Combining biological components, such as cells and tissues, with soft robotics can enable the fabrication of biological machines with the ability to sense, process signals, and produce force. An intuitive demonstration of a biological machine is one that can produce motion in response to controllable external signaling. Whereas cardiac cell-driven biological actuators have been demonstrated, the requirements of these machines to respond to stimuli and exhibit controlled movement merit the use of skeletal muscle, the primary generator of actuation in animals, as a contractile power source. Here, we report the development of 3D printed hydrogel “bio-bots” with an asymmetric physical design and powered by the actuation of an engineered mammalian skeletal muscle strip to result in net locomotion of the bio-bot. Geometric design and material properties of the hydrogel bio-bots were optimized using stereolithographic 3D printing, and the effect of collagen I and fibrin extracellular matrix proteins and insulin-like growth factor 1 on the force production of engineered skeletal muscle was characterized. Electrical stimulation triggered contraction of cells in the muscle strip and net locomotion of the bio-bot with a maximum velocity of ∼156 μm s−1, which is over 1.5 body lengths per min. Modeling and simulation were used to understand both the effect of different design parameters on the bio-bot and the mechanism of motion. This demonstration advances the goal of realizing forward-engineered integrated cellular machines and systems, which can have a myriad array of applications in drug screening, programmable tissue engineering, drug delivery, and biomimetic machine design.
Biological robots might even surpass their mechanical counterparts mainly due to replicating abilities and principles taken from the nature. In any case it opens a huge new possibilities to augment and support human body.
I wish I would have Prof. Frenkel as my math teacher when I were in the college. His passionate explanation why we fail to motivate and teach people math is quite honest. The psychology behind this is real and I would probably add that math teaching should focus more on underlying concepts and not a computing drill. It is 2014 after all and we do have the computers...
Deep learning, machine learning and neural networks sound like the features of a pulp science fiction, but they're real and the technology is now available
Miro Svetlik's insight:
Deep learning or 'Intelligence as a service' will be the hallmarks of next 50 years in computing. It is really refreshing to see companies like this opening their api's to common mortals. I hope there will be a mass adoption in web and mobile apps soon.
Science has yet to uncover many mysteries of the mind. But there are more reasons than ever why God isn't necessary
Physics is the mother science. As such, it holds the greatest power for discovering the true nature of the universe and life within it. Physicists these days seem preoccupied with astronomical issues, such as the origin and ultimate fate of the universe. But some physicists venture into the realm of biology, claiming that their unique experimental and mathematical skills give them special insight into matters of life and death.
I just hate it when physicists write about biology. They sometimes say uninformed and silly things. But I hate it just as much when I write about physics, for I too am liable to say uninformed and silly things—as I may well do here.
To digress briefly, I am reminded of the communication gap between people of science and everybody else, as so powerfully discussed by C. P. Snow in his classic book “Two Cultures.” These days, within science there are also two cultures: physical science and biological science, and they don’t always speak the same language. The language of physics, for example, relies heavily on mathematics, which is rarely mastered by biologists.
Many people have argued about these matters for quite long time, The human understanding is ultimately kept back by two lenses we use to discover our universe. One is a complexity and the other is depth. We can use them separately but to convey a proper meaning of the universe we will need both. Go figure...
BlackLight Power, Inc. today announces that it achieved sustained electricity production from a primary new energy source by using photovoltaic technology to transform brilliant plasma, with power comprising millions of watts of light, directly into electricity.
By applying a very high current through its water-based solid fuel in a process called Solid Fuel-Catalyst-Induced-Hydrino-Transition (SF-CIHT) technology, water ignites into brilliant plasma, a bright flash of extraordinary optical power that has a power density of over a million times that of any prior controllable reaction.
Remarkably, the light emitted from the plasma is nearly a perfect spectral equivalent of the Sun, but at 50,000 times the intensity.
BlackLight Power has now successfully converted the brilliant plasma directly into electricity using photovoltaic cells (solar cells) which have been increasingly perfected to convert the Sun spectrum into electricity for more than five decades costing an estimated $1 trillion.
Humanity should finally realize that this kind of new energy source can save the planet and lower the impact of climate change. I hope that for once we will use our mind instead of corporate greed to change our future.
Santa Fe, New Mexico (PRWEB) February 12, 2014 -- M. Alexander Nugent Consulting of Santa Fe, New Mexico, a private R&D company announces the publication of Alex Nugent and Timothy Molter's PLOS ONE paper "AHaH Computing - FromMetastable Switches to Attractors to Machine Learning". The paper describes a new form of computing based on the attractor dynamics of dissipative systems and details a path from memristor-based circuits to foundational machine learning functions.
Miro Svetlik's insight:
I have been pondering this idea of self organizing fractal structures of things for quite some time in my head. Well these guys have my respect they just perfectly formulated what I have been thinkin of. As all nature rules, simple and seemingly obvious when you know it. The impact on the neural computing will be huge.
I had a chance to visit Synetiq in Budapest, a rising startup that aims at revolutionizing marketing research by crowdsourced neuromarketing. I liked the approach: Synetiq is building the world’s first crowdsourced neuromarketing platform.
With the rise of wearable eeg scanners (ala this one and Muse) we will see increased amount of applications using neural waves in analytics. However it will require quite a processing to extract the meaningful information from these data. As we have already seen in other projects, crowdsourcing is certainly way to go when you are short on resources.
