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  1. Many members post news on nsane.forums from many different news sites. Except nsane.forums itself, what other sites are your favorite or what sites you prefer to read when you are looking for technology and related news. For example, some of mine are: Ars Technica ExtremeTech TechSpot PCGamesN What are yours there.
  2. Self-Driving Cars Will Kill Things You Love (And a Few You Hate) Get ready for the long goodbye to car culture, many domestic flights, and insurance premiums. Electric cars, robo taxis and self-driving trucks are coming to change the society we live in—possibly sooner than you think. Limited tests of driverless cars are already happening today and they’ll be in use everywhere within six years, according to Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault Nissan Alliance. A change on that scale would reach far beyond the automotive industry to upend businesses, transform our daily lifestyles and reshape cities. Even if the skeptics are right and the technology necessary for full level-five autonomy develops more slowly, the revolution could still claim many victims. Bikes and Buses In a future where anyone is able to summon a cheap driverless pod at the click of a smartphone button, the line between public and private transport would start to blur. Ride hailing services such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. are already reducing demand for public transport across the U.S., according to a study from the University of California, Davis. People use ride hailing apps instead of taking the train, driving, cycling or even walking. Removing human drivers from the equation could make those services even more affordable and convenient compared with trains or buses following fixed routes. Dwindling passenger numbers could ultimately starve public transit of investment. Domestic Airlines In the U.S. people often fly between or even within states, but autonomous technology could make car journeys a more pleasant and productive alternative. The impact could be similar to Japan’s bullet trains, which diverted passengers away from airlines. “Air travel in North America isn’t really good—the airports suck, the airlines are horrible,” said Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, an intelligent mobility analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “In a driverless car you could read a book, watch a movie and do other fun stuff.” Insurance Premiums Today more than 90 percent of road accidents are caused by human error, so once you take people out of the equation safety will probably improve, said David Williams, technical director at insurer AXA SA. Initially, there could be two types of insurance—one for manual cars and one for autonomous—with premiums for the latter eventually falling as much as 50 percent, Williams said. Car Culture Tailgate parties, political bumper stickers, bored teenagers cruising the byways of small towns—all these could become things of the past as cars change from prized possessions to on-demand utilities. Fewer young people are already learning to drive in the U.S., citing the cost of owning a car and ability to share rides as key reasons, according to a study by the University of Michigan. If that generation eventually loses the need to drive altogether, the link between American popular culture and car ownership will wither. “We as Americans associate our identity with our car,” said Doug Seven, who leads Microsoft’s connected and driverless car efforts. “When the 20 year-olds become the 40 year-olds and the 40 year-olds become the 60 year-olds, the cultures will shift.” Traffic Jams Cloud-connected vehicles with advanced computer brains won’t just drive themselves, they’ll be able to communicate with other cars, traffic signals or emergency services. Even if the number of cars on the road increases, these systems could speed up city traffic and reduce jams by rerouting flows away from accidents or repricing toll routes. They might also curb the daily rush hour by allowing employers and local governments to encourage more flexible working hours. "You would want to spread things out from 9 o’clock on the dot and 5 o’clock on the dot,” said Benedict Evans, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, in an interview. “Driverless cars give you a lot of the tools to do that.” Parking Tickets Some of the most hated people on the planet may soon find themselves out of work. If shared driverless cars constantly patrol the streets awaiting a ride before returning for storage in centralized depots, rather than parking on the street, there’ll be little need for parking enforcement officers. Even those that do seek street parking would have an advantage over humans. The U.K. tech startup AppyParking, which features a map of parking spaces in 11 cities, says it could also allow driverless cars to find a spot easily. Truck Drivers Autonomous vehicles may not be a such a bad thing for long-haul truckers, because the industry is already facing a worsening shortage of drivers, said Evans. In the U.S., fewer young people want to do the job and the average age of drivers is 49, so within 10 years many will be close to retirement, according to the American Trucking Associations. Before that happens, self-driving technology could make the job less stressful. “The best analog is commercial air travel, which has been heavily automated for some time,” said Sean McNally, a spokesman for ATA. “Drivers will handle things like pickup and delivery similar to the way a pilots are responsible for takeoff and landing, but switch to more automated systems for long-distance highway travel.” Mechanics Auto repair shops may grow to hate the sight of autonomous battery-powered