator (LAZA), which uses high-voltage to create electrostatic forces at the wing root, making the wings flap. It doesn't have any rotating parts or gears. 

In tests, the little robot flew .71 meters, or 18 body lengths, per second. They also proved that the LAZA system was reliable for more than 1 million cycles, which would be necessary during long missions. The system could also enable smaller and cheaper flying robots. 

The scientists were inspired by bees and other flying insects. They say the robots could soon be used for more than search-and-rescue missions, including environment monitoring, autonomous wind turbine inspection, and pollinating plants. 

The COVID-19 Breathalyzer

We have the tried and true alcohol breathalyzer, a number of groups are working on a cannabis breathalyzer, and now, researchers have created a COVID breathalyzer.

While it wouldn't be as important when testing the maniac swerving in front of you, it could be used as a more reliable test in public places. 

The prototype is the work of a team of more than 20 researchers, mostly from Nanyang Technology University in Singapore. It can accurately diagnose COVID-19, even if the person is asymptomatic β€” all in less than five minutes. 

The breathalyzer has a chip with three surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensors attached to silver nanocubes. You breathe into it for 10 seconds, which triggers a chemical reaction. The breathalyzer is placed into a portable spectrometer that tells you whether you're positive or negative. 

The breathalyzer was tested on 501 people and still has some false negatives (3.8%) and 0.1% false positives, which is in line with current PCR tests. However, the potential game-changer is the ability to do it in five minutes or less. 

At five minutes, it's still not ready for people working the gates at large events, but it's close. 

The World's First Electric Batmobile

A 23-year-old artist and architect has created the world's first electric Batmobile.

Nguyen Dac Chung took more than two years to make the replica from Christopher Nolan's trilogy, and you can buy it β€” or at least inquire about purchasing it. 

The young designer has already made a gas-powered prototype and updated the design to be electric to be more sustainable. It's currently on display at the Van Daryl art gallery in Vietnam. 

The Batmobile, known as the Tumbler for the trilogy, weighs more than 1,300 pounds and is made out of carbon fiber, steel and ABS; some parts had to be 3D printed to capture the detail. 

It's more than 12 feet long, nearly eight feet wide and a little more than four feet tall. It's an automatic that tops out at 65 mph, but it does have room for both a driver and a single passenger. 

Dac Chung's workshop, Macro Studios, is based in Hanoi and has developed many other comic-based projects, including a Batsuit and other cosplay props. 

Dac Chung wasn't alone in the Batmobile project; he had a team of designers, mechanics and engineers that helped make it happen. What do you think it's going to cost to bring this thing home? 

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