PININFARINA DESIGNS SLEEK SEMI PACKED WITH LATEST AUTONOMOUS TECH

A quick-swap system can change the battery in six minutes. 

By: Anthony Alaniz

Pininfarina has branched out far beyond its car design roots. The Italian design house has crafted a tractor, a driving simulator, and even Motor1.com‘s logo. Its latest, which hails from Pininfarina Shanghai, the company’s Chinese studio, looks like it could haul a fleet of Pininfarina creations. It’s called the DeepWay Xingtu, and it’s a sleek new semi-truck packed with the latest self-driving technologies and a stunningly futuristic cabin.

Fully autonomous vehicles that can go everywhere are still a dream and will remain one for several years. However, the road to that future will see the technology used in limited fashions, like in the trucking industry. The DeepWay Xingtu demonstrates what’s necessary to achieve it, designing the self-driving semi with 11 onboard cameras, an infrared detector, five millimeter-wave radars, and a LIDAR sensor. According to the company, the semi can achieve ultra-long-range detection of more than 1 kilometer.

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Aigen’s swarm of agtech robots want to make agriculture carbon negative

By Haje Jan Kamps

Even though the only thing the robot can do right now is pull weeds, Aigen is adamant it isn’t building a weed-whacking robot. It claims to be on a mission to terraform the earth, and says it has a path toward making agriculture carbon negative. It must have made a compelling argument, because it just announced a $4 million seed round led by NEA, with participation from AgFunder, Global Founders Capital and ReGen Ventures.

The company is building solar-powered, autonomous robots that can zoom around in fields, using computer vision to tell friend from foe and plant from weed. In its first incarnation, the robot — in a fine “hot dog / not hot dog” impersonation — simply bumbles about, covering up to three acres of farmland per day.

“My relatives are farmers in Minnesota, and I’ve been talking with them for quite some time. They’re really experiencing some trouble with traditional agriculture approaches. Even the diehard people that love chemicals, that love tilling the earth and other practices that have been releasing carbon in the atmosphere for thousands of years are starting to realize, hey, maybe we should be open to other ways to do this,” reflects Richard Wurden, CEO at Aigen. He is particularly passionate about throwing agriculture’s carbon output in reverse. “Right now, agriculture is about 16% of carbon emissions. In the future, it has the potential to go negative, by reducing diesel emissions, soil compaction, chemical usage and reducing tilling.”

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Meta Plans to Make Robotic Eyeball That Can Track Human Eye Movements for the Metaverse

META’S NEW DEVICE FOR THE METAVERSE

By Thea Felicity

Meta is going above and beyond with its ambitious immersive metaverse plans with a new mechanical eyeball that can track human eye movements that will be sent to AR/VR hardware for testing.

Lately, meta has been heavily investing in robotics and showcasing how far ahead they are when it comes to scheming immersive metaverse experiences. Last year, Meta demonstrated a haptic glove prototype meant to let users feel virtual objects in the metaverse.

Just recently, Facebook showed off a thin synthetic skin called ReSkin, which could be used to generate human-like sensations for robotic limbs.The Gorgeous Danube Delta in 4k – from Tulcea Romania

Using the synthetic skin, robot parts can handle items as thin as 1mm in width without the worry of damaging them. It can also detect force as small as 0.1 Newton on objects as thin as 1mm. 

Now, new patents from Facebook describe a human-like eyeball device coated in a skin-like layer, called “Two-Axis Mechanical Rotatable Eyeball.” 

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Robot cutter set to revolutionise paving jobs for Eurovia

A robotic paving slab cutting process developed by Eurovia UK is nearly ready to be used on site.

By Grant Prior

The Distributed Automated Cutting System (DACS) project is being led by the contractor in partnership with Loop Technology and The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

The current practice of cutting paving in town centers and other public places to fit within set boundaries or around street furniture is normally performed manually on site and is noisy, messy and disruptive.