cars, on the rare occasions they actually encounter them. Many of the common repairs for gasoline-powered vehicles—replacing spark plugs or engine oil—simply won’t be needed for electric motors. They’ll still have tires and brakes that suffer wear and tear, but the lack of a combustion engine makes a big difference. Analysts at UBS Group AG who stripped down a Chevrolet Bolt concluded that it doesn’t require any maintenance for the first 150,000 miles it drives, compared with servicing every 10,000 miles for a Volkswagen Golf. Fewer bumps and scrapes caused by human error also mean lower demand for repairs to headlights and body panels. The Gas Pump Rapid adoption of electric vehicles could mean oil demand peaks in just 12 years, according to Bank of America Corp. That would send shockwaves through an industry that’s counting on consumption growth for decades to come. Some major producers, such as BP Plc, are already acknowledging the possibility that some oil resources will never be needed. This scenario raises difficult questions for Saudi Arabia, which has more than 70 years of crude reserves and hopes to achieve a IPO valuation of more than $1 trillion for its national oil company later this year. The Winners For Netflix Inc. or Nintendo Co. Ltd., time currently spent driving could be opened up for movies or games. Electric utilities in developed countries would see soaring demand after years of stagnating growth. For law enforcement, 3D sensors and high definition cameras would potentially make each vehicle a roving spy able to determine fault in an accident, witness street crime or spot suspicious patterns of behavior. — With assistance by Samuel Dodge, and Alex Longley SOURCE & media
  3. Penn drones navigate on their own, could save people from peril The flying robots called drones were used in a dramatic light show for the Olympics opening ceremonies in South Korea, executing elaborate routines that humans had programmed in advance. Other drones are piloted by remote control, ranging from low-cost toy versions to the sophisticated devices used in the military. In a University of Pennsylvania lab, engineers now have produced something else entirely: "swarms" of drones that can navigate on their own. Picture a crew of firefighters outside a burning building, unable to tell whether any floors have collapsed. Or imagine a nuclear accident that is too dangerous for humans to examine up close. In the not-too-distant future, a group of these drones could handle the job instead, the Penn engineers say. Such devices can work as a group to canvass a wide area, capturing images and other data that would help emergency responders plot the next step—from a safe distance—said team leader Vijay Kumar, who is also dean of Penn's engineering school. "The robots basically talk to each other," he said. "They each know where they're going. They can use high-level algorithms to distribute themselves in complex ways to solve tasks." The devices perceive their surroundings by means of onboard cameras and "inertial measurement units—the same technology used in smartphones to tell when the screen is tilted this way or that. The computer brain mounted on each drone also came from a smartphone—made by Qualcomm, which funded the research along with the Pentagon and the National Science Foundation. "It's a smartphone without the case," said Penn research scientist Giuseppe Loianno. Loianno said he could not disclose the exact funding total for the project, but it is safe to say it is in the millions. Penn's robotics lab has received other grants for related projects with the drones, including a $27 million outlay from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Loianno and colleague Aaron Weinstein, who earned an undergraduate engineering degree from Penn in 2017 and remains part of the team, showed off four of the flying robots recently at the university's Pennovation Center. Using a laptop computer, Weinstein issued a series of general commands to the drones—form a straight line, a diamond, a diagonal—then let the electronic hive mind figure out the rest. The four robots rose as one, their tiny propellers whirling so fast they produced a musical hum, a note close to an F-sharp. Collectively, they determined which among them would occupy a given spot in each formation, using an algorithm to find the most efficient route from where the devices had been hovering immediately before. The research, scheduled to be presented at a conference later this year, is drawing notice. One fan is Larry Matthies, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. "Vijay's group has been one of the world leaders in this area," said Matthies, a computer vision expert who worked on the Mars Exploration Rover and Pathfinder missions. The drones were made by San Diego-based Qualcomm and customized by the Penn team. A big selling point of the devices is their pinpoint precision. The Intel drones used for the Olympics ceremony relied on GPS signals to fix their position—a technology that is good to within a few yards in any direction. But the Penn drones can tell where they are within an inch or so, the engineers said. Weinstein, Loianno, and colleague Adam Cho had no hesitation in posing for a photo as the devices hovered in formation about their heads. And unlike drones that rely on satellite signals, the Penn drones can navigate indoors. The key is the onboard cameras combined with some slick software. Given a known starting point, a drone maintains a running fix on its position based on how the camera's view of the ground below changes from one split-second to the next. It works even when the camera's frame of reference is the chaotic design on the Pennovation Center's floor tiles—a jumble of beige