Amphibious robot mimics lizards water running technique: Have you ever seen how the basilisk lizard runs over the water? This animal has dermal lobes on its hind legs that increase its support surface, allowing it to move over water when they are very fast to escape a danger.

A team of engineers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) has been inspired by this amazing quality of the basilisk lizard to design an amphibious robot that, like this creature, can run on water at great speed.

The Automaton is called AmphiSTAR and it is a small device that is the size of the palm of a hand. The goal of its developers was to allow the robot to move freely in rough terrain, both dry and wet.

To design an optimal motor system, the team of researchers set their sights on nature. Living beings are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for engineers, since our planet is inhabited by countless creatures that have evolved over millions of years to specialize in performing various tasks.

Specifically, the AmphiSTAR's driving system has taken details from both cockroaches and the basilisk lizard. It is equipped with four wheels that in turn are formed by four propellers, which can be tilted by an expansion mechanism.

Amphibious robot mimics lizards water running technique

When the robot is on the ground, the propellers work like wheels, while when in an aquatic environment, they behave like fins. Thanks to this, you can run on the water like Basilisk. In addition, it also has two air tanks that allow it to float so as not to sink when its speed is reduced.

The experimental Prototype is able to move over gravel, grass and concrete at a speed of 3.6 meters per second, and runs over water at 1.5 meters per second.

"The AmphiSTAR uses an expansion mechanism inspired by cockroaches and is designed to run over water at high speeds, like the basilisk lizard," explains Dr. David Zarrouk, director of the work. "We anticipate that this robot can be used for agricultural applications, as well as search, rescue and excavation, where crawling and swimming is required."

Amphibious robot mimics lizards water running technique


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"Email is not for sending confidential information" : this Spanish startup wants to be a global benchmark in 2022 in the secure sending of files

With the pandemic, companies and employees were forced to work remotely. One of the fringes left unresolved is how workers could safely send each other sensitive information and files. Many firms embraced services like Google Drive or Dropbox for it. There are also alternatives such as WeTransfer.

With the sudden arrival of teleworking, most industries prioritized business continuity over computer security. This is one of the reasons why the cybersecurity sector is living in this year 2020 a before and after.

The same can say Tranxfer. This Barcelona-based startup has developed a service for sending and receiving sensitive information with end-to-end encryption. It is already a tool used by important Spanish financial institutions and Ibex 35 companies such as Naturgy.

They have recently announced an injection of one and a half million euros to deepen their international expansion. Miguel Planas is the president of Iris Venture Builder, the holding company of which this new company is part. He's ambitious. He explains to Business Insider that they want to offer their customers "the safest solution in the world" to send files. Other alternatives are not always safe.

Planas, for this, trusts that its tool ends up being at least among the five most used file sending solutions in the world. And may it be, of all of them, the safest. Believe to have mimbres for it. Technology already has it. A team of engineers, especially telecommunications, too.

The Tranxfer model moves away from the conventional habit of new technology firms. They don't want to burn money. His staff is mature. Except for fellows, they are about fifteen people over 40 years old. And now they have just hired a Belgian commercial director with whom they intend to expand mainly through the center of Europe and the United Kingdom.

It is precisely their conservative strategy that is becoming their main attraction to attract and retain large clients of the main Spanish index. Planas emphasizes: at the beginning of the pandemic many of these large companies had to go even to email to work with sensitive information.

Many banking offices had to continue working closed and executing operations through email, with the risks that this entails, many of which the head of Digital client and Spanish hacker Chema Alonso already detailed in a recent talk.

"Email is for sending emails, not for sending sensitive or confidential information. If before there was an abusive use of email, we can imagine how it is now, " says this professional who has been working in the field of cybersecurity for almost a decade and a half.

The pandemic suddenly reached Europe and Spain and in a matter of a few days many companies made the leap to teleworking. Even so, Planas understands perfectly well that most companies chose first to guarantee the continuity of their business and then for the security of the same.

"And a guy who sells security tells you," he maintains.

"If you stop the business, what are you going to insure afterwards? Companies such as financial institutions are critical infrastructures, " he recalls. He understands that it is essential that they opt for business continuity and immediately advocate for cybersecurity. "The ideal is that it happens at the same time," he reflects. "But I cannot criticize the decisions that were made at the time."

Thus, Planas hopes that Tranxfer will become an essential to send files such as Meet or Teams to hold meetings remotely. "A tool to send information that cannot be intervened."

The startup was born after Planas, at the head of Iris Venture Builder, met with a major Spanish bank that asked for a solution to share files securely. They wanted to combat at all costs the use of Shadow it —any type of program or device that is used by employees for professional purposes, but which does not have the approval of the company'S ICT managers—.

Finally, and after its development, Planas realized that it was a scalable solution and so Tranxfer was born as a B2B firm that opens the door to small professionals —such as an architect who wants to preserve or send their plans safely— can make use of this technology.

"There is no need for users to download a client." Although it is an end-to-end encryption tool, the development of Tranxfer has made it a service that does not require you to install anything on your computer. In 2017 it began to be commercialized and in 2019 the large customers that the firm has today entered, among them Naturgy.

"In January of this year we already had the tool, in our way of understanding, with the tests to which we submit, more advanced. And now we put the accelerator." Planas highlights how an injection of one and a half million —one million from its own parent company, Iris Venture Builder; and 500,000 euros of bank credit— will help them to internationalize, first in Europe.

All in all, Planas insists on the idea of being, by 2022, a firm "of global reference". "It's local technology with the ability and leadership to stand up to big international corporations." The ' David 'who wants to unseat the' Goliaths ' of this industry.


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