Bioprinting a cornea using human cells is now a reality
From The Verge:
Scientists have 3D printed the thin protective film over the eye, called the cornea, using human cells — and it’s the most advanced version of an artificial cornea yet. Should the technology improve, it could help millions of people see again.
It was tricky to find the right recipe for an ink that’s thin enough to squirt through a 3D printer’s nozzle, says Che Connon, a tissue engineer at Newcastle University who was one of the creators of the artificial cornea. This bio-ink didn’t just have to be thin — it also had to be stiff enough that it could hold its shape as a 3D structure. To get the right consistency, the researchers added a jelly-like goo called alginate and stem cells extracted from donor corneas, along with some ropy proteins called collagen.
The cornea is the first lens light passes through before eventually hitting the retina at the back of the eye. Damage to the cornea — from injury or infection — can distort vision, or even lead to blindness. Right now, the damaged corneas are replaced with healthy ones from deceased donors, but there aren’t enough donated corneas to go around.
Tiny, mindless robots somehow exhibit hive mind behaviour
From Popular Mechanics:
Plenty of insects exhibit some sort of hive mind behavior, where complicated behaviors can come from a group of individuals following only a few simple rules. For instance, each individual worker ant might only be able to perform a few tasks like following pheromone trails and picking up food, but the result is a colony that is capable of building extensive nests and intelligently responding to outside threats.
A group of researchers at the University of Bordeaux in France have created their own simple version of this type of hive mind behavior, by building tiny, mindless robots that only know how to go forward, but can still work as a group to maneuver around obstacles.
The robots in question are little more than tiny vibrating bits of plastic, with no programming or intelligence to speak of. Each robot measures only about an inch long and can move forward about a foot per second. That’s all that these robots are capable of by themselves, but when the researchers put dozens of them together something interesting happened.
Autonomous shuttles debut in Canada this summer
From CBC News:
Calgarians and Edmontonians will be able to test-ride autonomous, electric shuttles for free once two pilot programs launch later this year.
This is the first time in Canada that this kind of pilot program has been made accessible to the general public, according to Andrew Sedor, a transportation planner with the City of Calgary, as the projects were announced in Edmonton Wednesday.
Dubbed the “ELA,” the EasyMile EZ10 will seat 12 and will travel at low speeds — roughly 12 km/h — and on separate roadways where there are no other vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians.
In Calgary, the free shuttle will run between the Telus Spark Science Centre and the Calgary Zoo along a service lane.
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