Move Over, Dolly: Scientists Clone Two Monkeys

For the first time, researchers have used the cloning method that produced Dolly the sheep to create two healthy monkeys, bringing science an important step closer to being able to do the same with humans…

The years-long effort, led by Chinese Academy of Sciences postdoctoral fellow Zhen Liu, culminated in the recent birth of two female macaques, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua. The macaques’ names are drawn from the word zhonghua, an adjective for the Chinese people…

The two big-eyed primates were created in a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer. In this method, researchers take an egg cell, or oocyte, and remove its nucleus (which holds its DNA). Then, they take a body, or somatic, cell from the individual they’d like to clone and remove its nucleus, transferring that nucleus into the empty egg. The cell is then allowed to divide and grow for several days to reach a multicell blastocyst stage. The blastocyst is then implanted in the uterus of a surrogate mother monkey to develop into a fetus and, hopefully, a baby…

“For the cloning of primate species, including humans, the technical barrier is now broken,” says study coauthor Mu-Ming Poo, who directs the Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “However, the reason we chose to break this barrier is to produce animal models that are useful for human medicine. There’s no intention to apply this method to humans.”

The researchers hope to produce gene-edited macaque clones for use in this kind of research within a year…

Video CreditAssociated Press

 

 

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Robots Have Begun Replacing Humans in China’s Factories

China’s automation ambitions are to reboot its manufacturing industry by replacing millions of workers with machines…

China is one country leading the charge when it comes to embracing robotics and artificial intelligence. Recently, the country saw the first robot dentist successfully operate on a patient, and there are plans to build an unmanned, AI-powered police station in a capital city. Both developments show signs of China’s progress to becoming a global leader in AI by 2030

China has begun replacing the workers in factories with robots. The move will reduce the number of accidents suffered by human workers, and has already increased it’s productivity in the country…

It’s true that automation can improve productivity and have positive impacts on society, but experts caution that we should also be wary about how far we take automation without proper plans. This is something Jon Wolfsthal, a non-resident fellow at Harvard University’s Managing the Atom project, suggested society be cautious of, saying, “the possible advantages … are endless, but so too are the risks.”

VIDEO CREDIT: MIT Technology Review

 

 

 

Sex Robot Needs Emergency Repairs After Trade Show Attendees Badly Assault Her

Samantha the sex doll has fallen victim to foul play after being man handled at an electronics fair in Austria. the model which was being exhibited at the ars electronica was left in need of cleaning and repairs after visitors experienced the latest development in artificial intimacy…

  Samantha the Sex Doll is an interactive robot designed with one specific purpose: that purpose is pleasure.  Samantha is the latest development in a growing trend which has seen brothel customers preferring robots over sexual intercourse with a human. During a display at the Ars Electronica Festival in the city of Linz, Samantha shows off her ‘skills’, which include reacting to touch, hugging and moaning – and remembering individuals she has ‘interacted’ with…

  In a curious, if not completely disturbing, technological development, it appears that attendees at the recent electronics trade show were a little TOO impressed by Samantha the Sex Doll .  The robotics developers at Synthea Amatus were disturbed to learn that their creation had been abused and assaulted by convention goers at this year’s gathering. While ordinary this would sound like the work of some childish pranksters, the truth here is a little more upsetting when you learn that it was the work of adult males…

 

VIDEO CREDIT: Rocking Views

 

 

A Bionic Hand That Can Feel…

What a woman with a bionic hand can feel. Scientists have unveiled the first bionic hand with a sense of touch that can be worn outside the laboratory. Almerina Mascarello’s bionic hand provides sensory feedback to her brain via electrodes in her upper arm…

Scientists in Rome unveiled the first portable bionic hand that allows users to regain a sense of touch. While there have been past experiments in the development of similar artificial limbs, none have left the lab as they required extensive external sensory and computer equipment to function. The technology progressed quickly enough though  that it can now fit in a backpack…

The prosthetic hand has sensors that detect whether objects are soft or hard.  The messages, sent back to a computer, are turned into signals the human brain Understands.Data is relayed to Almernia’s brain using tiny electrode implants in her  arm nerves.  She proved the gadget worked by telling whether objects were soft or hard while wearing a blindfold…

Unfortunately, Almerina was only able to keep the hand for six months, as it was a prototype, but there’s hope the technology will make it to the market soon. It’s not the teams only goal though, as researchers have stated that ultimately they’ll be able to make a prosthetic that surpasses the human hand. Once motor control and the sense of touch has been perfected, we could start seeing limbs with more than five digits…

Video Credit:  BBC News

 

 

 