The DACS process will automate the manufacture of bespoke paving units which are tailor-made to fit unique ground conditions.

The cutting robot can be housed in a factory or a compact container which can travel between sites.

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Researchers develop bone growth inspired ‘microrobots’ that can create their own bone

Inspired by the growth of bones in the skeleton, researchers at the universities of Linkoping in Sweden and Okayama in Japan have developed a combination of materials that can morph into various shapes before hardening.

Inspired by the growth of bones in the skeleton, researchers at the universities of Linkoping in Sweden and Okayama in Japan have developed a combination of materials that can morph into various shapes before hardening. The material is initially soft but later hardens through a bone development process that uses the same materials found in the skeleton.

When we are born, we have gaps in our skulls that are covered by pieces of soft connective tissue called fontanelles. It is thanks to fontanelles that our skulls can be deformed during birth and pass successfully through the birth canal. Post-birth, the fontanelle tissue gradually changes to hard bone. Now, researchers have combined materials that together resemble this natural process. “We want to use this for applications where materials need to have different properties at different points in time. Firstly, the material is soft and flexible, and it is then locked into place when it hardens. This material could be used in, for example, complicated bone fractures. It could also be used in microrobots – these soft microrobots could be injected into the body through a thin syringe, and then they would unfold and develop their own rigid bones”, says Edwin Jager, associate professor at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM) at Linkoping University.

The idea was hatched during a research visit in Japan when materials scientist Edwin Jager met Hiroshi Kamioka and Emilio Hara, who conduct research into bones. The Japanese researchers had discovered a kind of biomolecule that could stimulate bone growth under a short period of time. Would it be possible to combine this biomolecule with Jager’s materials research, to develop new materials with variable stiffness? In the study that followed, published in Advanced Materials, the researchers constructed a kind of simple “microrobot”, one which can assume different shapes and change stiffness. The researchers began with a gel material called alginate. On one side of the gel, a polymer material is grown. This material is electroactive, and it changes its volume when a low voltage is applied, causing the microrobot to bend in a specified direction.

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Scientists Testing Hand-Held Bioprinting Technology That Can Create Bandages From Astronauts’ Own Skin

This is what Bioprint FirstAid looks like

Recently, a resupply mission by SpaceX to the ISS carried with it the handheld device to test it in microgravity.

  • Bioprint FirstAid is hand-held device
  • It uses astronauts’ own cells, infused inside a bio-ink
  • Missions in extreme habitats on Earth and in space may use this device

Extra-terrestrial living comes with a number of complications, but astronauts tackle those all the time aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in their endeavour to solve the many mysteries of the Universe. And scientists back home keep trying to find ways to make living on the ISS easier. One of the biggest problems astronauts face is the availability of healthcare tools and infrastructure. For instance, we have access to bandages on Earth for any minor injuries. On space stations, if astronauts get any flesh wound, there is little their colleagues could do. That is about to change.

Scientists are testing a technology that bioprint bandages using astronauts’ own cells. Recently, SpaceX launched its 24th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and it carried with it a handheld device called Bioprint FirstAid. The device holds cells from astronauts, infused inside a bio-ink. It will help put on a bandage on the injury site in near real-time. The bio-ink then mixes with two gels to create a covering similar to plaster.

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Kawasaki demonstrates unmanned cargo transport system which combines an aircraft and a mobile wheeled robot

 BY MAI TAO 

Kawasaki Heavy Industries says it has successfully completed proof-of-concept (PoC) testing for an unmanned cargo transport system. Watch video below.

The system combines Kawasaki’s K-Racer-X1 prototype unmanned vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft and what is commonly described in the industry as an autonomous mobile robot, and which the company describes as a “delivery robot”.

Kawasaki says the PoC testing was conducted with the aim of helping to solve societal issues such as labor shortages in the logistics industry. 

