Future Tech: Plus…an autonomous floating space orb & ‘1D-printed’ robots.
New health-monitoring sensor could be this season’s most stylish medical breakthrough
From The Verge:
We’re a little closer to getting rid of bulky health sensors now that scientists have created a super-thin wearable that can record data through skin. That would make this wearable, which looks like a stylish gold tattoo, ideal for long-term medical monitoring — it’s already so comfortable that people forgot they were wearing it.
Most skin-based interfaces consist of electronics embedded in a substance, like plastic, that is then stuck onto the skin. Problem is, the plastic is often rigid or it doesn’t let you move and sweat.
In a paper published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, scientists used a material that dissolves under water, leaving the electronic part directly on the skin and comfortable to bend and wear. Twenty participants wore it on their skin for a week without problems. They didn’t get itchy or irritated, and the wearable didn’t break.
Japan’s newest astronaut is an autonomous floating space orb
From Science Alert:
You know that creepy black sphere used as a floating interrogation droid in Star Wars? It seems like scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) pretty much designed the complete opposite of that, and we want one for our very own.
Called Int-Ball, this adorable little camera drone resembles something Pixar might have come up with, but it's totally real, and is now a floating companion to astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) – where it helps out by taking photos and recording video, freeing up valuable astronaut time.
Int-Ball was delivered to the ISS in a SpaceX cargo shipment last month – the company's first involving a reused Dragon cargo capsule – and is now operational, currently undergoing initial testing.
A recyclable ‘1D-printed’ robot
From Popular Mechanics:
Ever dropped something in a hard to reach spot and couldn't get your arm there to pick it up? "1D printing" could offer an interesting solution. This system bends a small wire with a motor attached into a shape that can wriggle and squirm into a tiny crevice.
The machine that prints the robots uses "evolutionary algorithms" which change the shape and form of the wire bit by bit until it hits on a shape that will accomplish the intended goal. The catch is that this method can take a while to find the right shape, so don't expect it to be perfect on the first try.
Sebastian Risi, a member of a research team at the IT University of Copenhagen, which helped design the robot, puts the project this way: "The idea is that you analyze the current situation, then make a robot on the fly that can deal with it." And after you use your bot, you can simply recycle it back into the machine so that the wire can be used for a different project.”
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