Disney Star Wars land, AKA Nerd Heaven

Disney has finally given a first glimpse into its highly anticipated Star Wars lands currently being built in California and Florida, unveiling a 50-foot-wide 3D model of the area that will eventually cover about 14 acres. The Star Wars-themed attractions are due to open in 2019 at Disneyland in Anaheim, and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney World in Orlando…

WATCH – STAR WARS LAND MODEL UP-CLOSE TOUR

Both Star Wars-inspired lands will take guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port, and “one of the last stops before Wild Space.” The unveiling came at the D23 expo, currently being held in Anaheim, California, where the models are on display through the weekend…

WATCH – STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE MODEL FLY-THROUGH

There will be two main attractions: one that lets guests captain the Millennium Falcon on a secret mission, while the other places thrill-seekers in the middle of a “climatic battle” between the First Order and the Resistance. The images released show rugged terrain, lush forests reminiscent of scenes on Endor in Return of the Jedi, and metal cantina structures. According to Bloomberg, the new Star Wars lands will cost about $1 billion each…

WATCH – STAR WARS BOOTH TOUR

“This is the most ambitious land we’ve built to date,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney’s parks division at the unveiling. Plans for Star Wars lands were announced two years ago and promised “total immersion” that would see guests walk around and interact with random characters…

As you move through the areas, you might be recruited to join one side or the other, Are you a spy? Are you part of the Resistance or willing to join the First Order? It’s up to you. And your role inside of that will be defined by how you choose…

VIDEO CREDIT: Inside the Magic

The Babel fish is real! Earbuds Can Translate Languages For You in Real-Time

It’s the technological equivalent of the Babel fish from Douglas Adams‘ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy except it’s sadly limited to Earth-based languages and won’t be able to translate any alien words for you just yet…

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Anybody who’s ever tried to get by in a foreign country without much grasp of the local language can tell you, oversized hand gestures and speaking English loudly and slowly will only get you so far…

They call it the Pilot, the earpiece is shaped like a regular earbud, but comes without any wires or cables. It sits in your ear, and even without an internet connection it translates words being spoken to you in another language on the fly…

Waverly Labs says two earpieces are included in each pack, so two people should always be able to understand one another, provided you’re speaking in supported languages. The first generation of the device only works when you’re speaking to someone who also has the earbud, but the company says future versions will be able to translate from any spoken source around you…

Video Credit: iTranslate

More info here: iTranslate Website

 

 

Mushtari, a 3D Printed Wearable Microbial Factory

How can we design relationships between the most primitive and the most sophisticated life forms? Can we design wearables embedded with synthetic microorganisms that can enhance and augment biological functionality? Can we design wearables that generate consumable energy when exposed to the sun???

We can explored these questions through the creation of Mushtari, a 3D printed wearable with 58 meters of internal fluid channels. The wearable is designed to function as a microbial factory that uses synthetic biology to convert sunlight into useful products for the wearer. It does so with a symbiotic relationship between two organisms: a photosynthetic microbe – such as microalgae or cyanobacteria – and compatible microbes – such as baker’s yeast and E. coli – that make useful materials. The photosynthetic microbe converts sunlight to sucrose – table sugar – which is then consumed by compatible microbes and converted into materials such as pigments, drugs, food, fuel and scents. This is a form of microbial symbiosis, a phenomenon commonly found in nature. The wearer would ideally be able to trigger the microbes to produce a particular substance – for example a scent, a color pigment, or fuel…

The wearable was designed using generative growth algorithms. These computational form generation processes mimic biological growth by generating recursive forms over many iterations of the algorithm. Initial geometry and parameters defined by the algorithm inform the overall geometry, the local mesh geometry as well as variations in material property by altering the relative strength of relaxation, attraction and repulsion between mesh vertices. For Mushtari, the initial geometry and parameters created a single long channel that grew over numerous iterations into a wearable with 58 meters of inner channels varying in diameter from 1 mm to 2.5 cm. Transparency was graded regionally within the design to create areas where photosynthetic microbes could receive light and produce sucrose…

Mushtari was 3D printed using the Objet Connex3, a color multi-material 3D Printer developed by Stratasys. Printing internal channels required an innovative support solution. Typically, the Objet Connex3 dispenses a gel-like support material into internal channels that cannot be cleared. To overcome this barrier, the Mediated Matter group collaborated with Stratasys to develop an experimental liquid-based support that could be dispensed into the channels during printing and easily cleared afterwards.

Directed by architect and designer Neri Oxman, Living Mushtari was completed by the Mediated Matter Group in collaboration with Stratasys as a part of the Wanderers collection. Will Patrick of Mediated Matter was the lead researcher on the project. Additional collaborators include Christoph Bader and Dominik Kolb; Prof. Pamela Silver and Stephanie Hays of Harvard Medical School; and Dr. James Weaver of the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Mediated Matter researchers included: Will Patrick, Steven Keating and Sunanda Sharma.

