NASA Space Robotics Dive into Deep-Sea Work

What’s the difference between deep space and the deep sea? For a robot, the answer is: not much. Both environments are harsh and demanding, and, more importantly, both are far removed from the machine’s operator.

By Loura Hall

Nauticus Robotics’ Aquanaut robot can swim to a destination and carry out tasks with minimal supervision, saving money for offshore operations from oil wells and wind turbines to fish farms and more. Credits: Nauticus Robotics Inc.

What’s the difference between deep space and the deep sea? For a robot, the answer is: not much. Both environments are harsh and demanding, and, more importantly, both are far removed from the machine’s operator.

That’s why a team of roboticists from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston decided to apply their expertise to designing a shape-changing submersible robot that will cut costs for maritime industries.

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Ottonomy.IO raises $3.3 million to expand network of autonomous robots for deliveries

By Jagmeet Singh

Ottonomy.IO, a startup working on solving delivery problems using autonomous robots, has raised $3.3 million in a seed funding round as it looks to expand its market and deploy robots to existing customers.

Led by Bengaluru-based Pi Ventures, the latest funding round included participation from Connetic Ventures and Branded Hospitality Ventures. Sangeet Kumar, founder and chief executive of Uttar Pradesh-based Addverb Technologies, also joined the round.

Founded in late 2020 by Ritukar Vijay along with Pradyot Korupolu, Ashish Gupta and Hardik Sharma, New York-headquartered Ottonomy.IO develops robots that feature sensors, including 3D lidar sensors and cameras. The company, which employs about 25 people in the U.S. and India, also writes software and AI algorithms to power the sensors.

“One of the most important problems which we are trying to solve with these autonomous delivery robots is around labor shortages,” said Vijay, who serves as the chief executive of Ottonomy.IO, in an interaction with TechCrunch. He added that due to the labor shortages, there is a substantial increase in the hourly wages of laborers — to $18 to $45 per hour from $9 to $12 — in the U.S.

“So, that’s almost a 100% hike in hourly wages, making it very difficult for enterprise customers to provide the same services to the customers they were given earlier. And what happens at the end is that customers start paying more for deliveries.”

Continue reading… “Ottonomy.IO raises $3.3 million to expand network of autonomous robots for deliveries”

Robots from DNA? Researchers Developed a New Machine for Membrane Proteins

By Isaiah Richard

Researchers achieved a new development in their studies in this new publication focusing on nano-sized robots that came from a DNA’s design, now concentrate on doing wonders for biological advancements. The innovation will help bodily functions to improve and give the world more information regarding the diseases that occur in the body. 

According to SciTechDaily, researchers from Inserm, CNRS, and the University of Montpellier focused on developing new nanobots that came from a DNA for studying bodily functions and processes. The research took place at the Structural Biology Center in Montpellier, and its paper is now published in Nature Communication. 

The research entitled “A Modular Spring-Loaded Actuator for Mechanical Activation of Membrane Proteins” focus on conducting biological processes with these mechanical objects inside the body.

It may sound like it came from a science fiction show or content, but it is already a reality from the researchers that devised a way patterned from DNA. 

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Google’s DeepMind AI Predicts 3D Structure of Nearly Every Protein Known to Science

This ribbon diagram shows the 3D protein structure of an antibody. Complex? It’s pretty simple for an AI.

By Monisha Ravisetti

At last, the decades-old protein folding problem may finally be put to rest.

It wasn’t until 1957 when scientists earned special access to the molecular third dimension. 

After 22 years of grueling experimentation, John Kendrew of Cambridge University finally uncovered the 3D structure of a protein. It was a twisted blueprint of myoglobin, the stringy chain of 154 amino acids that helps infuse our muscles with oxygen. As revolutionary as this discovery was, Kendrew didn’t quite open up the protein architecture floodgates. During the next decade, fewer than a dozen more would be identified. 

Fast-forward to today, 65 years since that Nobel Prize-winning breakthrough. 

On Thursday, Google’s sister company, DeepMind, announced it has successfully used artificial intelligence to predict the 3D structures of nearly every catalogued protein known to science. That’s over 200 million proteins found in plants, bacteria, animals, humans — almost anything you can imagine.

“Essentially, you can think of it as covering the entire protein universe,” Demis Hassabis, founder and CEO of DeepMind, told reporters this week.

It’s thanks to AlphaFold, DeepMind’s groundbreaking AI system, which has an open-source database so scientists worldwide can involve it in their research at will, and for free. Since AlphaFold’s official launch in July of last year — when it had only pinpointed some 350,000 3D proteins — the program has made a noticeable dent in the landscape of research. 

Continue reading… “Google’s DeepMind AI Predicts 3D Structure of Nearly Every Protein Known to Science”

Tesla big battery begins providing inertia grid services at scale in world first in Australia

The Hornsdale Power Reserve is located approximately 16 km north of Jamestown in South Australia.


South Australia’s 150 MW / 193.5 Hornsdale Power Reserve, more commonly known as the Tesla Big Battery, will now provide inertia services to Australia’s National Electricity Market after securing approval from the Australian Energy Market Operator. Neoen says it is the first big battery in the world to deliver the service at such a scale.