squiggles against a dark-gray background, with no apparent pattern. The building, tucked in a bend of the Schuylkill in a Philadelphia neighborhood called Forgotten Bottom, straddles the line between research and commerce, hosting both academic labs and start-up ventures. Qualcomm, the wireless company that helped fund Kumar's drone research, also has projects underway there. Some features of the Penn drones still are in development, such as how they would store images and create a map of an unfamiliar environment. In the event of a nuclear accident, the drones also would need to cope with radiation, which can interfere with wireless communication. In addition to navigating on their own, the drones are interchangeable, able to adapt and take on new responsibilities in case any members break down during a mission. In that respect, Kumar said, their performance was like that of the Super Bowl champion Eagles, who successfully thrust a series of backup players into starring roles. "We're looking at something that is inherently resilient," he said of the drones earlier this month, still hoarse from celebrating on Broad Street the night of the big win. "That term also is used to describe the Eagles." After all, the football team was lauded this season for its "swarming" defense. Yet unlike the Eagles, the drones could be produced for about $1,000 apiece, Kumar said. So far, the Penn team has demonstrated swarms with up to 12 drones, and Loianno said there is no reason they cannot do 100. SOURCE
  4. Technology enabling just cyberstalkers to torment victims video : https://www.10tv.com/article/technology-enabling-cyberstalkers-torment-victims Technology is not your friend if you’re on the other end of an obsessed stalker. “If someone is trying to hurt you, they have more tools in their toolbox now,” says Kristin who didn’t want her last name used but spoke openly with CrimeTracker 10 openly about her cyberstalking nightmare. Kristin suffered from more than a year of torment at the hands of an ex-boyfriend. “When you specifically tell someone – Do not interact with me – when you block on Facebook or social media or block their phone number and they start going around it and creating new Facebook pages or new Snapchats and emails and phone numbers, that’s when it gets to the point where you are at their mercy,” she said. “They keep interacting with you and all you want is for them to stop.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.5 million people are cyberstalked every year. That’s up 45 percent from just two years ago. “It’s almost an infinite number of ways with different types of apps on your phone or different sorts of social media platforms that creates that opportunity for interaction,” says Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. He says between 85-90 percent of stalking reports filed in the capital city have some form of cyber element. Last year, more than half involved stalking by phone or text and 35 percent of victims reported cyberstalked used email or social media to harass them. “There’s certainly been more instances of stalkers using spoofed numbers, fake email addresses, fake Facebook pages,” Klein said. Kristin says she experienced it all. In 47 days, she documented more than 1,352 phone calls, 75 text messages, and 107 different numbers that were spoofed. And she quickly learned the technology on her smartphone gave her ex an effortless way to keep his “eyes” on her. “The police officers thought I had spyware on my phone, where my ex had access to my cell phone and was able to download an app and integrate inside other apps already on my phone,” she said. “As long as I was on my phone and that specific app that the spyware was integrated into, it could access my location. Then they could use their own cell phone to figure out where I was.” Kristin says she started collecting evidence – screen grabs, photos, emails – of everything her cyberstalker used to make her life a living hell. She kept it all in a binder that grew to 3 inches thick. It was her proof of life. “If I was killed, at least I made sure I was able to stand up for myself as much as possible through this book,” she explains. “I remember being so scared that I didn’t even want to get out of bed, so I had a highlighter and found a back of a receipt and I wrote my will on the back with a highlighter because I was convinced I’d be dead before he was ever caught.” The federal government, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories have all enacted criminal laws to address stalking. But Kristin wants more. She says there needs to be better legislation to protect victims like her. “I felt like my abuser was innocent until guilty and I was lying until proven truthful,” she said. The City Attorney’s office has a specific division dedicated to domestic violence and stalking. Prosecutors work with investigators from the Columbus Division of Police. “I can’t stress enough how important it is for individuals to trust their gut and when they feel uncomfortable, call our office. Don’t be embarrassed. It’s ok. We’re here to help,” Klein said. Resources : Are you being stalked? Documentation tips for survivors of technology abuse and stalking Cell phone location, privacy and intimate partner violence Cell phone and location safety strategies Is someone you know being stalked? Stalking documentation log Technology-facilitated stalking: What you need to know FightCyberstalking on Twitter and the site : FightCyberStalking.org SOURCE OTHER INFO : Royal Canadian Mounted Police www.rcmp.gc.ca Bullying and Cyberbullying ....................... Government of Canada Dept of Justice A HANBOOK FOR POLICE AND CROWN PROSECUTORS ON CRIMINAL HARASSMENT ............................... Cyberstalker sentenced to one year in Canada
