Headless, Two-Legged Robot Digit Is Now Ready to Take Over Your Duties

by Cristina Mircea

It was “born” in 2019 when its creator, Agility Robotics, first introduced it as a highly-capable robot with legs and arms, suited for both indoor and outdoor use. Now Digit is available for purchase and ready to take over your tedious duties. 7 photos

Digit is a strange-looking humanoid. It is headless, but it has fully functional arms, legs, and a somewhat athletic body. As well it should since Agility Robotics aims to create a fleet of robots that can free humans of their tedious and exhausting tasks, so they can focus on the creativity and decision-making side of things.

The company claims it built Digit as a machine that can work in environments designed for humans. It is why it can climb stairs, navigate autonomously, and perform a variety of tasks with its strong arms.

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Inside NASA’s vision to control space stations with autonomous robots

Our future in space may see ISAAC control space stations, as well as space colonies on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

“What would happen if an astronaut were to lose a sock inside an air vent?” you may wonder. Well wonder no further, as an Astrobee robot named Bumble solved that very test aboard the International Space Station in April 2021.

Engineers provided the small, cube-shaped robotic attendant with a (fictional) warning of a buildup of carbon dioxide aboard the station. (Such an event in real life could quickly prove dangerous for humans aboard the orbiting outpost).

Bumble quickly traveled to an air recirculation vent, identifying the “blockage” — a picture of a sock, standing in for the real thing. The electronic aide-de-camp then called for human assistance in removing the blockage.

The second test for Bumble involved creating a high-resolution map of Bay 6 of the space station’s Japanese Exploration Module. While doing so, the fluttering cyborg encountered cables around which it had to navigate, while encountering “interruptions” in its communications with ground controllers.

Bumble performed its tasks successfully, along with a little help from humans back on Earth.

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Hydrogen-powered truck set for launch in Australia

Australian hydrogen vehicle manufacturer H2X will unveil the Warrego, a fuel cell electric hybrid pickup truck, in November.

By  BELLA PEACOCK

H2X Global plans to launch its new Warrego pickup truck in Australia’s Gold Coast region, and is already taking orders for the vehicle.

The company says the vehicle features a 200 kW motor system, 66 kW and optional 90 kW fuel cell systems, and 60 kW to 100 kW energy storage systems between its battery and super capacitor units. The Warrego has a 500 km driving range and a refueling time of between three and five minutes. 

With its hybrid system, H2X says the vehicle can on pure hydrogen, “drastically” reducing refueling time, while increasing driving range and hydrogen efficiency.

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Engineering CAR T Cells to Deliver Endogenous RNA Wakes Solid Tumors to Respond to Therapy

PHILADELPHIA—Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, which uses engineered T cells to treat certain types of cancers, has often been a challenging approach to treating solid tumors. CAR T cells need to recognize a specific target on cancer cells to kill them. However, cancer cells do not always have the target, or they find ways to hide the target and stay invisible to CAR T cell attack. A new study from Penn Medicine, published online in Cell, demonstrates that RN7SL1, a naturally occurring RNA, can activate the body’s own natural T cells to seek out the cancer cells that have escaped recognition by CAR T cells. This may help improve efforts to treat solid tumors, which represent most human cancers.

“CAR T cells typically are like lone soldiers without backup. However, if given the right tools, they can kickstart the body’s own immune system and give them help against the cancer cells missed with CAR T cells alone,” said co-lead author Andy J. Minn, MD, PhD, a professor of Radiation Oncology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Mark Foundation Center for Immunotherapy, Immune Signaling, and Radiation at Penn.

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US-based Space Travel Company Space Perspective Raises US$ 7M

By Komal Pattanayak

Florida, US-based company Space Perspective, a space travel company that was established so that humans would explore space for the betterment of all, raised US$ 7 million in seed financing on 3rdDecember 2020.

The financing round was led by Prime Movers Lab and Base Ventures who is a leading Silicon Valley tech fund. Other participants in the round include world-renowned entrepreneur, author and business strategist Tony Robbins and venture capital firms Kirenaga Partners’ Central Florida Tech Fund, 1517 Fund, Schox, E2MC Ventures and SpaceFund Venture Capital. Anton Brevde of Prime Movers and Kirby Harris of Base Ventures will join the Space Perspective Board of Directors.

The funds raised will be used for the development and early flights of Spaceship Neptune, a space balloon capable of carrying passengers to the edge of space. The infusion of capital advances the human space flight company another step closer to fundamentally changing the way people have access to space for research and tourism.