In its Group Vision 2030, which describes the company’s future vision for 2030, Kawasaki specified three areas where it will focus its efforts:

  • A Safe and Secure Remotely-Connected Society
  • Near-Future Mobility
  • Energy and Environmental Solutions
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THIS DEVICE TURNS AIR INTO PURE DRINKING WATER, PROVIDING 10 LITERS OF FRESH MINERAL WATER EACH DAY

BY NEHA MISTRY  

What’s funny about the idea of progress is that it’s much more layered than we think. Sure, 30 years from now, we will have sent humans to Mars… but 30 years from now most cities will even be dealing with extreme climate change, polluted air, and scarcity of resources like running water. Sounds odd when you look at the whole picture, right? Well, we’re living in a world that’s on a path to change, and it may be prudent to stop taking things like drinking water for granted.

Meet Kara Pure, a water dispenser that basically turns air into drinking water. Designed by Cody Soodeen, Kara Pure wasn’t created in a void — Soodeen grew up in a town where the drinking water was contaminated by a strain of bacteria that had health implications for the people who consumed it. Unfit drinking water isn’t particularly rare nowadays, with groundwater tables either being infected/polluted, or being entirely depleted due to overconsumption and a lack of accounting for climate change. While Kara Pure is clearly built keeping a pretty inevitable future in mind, it’s important that Soodeen and other people like him perfect the technology now, rather than later.

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1,000-cycle lithium-sulfur battery could quintuple electric vehicle ranges

A diagram of the battery shows how lithium ions can return to the lithium electrode while the lithium polysulfides can’t get through the membrane separating the electrodes. In addition, spiky dendrites growing from the lithium electrode can’t short the battery by piercing the membrane and reaching the sulfur electrode.

by  University of Michigan

A new biologically inspired battery membrane has enabled a battery with five times the capacity of the industry-standard lithium ion design to run for the thousand-plus cycles needed to power an electric car.

A network of aramid nanofibers, recycled from Kevlar, can enable lithium-sulfur batteries to overcome their Achilles heel of cycle life—the number of times it can be charged and discharged—a University of Michigan team has shown.

“There are a number of reports claiming several hundred cycles for lithium-sulfur batteries, but it is achieved at the expense of other parameters—capacity, charging rate, resilience and safety. The challenge nowadays is to make a battery that increases the cycling rate from the former 10 cycles to hundreds of cycles and satisfies multiple other requirements including cost,” said Nicholas Kotov, the Irving Langmuir Distinguished University Professor of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, who led the research.

“Biomimetic engineering of these batteries integrated two scales—molecular and nanoscale. For the first time, we integrated ionic selectivity of cell membranes and toughness of cartilage. Our integrated system approach enabled us to address the overarching challenges of lithium-sulfur batteries.”

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Arizona-based startup has literally reinvented the wheel

Air suspension wheels for mining trucks and wheel loader.

By Nick Thomas

Global Air Cylinder Wheels (GACW), an Arizona-based startup, has literally reinvented the wheel. They developed a new type of wheel that ditches the need for pollutive rubber tires.

Many companies have tried to create new tire solutions, such as Tesla possibly moving toward airless tires on its Model 3, but none have succeeded so far.

The so-called Air Suspension Wheel (ASW) is the brainchild of serial inventor and structural dynamic engineer Dr. Zoltan Kemeny. The patented ASW is a mechanical wheel constructed mostly of steel with in-wheel pneumatic suspension through cylinders. It is both environmentally friendly as well as cost-efficient. The ASW is engineered to have the same lifespan as the vehicle it is mounted on. After that, unlike rubber tires, it can be reconditioned or can be completely recycled.

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Why humans might need artificial gravity for future space travel

Astronauts are set to travel to Mars in the not-so-distant future. Some missions will result in people living in an extended period of microgravity.

The human body isn’t designed to handle this, so scientists are developing the best ways to mimic gravity on Earth on a spaceship.

So how will they do it?

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