  5. THE NEXT GENERATION OF WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY IS READY FOR TAKE-OFF Whizzy 5G tech has everything going for it barring a strong business case NORTH KOREAN athletes haven't been the only unusual participants at the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea. Anyone can take part, at least virtually. Many contestants will be watched by 360-degree video cameras, able to stream footage via a wireless network. At certain venues around the country sports fans will be able to don virtual-reality, head-mounted displays to get right into the action. Flying alongside a ski jumper, for instance, will offer an adrenalin rush without any risk of a hard landing. These virtual experiences will be offered by KT, South Korea’s largest telecoms firm. They are meant to showcase the latest generation of wireless technology, known as “5G”. But just as ski jumpers never know exactly how far they will leap after leaving the ramp, it is unclear where 5G will land. On paper, the new technology should go far. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN body which helps develop technical standards, has agreed on an ambitious set of requirements for the technology. It should offer download speeds of at least 20 gigabits per second, response times or “latency” of less than 1 millisecond and the ability to connect at least 1m devices in one square kilometre. So 5G networks are supposed to be able to transfer a full-length, high-resolution film in two seconds, respond to requests in less than a hundredth of the time it takes to blink an eye and effortlessly serve cities that are densely packed with connected humans and devices. When 5G is properly rolled out, wireless bandwidth may seem infinite, says Alex Choi, until recently the chief technology officer of SK Telecom, South Korea’s second biggest carrier, who is now at Deutsche Telekom, a German operator. That will enable all kinds of data-ravenous services, which SK is testing at its “5G Playground” near Seoul. One such is a virtual-reality offering that allows people to beam themselves into shared digital spaces such as a virtual sports stadium. Another piece of 5G ingenuity is on view at Ericsson, a maker of network equipment. In what was once a factory building next to its headquarters near Stockholm, it is demonstrating “network slicing”, a technique to create bespoke networks. The antennae on display are able to create separate wireless networks, to serve anything from smartphones and wireless sensors to industrial robots and self-driving cars. “Each set of devices will get exactly the connectivity they need,” says Nishant Batra, who runs wireless-network products at the Swedish firm. This versatility, along with the ITU requirements, could make 5G the connective tissue for the internet of things (IoT), as connected devices are collectively called, says Pierre Ferragu of Bernstein Research. Networks based on it could connect and control robots, medical devices, industrial equipment and agricultural machinery. They could also enable “edge computing”, the idea that more and more number-crunching will not happen in centralised data centres but at the fringe of networks. The telecoms industry has a lot riding on 5G. Mature network-equipment makers such as Ericsson and Nokia want it to revive demand for their wares, which has declined markedly since investment in 4G peaked a couple of years ago. Makers of radio chips, such as Qualcomm, are keen too. Countries are also boosters of 5G. Having lagged in the previous wireless generation, Asian countries want to lead the way on the next one. Using the Olympic Games to showcase and launch 5G is not unique to South Korea. Japan will do so in 2020, when Tokyo hosts the summer Olympics and NTT DoCoMo, the country’s largest operator, wants to start offering 5G services commercially. In China the government, operators and local equipment makers such as Huawei and ZTE are about to launch big 5G trials. In America, where competition between AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon has already speeded 5G development, industrial policy may further accelerate its roll-out: a leaked memo written for the White House by an official of the National Security Council went so far as to call for a nationalised 5G network. Such a project, it argued, would allow America “to leap ahead of global competitors and provide the American people with a secure and reliable infrastructure”. The memo was dismissed, but the idea could crop up again. In spite of all this backing for 5G, hurdles exist. One of these is radio spectrum, which is increasingly saturated in the lower frequency bands usually used by mobile networks. Free spectrum abounds in the higher bands—in particular where the length of radio waves is counted in millimetres. But the higher the frequency, the more difficult things get, explains Stéphane Téral of IHS Markit, a research firm. Millimetre waves provide a lot of bandwidth, but even foliage can block them. They either need direct line-of-sight to work or must be bounced around obstacles, which requires lots of computing power. Hardware is another headwind. Some equipment vendors have been touting their wares as “5G-ready”, needing only software upgrades to work with the new standards. In fact, even if equipment is easily upgradeable, most operators will have to rejig their networks. High-frequency radio waves do not travel far, so firms have to erect more base stations (computers that power a network’s antennae). As for mobile devices, big changes must be made for these to be able to use millimetre waves; with current technology, the computing power to process the signals would drain batteries in a twinkling. But the biggest