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How blockchain can drive video games into the Web 3.0 future

NFTs, metaverses and ‘play-to-earn’ are upending gaming’s traditional revenue model. Shreyansh Singh of Polygon explains blockchain gaming’s business potential.

In recent years, various forms of in-game purchases and microtransactions have become the norm for many games. Free-to-play games that generate income from these revenue sources have also grown in popularity, but many gamers remain unconvinced. Now, thanks to developments in blockchain and novel software development kits (SDKs), developers can bring NFT-powered items and transactions into their games — even existing ones — for the first time. This stands to bring in a new era of gaming that benefits both developers and players alike.  

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Hobot Technology unveils new window-cleaning robot

BY DAVID EDWARDS 

Hobot Technology has officially launched its new window-cleaning robot, the Hobot-2S. The US launch date is scheduled for October 1, 2021.

Hobot says its window cleaning robots “have been recognized as the world’s standard in robotic technology”, adding that it’s the “most trusted brand of US consumers” due to quality, reliability, and customer support. 

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NASA Is Looking for the Next-Gen Lunar Vehicle, Won’t Be Your Grandpa’s Moon Buggy

by Florina Spînu

NASA is asking American companies for ideas and solutions to transport Artemis astronauts around the lunar South Pole later this decade. And it says that its next lunar vehicle will not be your grandpa’s old Moon Buggy, but a modern space vehicle ready to conquer our natural satellite. 6 photos

As part of Artemis, NASA will put the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface and establish a long-term presence on the Moon. Once they arrive, the astronauts will need a lunar terrain vehicle (LTV) to navigate the rugged surface. 

The first Moon Buggy was introduced on the Apollo 15 mission. With the LRV, astronauts were able to explore 17.25 miles (27.76 km) of various geological features, improving the scientific return of each mission. They were also capable of gathering more than ten times the amount of samples that they would’ve collected on foot.

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Nanoparticle-based disinfectant could be a powerful weapon against pathogenic viruses

Reviewed by Emily Henderson

University of Central Florida researchers have developed a nanoparticle-based disinfectant that can continuously kill viruses on a surface for up to seven days – a discovery that could be a powerful weapon against COVID-19 and other emerging pathogenic viruses.

The findings, by a multidisciplinary team of the university’s virus and engineering experts and the leader of an Orlando technology firm, were published this week in ACS Nano, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

Christina Drake, a UCF alumna and founder of Kismet Technologies, was inspired to develop the disinfectant after making a trip to the grocery store in the early days of the pandemic. There she saw a worker spraying disinfectant on a refrigerator handle, then wiping off the spray immediately.

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ICON Completes 3D-Printed Houses In Austin

By Andreea Cutieru

Developer 3Strands and construction company ICON have completed new 3D-printed houses for sale in the United States, showcasing the possibilities of additive manufacturing for mass-market housing. Located in Austin, Texas, within a fast-growing neighbourhood, the East 17th St Residences development is designed by Logan Architecture and comprises four units with 3D-printed ground floors whose tectonics reflect the construction technology.

The project was first announced earlier this year and was constructed using ICON’s proprietary technology and an “advanced building material”, which the company claims to be stronger and more resilient than conventional ones. The technology is set to provide safer dwellings, better equipped for withstanding hazards and natural disasters. 

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This Hybrid Boat-plane Could Transform the Way We Travel Between Major Coastal Cities

The vehicle could take you from New York to Boston in as little as two hours.

BY JESSICA POITEVIEN

As lawmakers take steps toward improving the infrastructure of roads and railways across the U.S., Regent, a Boston-based startup, has set its eyes on another target: the sea.

According to CNN Travel, the company hopes to turn sea lanes along the east and west coasts into high-speed transportation corridors, cutting commutes in half between some of the biggest and busiest metropolises in the U.S. Still in its early stages, Regent already has the backing of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest investors who have pledged to help fund the endeavor.

Imagine skipping long lines at the airport or avoiding gridlock on the highway and still making the journey between New York and Boston in two hours. Or, consider decreasing the usually two-hour trip between Los Angeles and San Diego to just 50 minutes. Regent’s seagliders could make that possible.

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NASA is testing electric air taxis with Joby Aviation

The first eVTOL company to join the space agency’s national campaign to validate new technology

By Andrew J. Hawkins

NASA kicked off test flights of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft — colloquially referred to as “flying cars” — with Joby Aviation, the Northern California company that recently went public. The test flights are part of a national campaign by NASA to observe these experimental aircraft in action and gather data. 

Joby, which was founded in 2009, is the first eVTOL company to participate in NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign. The test flights commenced Monday, August 30th, at the company’s airfield in Big Sur, California, and will run through September 10th, the agency said. 

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