After two years of extensive trials, Neoen’s Hornsdale Power Reserve now has the capacity to provide an estimated 2,000 megawatt seconds (MWs) of equivalent inertia to South Australia’s grid through Tesla’s Virtual Machine Mode technology.

Known as virtual synchronous machines or grid forming inverters, this technology gives batteries the capacity to help stabilize the grid by providing inertia. Along with frequency control services, inertia is necessary for operating a stable grid and is especially important after major disturbances. Until now, inertia services have only been provided by gas or coal-fired generators and their rapid retirement is causing inertia shortfalls or grid instability – especially in regions like South Australia, where renewable penetration has reached 64% over the last 12 months.

The Hornsdale Power Reserve will now be capable of providing around 15% of the state’s predicted inertia shortfall – a globally significant milestone. The use of the technology at Hornsdale has been approved by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which has been working closely with Neoen, Tesla and ElectraNet, South Australia’s network operator, to trial the Virtual Machine Mode at Hornsdale following its expansion in 2020. 

The companies now completed all the necessary studies, testing and analysis to deploy the technology at scale, with that capacity available from today. “We are proving that our assets can replace fossil fuels not only in the production and storage of electricity, but also through providing all the essential services that a power system needs to function,” Neoen’s Chairman and CEO Xavier Barbaro said. “We are keen to build on this progress, continuing to innovate and to accelerate the transition to renewables in Australia and around the world.”

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The Omnid Mocobots: New mobile robots for safe and effective collaboration

Three Omnid mocobots working collaboratively with a human on a pipe assembly task. The 16kg pipes feel weightless to the human and can be easily and intuitively manipulated due to the assistance of the Omnids.

By Ingrid Fadelli

Teams of mobile robots could be highly effective in helping humans to complete straining manual tasks, such as manufacturing processes or the transportation of heavy objects. In recent years, some of these robots have already been tested and introduced in real-world settings, attaining very promising results.

Researchers at Northwestern University’s Center for Robotics and Biosystems have recently developed new collaborative mobile robots, dubbed Omnid Mocobots. These robots, introduced in a paper pre-published on arXiv, are designed to cooperate with each other and with humans to safely pick up, handle, and transport delicate and flexible payloads.

“The Center for Robotics and Biosystems has a long history building robots that collaborate physically with humans,” Matthew Elwin, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told TechXplore. “In fact, the term ‘cobots’ was coined here. The inspiration for the current work was manufacturing, warehouse, and construction tasks involving manipulating large, articulated, or flexible objects, where it is helpful to have several robots supporting the object.”

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Ford Tests Prototype Robot EV Charging Station for Disabled Drivers

The charger is operated using a smartphone and aims to help anyone with reduced mobility.

By Matthew Humphries

For anyone with reduced mobility, filling up at a gas station can prove challenging, but Ford is aiming to solve that problem for electric vehicles before they replace the gas guzzlers most of us still rely on for transport.

Ford developed a prototype robot charging station(Opens in a new window) that can be controlled while still sitting in your vehicle using a smartphone. Once activated, the robotic charging arm uses a small camera to identify and line-up with the charging port on a vehicle allowing a connection to be made (without damaging the paint work). Once charging is complete, the robot automatically pulls back the arm ready for the vehicle to drive away.

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Scientists are growing billions of stem cells on the ISS to help humans travel to other planets

Scientists are shooting stem cells into space, hoping to make discoveries that help people on Earth

Scientists have put stem cells on the International Space Station to explore whether they will grow better in zero gravity.

These cells would potentially be able to generate nearly any other kind of cell, possibly unlocking the potential to make treatments for diseases while off-planet.

The experiment is the latest research project that involves shooting stem cells into space. Some, like this one, aim to overcome the terrestrial difficulty of mass producing the cells. Others explore how space travel impacts the cells in the body. And some help better understand diseases such as cancer.

“By pushing the boundaries like this, it’s knowledge and it’s science and it’s learning,” said Clive Svendsen, executive director of Cedars-Sinai’s Regenerative Medicine Institute.

Six earlier projects from the US, China and Italy sent up various types of stem cells — including his team’s study of the effects of microgravity on cell-level heart function, said Dr Joseph Wu of Stanford University, who directs the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. Dr Wu helped coordinate a series of programs on space-based stem cell research last year.

Continue reading… “Scientists are growing billions of stem cells on the ISS to help humans travel to other planets”

[FUTURATI PODCAST] Ep. 97: Could bitcoin mining fix climate change? | Troy Cross

Listen on the Futurati Podcast website (or wherever you get podcasts!)

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It’s become commonplace to hear politicians and commentators bemoaning the energy expenditure of bitcoin mining, noting that it consumes more power than certain industries or countries and confidently proclaiming that the bitcoin network performs no useful work.

But recently, an emerging group of scholars has pushed back on this narrative, arguing that in fact bitcoin mining has certain special properties that make it ideal for subsidizing renewable energies. If this is true, it could become an important part of mitigating the effects of climate change.

Tonight we’re joined by one of the original scholars advancing this thesis. Troy Cross is a professor of philosophy at Reed University, where he focuses on questions of knowledge and reality. In addition, he is a fellow at the Bitcoin Policy Institute, where you can find his work on energy economics, bitcoin mining, and the environment.

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