brake on 5G will be economic. When the GSMA, an industry group, last year asked 750 telecoms bosses about the main risk to delivering 5G, over half cited the “lack of a clear business case”. Some of this pessimism is tactical: if operators were more enthusiastic, equipment vendors would raise their prices. But as things stand, 5G is unlikely to be a big moneymaker, says Chetan Sharma, a telecoms consultant. That is because, although people want more bandwidth, they are often not willing to pay for it—an attitude even the fanciest virtual-reality offerings may not shift. Revenue per gigabyte of data has already plunged by over 50% between 2012 and 2015, estimates Mr Sharma. Costs per gigabyte have not gone down nearly as much and building 5G will not be cheap. Because of the higher frequencies, 5G will require more antennae, base stations and fibre-optic cables to connect them. And before firms can take full advantage of “network slicing”, for instance, they have to upgrade the computers at the core of their networks. “We will have to work harder to give 5G a push,” admits Lauri Oksanen, who oversees network research at Nokia, a Finnish equipment maker. Operators are unlikely to ramp up their 5G investments quickly, predicts Bengt Nordstrom of Northstream, a telecoms consultancy. Instead, he says, they will roll it out gradually where the numbers add up. Some will first use the technology to provide superfast “fixed” wireless links (ie, between two stationary antennae), which is less tricky to do. Both AT&T and Verizon have said they will start offering such a service in America this year. Other carriers may use 5G to get more out of the spectrum they own. Others will weave 5G networks to serve densely populated cities, most probably in Asia. And some will launch private systems, for instance to provide connectivity in mines and ports. In other words, 5G’s trajectory is likely to differ from that of a ski jumper: it may fly low for years before it takes off. If this is the case, it would develop much like 3G, a mobile technology introduced in the early 2000s. It disappointed until it found a “killer application” with the smartphone late in the decade. And it was only with 4G that mobile networks lived up to the promises made of 3G, such as being able to watch video streams (see chart). “The odd-numbered generations do not seem to do too well,” quips Dean Bubley, a telecoms expert. “We may have to wait for 6G to get what 5G promises.” SOURCE
  6. New DNA wires are 100 times more sensitive than other biosensors ?A close up of DNA wires being drawn through the porous membrane. Scientists in Sweden today reported a nanoengineering innovation that offers hope for treatment of cancer, infections and other health problems -- conductive wires of DNA enhanced with gold which could be used to electrically measure hundreds of biological processes simultaneously. While DNA nanowires have been in development for some time, the method developed at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University produces a unique three-dimensional biosensor for better effectiveness than flat, two-dimensional sensors. "Our geometry makes it much easier to measure several biomolecules simultaneously, and is also 100 times more sensitive," says KTH Professor Wouter van der Wijngaart. "This is the first out-of-plane metallic nanowire formation based on stretching of DNA through a porous membrane," van der Wijngaart says. The DNA nanowires, treated with gold to make them conductive, are created only in the presence of specific biomarker molecules in the patient sample and transmit evidence of their presence, even when such molecules are low in concentration. The conductive wires short-circuit both sides of the membrane, which makes them easy to detect. To make the wires, the team first captured molecules on the surface of a porous membrane, which were designed to only bind with specific biomarker molecules in the sample. Such molecular binding events then trigger the formation of long DNA wires that were drawn through the pores by vacuum drying. Then the membrane is treated with a solution of nanometer sized gold particles, which can only bind to DNA molecules in a certain sequence, van der Wijngaart says. The researchers published their results today in Microsystems and Nanoengineering (Nature Publishing Group). In addition to van der Wijngaart and Stockholm University Professor Mats Nilsson, the authors include Maoxiang Guo (KTH) and Iván Hernández-Neuta and Narayanan Madaboosi (Stockholm University). The research work was funded in part by the China Scholarship Council and the Swedish Research Council. SOURCE
  7. New quantum repeater paves the way for long-distance big quantum data transmission Physicists have designed a new method for transmitting big quantum data across long distances that requires far fewer resources than previous methods, bringing the implementation of long-distance big quantum data transmission closer to reality. The results may lead to the development of future quantum networks, such asa global-scale quantum internet. The researchers, Michael Zwerger and coauthors at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, have published a paper on the new long-range quantum communication method in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters. "The greatest significance of our work is that we provide an efficient and scalable scheme for longdistance quantum communication," Zwerger told Phys.org. "We believe that this will be an essential ingredient for a future quantum internet, where large amounts of quantum data will be transmitted. Most importantly, in contrast to previous proposals, the required resources (per transmitted qubit) at each repeater station do not