Future Tech: Featuring plastic Wi-Fi objects & making human skin from ink.
HUBO the humanoid robot got to carry the Olympic torch
One of the traditions of the Olympics is the torch relay, in which people carry the flame from Olympia, Greece to the location of the Games. In 2018, the Olympic Games will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, and the torch relay is currently underway. Earlier this week, the HUBO, the humanoid robot, carried the flame for part of its journey.
HUBO only covered 150 meters (about 500 feet) with the torch, but its presence was largely symbolic. As part of its torch duties, HUBO performed an example of a disaster rescue operation in which it cut a hole in a brick wall (while still holding the torch). It was intended as a “display of innovation and creativity,” according to PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee President LEE Hee-beom.
3D printed mechanical designs that can reflect radio signals
From Popular Mechanics:
Researchers at the University of Washington have made 3D-printed plastic objects and sensors that can communicate with other Wi-Fi devices, despite the fact that they’re not even electrified.
“Our goal was to create something that just comes out of your 3D printer at home and can send useful information to other devices,” says Vikram Iyer, co-author of the paper showing the work, in a press statement. “But the big challenge is how do you communicate wirelessly with Wi-Fi using only plastic? That’s something that no one has been able to do before.”
The researchers took inspiration from a decidedly old-school source: mechanical watches. First developed in the 13th century, mechanical watches move without electricity, using intricate gears and springs to keep the hands in motion. Similarly, the UW team replaced some of the functions of electric parts with 3D-printed springs, gears and switches.
Could this bacteria-laden ink be used as a human skin replacement?
From The Verge:
Tomorrow’s replacement skin could be 3D-printed from a new ink embedded with living bacteria. Bacteria are able to do everything from breaking down toxins to synthesizing vitamins. When they move, they create strands of a material called cellulose that is useful for wound patches and other medical applications. Until now, bacterial cellulose could only be grown on a flat surface — and few parts of our body are perfectly flat.
In a paper published today in Science Advances, researchers created a special ink that contains these living bacteria. Because it is an ink, it can be used to 3D print in shapes — including a T-shirt, a face and circles — and not just flat sheets.
Bacterial cellulose is free of debris, holds a lot of water, and has a soothing effect once it’s applied on wounds. Because it’s a natural material, our body is unlikely to reject it, so it has many potential applications for creating skin transplants, biosensors, or tissue envelopes to carry and protect organs before transplanting them.
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