Byte Sized – I (SciTech in Big Hero 6)

I haven’t posted for a long time…it was about time I started a new series of short articles, which I will call Byte Sized. Anything new and interesting which I learn and can be featured in a few paragraphs will be covered in this series. It should be a quick and painless way to get your essential dose of technology for the day!

Have you watched the 2014 movie, Big Hero 6? It was a Walt Disney Animation Studios movie, and it featured cutting edge technology, including Baymax, a personal healthcare companion, which the protagonist Hiro Hamada’s brother, Tadashi, built at his college, San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. The story is one where six scientists and geeks form a superhero team to win the battle against a masked villain, which is all I can say while not giving too much away.

As part of the college science fair, robotics prodigy Hiro develops microbots, swarms of tiny robots controlled with a neuro-cranial transmitter. The United States DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) funds research into advanced technology, and several universities, including Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon, have developed the field of claytronics, or programmable matter, to the extent that we now have limited sets of such ‘microbots’ (called ‘catoms’, for claytronic atoms), whose collective structure and hence function can be manipulated at will.

The soft and huggable robot Baymax was primarly inspired by Siddharth Sanan’s research in soft robotics at Carnegie Mellon. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. These soft robots cost way less to develop as compared to conventional robots, and they are also safe to use for physical interaction with people.

Baymax is equipped with hyperspectral cameras for eyes. Hyperspectral imaging involves analyzing light of various energies from across the electromagnetic spectrum, and creating a three-dimensional high-resolution image from which useful information can be gathered with ease, given adequate computing power.

I think I covered some interesting science and technology in Big Hero 6, some research into the topics that pique your curiosity will keep you busy for way longer! I hope you liked this new format, several more of these Byte Sized articles are forthcoming! Too long? Too short? Comment below, feedback is always appreciated! 🙂

References:

  1. Michio Kaku’s book, Physics of the Future
  2. http://eandt.theiet.org/magazine/2015/05/programmable-matter.cfm
  3. http://people.seas.harvard.edu/~sanan/
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