Mushtari was designed as part of the Wanderers collection, an astrobiological exploration dedicated to the medieval astronomers who explored the worlds beyond by visiting the worlds within.

MUSHTARI from Mediated Matter Group on Vimeo.

NASA: NEW 6-Wheeled Mars Rover Concept Vehicle

Parker Brothers, a company that specializes in amazing custom vehicles, has built their own Mars Rover concept for NASA. It was shown off at the Kennedy Space Center‘s visitor complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida…

The rover’s electric motor is powered by a 700-volt battery, which is in turn charged by built-in solar panels. Its GPS- and radio-equipped front section seats four people, and can detach from the rear for outings such as scouting missions. That rear section houses a mock lab, and is made to be self-supporting while the rest of the vehicle is off exploring.

The vehicle’s six semi-spherical wheels are designed to provide optimal traction on both rocks and in sand, offering plenty of surface area while also incorporating slats to keep them from getting bogged down…

Following several weeks on display at Kennedy’s visitor complex, the Mars rover concept vehicle will be displayed at several locations. From July through August, it will be displayed at several locations during a tour along the East Coast…

If Batman were to go to Mars, is this what he would drive once he got there???

Video Credit: Raja That!

 

 

 

Stanford’s Humanoid Robot Diver

The robot, called OceanOne, is powered by artificial intelligence and haptic feedback systems, allowing human pilots an unprecedented ability to explore the depths of the oceans in high fidelity…

The concept for OceanOne was born from the need to study coral reefs deep in the Red Sea, far below the comfortable range of human divers. No existing robotic submarine can dive with the skill and care of a human diver, so OceanOne was conceived and built from the ground up, a successful marriage of robotics, artificial intelligence and haptic feedback systems…

The body looks far unlike conventional boxy robotic submersibles, but it’s the hands that really set OceanOne apart. Each fully articulated wrist is fitted with force sensors that relay haptic feedback to the pilot’s controls, so the human can feel whether the robot is grasping something firm and heavy, or light and delicate. (Eventually, each finger will be covered with tactile sensors.) The ‘bot’s brain also reads the data and makes sure that its hands keep a firm grip on objects, but that they don’t damage things by squeezing too tightly. In addition to exploring shipwrecks, this makes it adept at manipulating delicate coral reef research and precisely placing underwater sensors…

The humanoid form also means that when OceanOne dives alongside actual humans, its pilot can communicate through hand gestures during complex tasks or scientific experiments. Ultimately, though, Khatib designed OceanOne with an eye toward getting human divers out of harm’s way. Every aspect of the robot’s design is meant to allow it to take on tasks that are either dangerous – deep-water mining, oil-rig maintenance or underwater disaster situations like the Fukushima Daiichi power plant – or simply beyond the physical limits of human divers…

Video Credit:  Stanford

DIY Bio-hacking Can Change The World

In recent years, more than any new movement in the bio-based universe, bio-hacking is taking over labs and living rooms to become a global bio-based phenomenon. Bio-hacking is as varied as it is spectacular.  Bio-hackers, much like their computer hacker forebears, prefer asking for forgiveness rather than permission…

Whether you’re ready to convert your garage into a full blown laboratory or just want to try a few fun experiments with your friends, there are plenty of projects to inspire you to DIY…

Human-to-Human Interface

Makers are exploring a growing number of neural interfaces to control devices, but Greg Gage of Backyard Brains uses electromyography, or EMG, to control something more interesting than a robot — he’s using it to control humans! With DIY human-to-human interfacing you can send signals from your muscles to your friend’s and make them move under your command…

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Braincopter

OpenBCI’s boards and components allow amateur scientists to easily and affordably access the EEG, EKG, and EMG (brain, heart, and muscle) activity of a subject. Through its open protocol, you can track health data and brainwave activity and use those measured values to trigger and control any number of other programs or projects. One cool implementation: Controlling a toy helicopter throttle using just your brain’s alpha waves…

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Replicate DNA at Home

Being able to replicate DNA is a necessary part of experiments that involve mapping genomes, detecting viruses and bacteria, and diagnosing genetic disorders, but the lab equipment that enables this replication can cost upwards of $10,000. This DIY polymerase chain reaction (PCR) thermocycler setup is an affordable alternative targeted for high schoolers…

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Regardless of the approach to or application of bio-hacking, this growing, biotechnological social movement in which individuals, communities, and start-up organisations work together outside of traditional research institutions, will see a huge rise in the study of biology and life sciences. More than that, this kind of freestyle DIY biology brings bio-based invention back into the public domain, accessible at all levels of ability and training…

Video Credit: ReasonTV