Microbots Inspired by Ants and Geckos


A group of scientists at Stanford University just developed microbots, which they named μ Tugs, that are capable of moving incredibly heavy objects. For instance, 6 of the tiny bots were able to move an entire car. In order to pack strength and function into such a small robot, researchers looked to nature for inspiration. For strength, they studied ants, and for grip, they studied geckos.

Ants have the ability to move things, such as food, that significantly outweigh the ant’s body weight. Mechanical engineers working on the project produced a body that was similar to an ants, which allowed the μ Tugs to not be crushed by heavy objects. Then, the engineers encountered another problem, which was how to give the bots enough traction to do their jobs. Ants release a sticky substance from their foot pads, allowing them to find traction on the slipperiest surfaces. While this works for ants, creating a sticky substance for the bots would be messy, expensive, and impractical.

After ruling out the secretion of sticky gel, the team switched their focus to another animal with great grip: the gecko. Geckos have foot pads covered in microscopic hairs, and the pads of their feet spread apart with each step. The spreading creates a suction effect, and a small electrical force keeps the gecko connected to the wall its climbing. Physicists recreated a gecko like foot on the bots, by making small hairs out of silicone and using grooved rubber to create the foot pad. The resulting feet allow the bots to get a good grip on a surface, while also being able to release the suction with the help of their spring like legs.

The μ Tugs have truly incredible strength. At just over an inch long, half a dozen can tow wheeled vehicles, or carry up to 298 lbs. These specific bots outperformed many others that are also being developed. Their creators hope that the bots can aid rescuers in times of disaster by searching rubble and removing it, possibly saving lives. They also have the ability to open doors and open or close safety valves, which is an extremely useful trait in rescue situations.

Man-Made Meteor Showers May Happen by 2020

Meteor Showers

With Tokyo, Japan set to host the 2020 Olympic Games, the race to outdo previous hosting cities has already begun. The opening ceremony is set to make history not just for its caliber of athletes, but also through a project called Sky Canvas. The project is sponsored by the start-up company Star-ALE.

By recreating the makeup of a shooting star, the Japanese research company is creating pellets that are designed to be released from an orbiting satellite. The man made meteor shower should burn slot online gacor while entering the earth’s atmosphere, about 40 miles above the site of the Olympic games. The company has constructed these pyrotechnics to burn slower and longer than the typical shooting star, and have used materials in the pellets that create a plethora of colors.

While this may have you thinking fireworks will become a thing of the past, the hefty price tag may prove otherwise. To create the desired effect, the satellite will release hundreds of pellets, each of which cost about $8,100 in US dollars. The satellite itself along with launch equipment will also add to the expenses. So, if you were planning on purchasing a meteor shower for your 4th of July party, you may want to stick to sparklers.

Though the company claims the display is safe, others in the astronomical community fear for their own equipment, hoping the fake shower will not collide with other satellites in orbit. If the project does prove to be safe, there is potential for academic growth. The company hopes that along with entertaining spectators, they will also walk away with a vast amount of research covering topics like environmental changes, further space exploration, and meteor composition.

Scientists Discover Way To Fight Drug-resistant Bacteria Using Light

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have found a new way to fight drug-resistant bacteria using light-activated nanoparticles.

Bacterial infections are usually treated easily with antibiotics, but some bacteria, known as “superbugs,” can adapt to survive the efforts of drugs like penicillin. According to the CDC, superbugs affect around 2 million people and kill around 23,000 people in the United States every year. The problem is that with each new form of antibiotic that is developed, bacteria quickly adapt to be able to survive whatever new attack is thrown at them.

Researches have now begun to utilize extremely small particles (22,000 times smaller than a human hair) to target and kill infected cells. Previous research has shown some success with using nanoparticles to fight infections, but relied on particles made from metals, which kill all cells rather than just those infected. This new approach uses semiconductor-like particles, which are only activated when exposed to light, making them able to target and kill individual cells. The light-activation property of these particles also allows scientists to tinker with their function and stay one step ahead of bacteria. In short, these nanoparticles are promising because they don’t kill healthy cells and they can adapt just as quickly as the bacteria they are fighting: two things which can’t be said of traditional antibiotics. And these nanoparticles are proving effective, killing 92 percent of drug-resistant bacteria in a lab-grown culture.

Antibiotics are not only baseline treatment for infections like Staphylococcus, E. Coli, and Salmonella, but are also used to treat HIV and cancer, which makes clear how consequential these findings could be.

Advice On Malpractice Suit

I’m looking for some advice. My husband recently injured himself at work. He drives a forklift. When he came in one morning, the seatbelt was broken, but he was told to drive it anyway. Then, of all things imaginable, someone drove another machine into his. He fell, broke his arm, and seriously bruised his pelvis.

We’ve talked to a lawyer about suing for his work injury, and the lawyer thinks we have a case. That’s great, because of his medical bills, but now we have another problem.

My husband’s doctor prescribed him some painkillers for his arm. We told him that my husband had addiction issues earlier in life, and he said he’d give a light dose to help avoid that and to be careful about taking the pills only when prescribed on the bottle.

We reluctantly agreed, and we took the pills with us. It hadn’t been three days, and already my husband was sneaking pills. He wasn’t being honest with me about it, but I kept a count and I kept a journal. I contacted his doctor, but the only advice he gave was to throw away the pills. When I asked for something else for the pain, he said he could give another prescription but that they all had some addictive qualities.

This, obviously, wasn’t much help. I confronted my husband about the pills, and he admitted it and apologized, but he said he still needed them, that he grew anxious without them, and that his arm hurt when it went more than two hours without taking some (the bottle says he should take two once every eight hours).

In the end, I took the bottle and flushed them down the toilet. My husband is having a tough time with all this. He’s been shivering on the couch for the last day, in a cold sweat. He says it’s worse than the last time he went through withdrawal years ago. He’s begged me to call the doctor and get more pills.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s an easy solution to any of this, but my question isn’t about my husband. It’s about lawsuits. Is there a case for medical malpractice because our doctor prescribed pills knowing my husband is a former addict? Our other lawyer doesn’t deal with medical issues, and the lawyer he recommended charges for consultations. Since my husband isn’t working right now, I don’t want to spend that money if the answer is no.

Does anybody have any idea if I should pursue this? I’ve looked at some lawyer sites, but I don’t see anything that is directly related. Perhaps improper treatment? Would that count? And how much would we be entitled to if we pursued this?

Please, if anyone has any advice let me know. I don’t know anything about the law, but I think this is a time-sensitive issue. And besides, I want to collect all the evidence I can if there’s a case to be made.