scale with the distance, which makes the quantum datatransmission more efficient." The new method relies on an alternative type of quantum repeater—a device that generates quantum entanglement at distant locations on a quantum network in order to combat signal loss, somewhat how an amplifier boosts the signal in classical communication networks. The biggest advantage of the new quantum repeater is that it can allow quantum data transmission to be scaled up to longer distances much more easily than with previous quantum repeaters. Typically, as the transmission distance increases, more resources (qubits) are needed at each repeater station. In previous schemes, the number of resources grows polylogarithmically or even polynomially at each repeater station with the distance. Using the new quantum repeater, the number of resources per transmitted qubit remains constant at each repeater station; that is, it is entirely independent of the distance. This allows for quantum data to be transmitted over arbitrarily long distances using a relatively small amount of resources. In its current implementation, the method uses a few hundred qubits at each repeater station, and can reach intercontinental distances. As the physicists explain, the key behind the new quantum repeater is an entanglement distillation protocol called hashing, which generates perfect pairs of entangled qubits. The researchers also used an optimized measurement-based implementation, which greatly reduces unwanted noise. These tools provide a high error tolerance and high transmission rates, allowing for quantum data transmission in realistically noisy scenarios, such as a quantum internet. "Just think of the internet as it has grown over the years, where data transmission has increased dramatically," Zwerger said. "One can envision a quantum internet, where rather than classical data quantum information is transmitted. Indeed, a number of very interesting applications of such quantum data transmission have been discussed, among them quantum cryptography, distributed quantum computing and distributed sensing. Truly secure transmission requires large keys, and hence also large quantum transmission rates. A similar thing can be said about the possibility of distributed quantum computation. In early proof-of-principle experiments, rates and overheads might not be a big deal, but this for sure will become highly relevant once one scales things up. This is where our proposal becomes relevant." In the future, the researchers plan to extend the new quantum repeater devices to work with larger networks. "The present proposal is for point-to-point communication between a sender and a receiver," Zwerger said. "We plan to use similar ideas for multipartite quantum networks with many users. In addition, we are currently investigating novel schemes where we try to apply similar techniques on smaller scales—taking some of the ideas of the hashing protocol and design entanglement purification protocols and communication schemes that use only a few qubits. This might have an impact on a shorter timescale, when first prototype quantum communication systems will be built." SOURCE
  8. Tiny Robot made of Rubber by German Researchers can Walk, Crawl, Jump and Swim Important differences notwithstanding, the majority of small-scale robots available today have very limited range of motion, which mostly comes down to their rigid bodies. Soft robots, on the other hand, are capable of a broader range of locomotion, the latter being one of the reasons for the attention they have been receiving as of late. In a paper published on 24 January in the journal Nature, a group of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany present a tiny, millimetre-scale robot capable of traversing both liquid and solid terrains. The robot is made of an elastomer rubber filled with tiny magnetic particles with specific properties which have been programmed by the researchers. Once a magnetic field is applied, the robot changes shape and starts to move. Soft robots are becoming faster, more agile, and diverse. Researchers hope to eventually use them inside the human body for medical purposes. Image courtesy of the Max Planck Society. According to one of the co-authors of the paper, Metin Sitti, the key driver behind their research is the need to build microscopic robots to navigate inside our bodies and deliver payloads (such as drugs) in hard-to-reach places. “The robots already are small enough for our digestive system and urinary system. We’d like to go smaller, even down to tens of microns, so that we can reach almost anywhere inside your body,” Sitti said in an interview with the New York Times. One way of accomplishing that is by having the robot grab — and eventually deliver — its cargo by a simple change in shape; another is to have a small pocket on its surface which can only be opened by triggering a specific shape, thereby ensuring safety. The current design was inspired by a variety of animals whose movement patterns could potentially be useful in navigating the difficult terrains within our bodies. “That’s another scientific challenge we solved in this study — how you can combine the caterpillars, jellyfish and all these different, small, soft organisms into one relatively minimalist robot that can achieve all different types of motion to navigate in complex environments.” Sitti and his team are currently working on making the robot fully biodegradable without causing side effects to human tissue. “That’s one of our major goals in my group. And that’s possible”. story credit here --> https://www.technology.org/2018/01/27/tiny-robot-made-of-rubber-by-german-researchers-can-walk-crawl-jump-and-swim/
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