Sure, 3D printing is fun and cute. And products like the Makerbot and Form 1 will most certainly disrupt manufacturing, even if it's only on a small scale. But the possibilities of 3D printing stretch far beyond DIY at-home projects.
The study of extrasolar planets has recently entered its heyday with the launch of NASA's Kepler mission. Kepler has found that planetary systems are very common in our galaxy. Along the way, we've been surprised by the diversity of planetary systems, many of which bear little resemblance to our own solar system. Josh Carter presents these most alien of alien worlds, including planets orbiting two suns and a planetary system with two very different planets very close to one another.
A postdoctoral student has developed a technique for implanting thought-controlled robotic arms and their electrodes directly to the bones and nerves of amputees, a move which he is calling "the future of artificial limbs." The first volunteers...
They're not in every home just yet, but if you're lucky enough to have a 3D printer at your disposal, a French sculptor by the name of Gael Langevin will let you create more than just plastic trinkets.
Japanese company Mitsubishi has unveiled a radiation-resistant robot aimed at cleaning up the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. Other firms, among them Hitachi and Toshiba, have also rolled out their own remote-controlled bots recently.
The plant was damaged during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Robots are already working inside the plant, but none has been specifically designed for this kind of work.
One UK expert said that working inside a nuclear reactor was "a challenge for robotics". Dubbed MEISTeR (Maintenance Equipment Integrated System of Telecontrol Robot), Mitsubishi's "tankbot" is about 1.3m (4ft) tall and has two arms, each able to hold loads of up to 15kg (33lb). The robot is equipped with various tools and has electronics hardened to withstand radiation. But Jeremy Pitt, deputy head of the Intelligent Systems and Networks Group at Imperial College London, said it was still a challenge for a remotely controlled machine to successfully replace humans in such harsh conditions.