The most accurate simulation of the human brain to date has been carried out in a Japanese supercomputer, with a single second’s worth of activity from just one per cent of the complex organ taking one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers 40 minutes to calculate.
Researchers used the K computer in Japan, currently the fourth most powerful in the world, to simulate human brain activity. The computer has 705,024 processor cores and 1.4 million GB of RAM, but still took 40 minutes to crunch the data for just one second of brain activity.
The project, a joint enterprise between Japanese research group RIKEN, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University and Forschungszentrum Jülich, an interdisciplinary research center based in Germany, was the largest neuronal network simulation to date.
It used the open-source Neural Simulation Technology (NEST) tool to replicate a network consisting of 1.73 billion nerve cells connected by 10.4 trillion synapses.
While significant in size, the simulated network represented just one per cent of the neuronal network in the human brain. Rather than providing new insight into the organ the project’s main goal was to test the limits of simulation technology and the capabilities of the K computer.
It is somehow comforting that we start performing this kind of tests. At least it places current infrastructure in perspective with what we will be facing in biocomputing if we dont change hardware. It would be really interesting to perform the same test on the supercomputer with neuromorphic chips but for that we have to wait a while I guess.
Microchips modeled on the brain may excel at tasks that baffle today’s computers.
Miro Svetlik's insight:
Neuromorphic processors will hopefully allow the miniaturization process for robots and smart devices. I still think that bio-computing will be the winner in the end but hey this is quite a leap for cpu industry. We have too long focused only on the raw computing power and this might change it.
If we consider the impact of this sort of infections as serious I would say it is nothing yet. With the rise of Internet of things the impact of severe infection will be much greater and more deadly. We have to strive for the best possible security precautions for all connected devices because in a sense there is a big analogy to Asimov's three robotics laws.
Microsoft will soon offer a service aimed at making machine-learning technology more widely usable.
Miro Svetlik's insight:
Microsoft does not want to miss a machine learning/big data game either. I am curious how their solution will compare to other big market players. I assume it will machine learning for the mainstream business.
No billionaire left behind. After Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel and other Silicon Valley notables plunked down capital in a $40 million growth round for..
Miro Svetlik's insight:
It is refreshing to see more players on the AI market. Hopefully these guys will push it further than the CAPTCHA solver :) and give IBM and Google run for their money. Future success will be most likely determined by quality of AI used in the real world. Time will tell if this is to help the humanity to evolve or disappear entirely.
Jeff Stibel is either a genius when it comes to titles, or has one hell of an editor. The name of his recent book Breakpoint: Why the web will implode, search will be obsolete, and everything you need to know about technology is in your brain was about as intriguing as I had found a title, at least since The Joys of X. In many ways, the book delivers on the promise of its title, making an incredibly compelling argument for how we should be looking at the trend lines in technology, a book which is chalk full of surprising and original observations.
Beautifully written article about the constant evolution of our knowledge on scientific, politic and human level. Every new idea we pursue is taken less optimistically if it does not fall in our antropomorfic sight on reality. We shall become more open for thinking outside the box.
Due to the self organizing nature of the universe the behavior self improving iterative programs can be no other that to try to succeed. The cost of a success can be dear but how we can harness these problems when our own computing unit a brain cannot compete with the speed of iterations? These are quite serious questions facing AI science right now. I hope we will manage to come with some way to influence evolution of AI.
It is remarkable just how silent Microsoft has been on the matter. Almost everything we have heard so far about the rumored Cortana voice assistant has been from unofficial sources. And now famed Micr...
Miro Svetlik's insight:
I am really curious if this voice assistant will allow hand-off use of wp. It is also questionable in which extent Artificial Intelligence will be used to drive this manager. Microsoft claims to have already some AI in the cloud. Of course all of this will be available at first only in US.
To challenge the limited understanding of the then-young quantum theory, Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen constructed, in 1935, their EPR Gedankenexperiment, in which they introduced entangled states that exhibit strange correlations over macroscopic distances. By now we have learned that entangled states are an element of physical reality. They lie at the heart of quantum physics and can, in fact, be used as a powerful resource in emerging quantum technologies. Yet we find out in amazement that we have still not completely captured the full scope of the fascinating nature of entanglement. Three different international groups have now reported in Physical Review Letters experiments of distributing entanglement between two distant parties by sending a nonentangled carrier. These arrangements instead place the carrier in a “cheaper,” so-called separable state, which exhibit correlations that can be established remotely between separated parties.
Entanglement is typically characterized by anomalously strong correlations between presently noninteracting parties, typically called Alice and Bob, which have normally interacted in the past. A common setup uses a nonlinear crystal to create an entangled pair of orthogonally polarized photons that are then sent separately, one to Alice and the other to Bob. In the field of quantum information science, the remote establishment of entanglement is key for most applications because it introduces purely nonclassical correlations and the counterintuitive nature of quantum physics. It enables such remarkable tasks as quantum teleportation, efficient quantum communication, fundamental tests of quantum physics, and long-distance quantum cryptography.
Again a step closer to Quantum Cryptography. It is a time that we will see the commercial implementation of quantum encryption. It will also have quite an impact on Digital currencies which are based on current cryptography. We are living in brave new world.
With viruses serving as construction crews and DNA as the blueprint, biotechnology may hold the key to postlithography ICs
Biological self-assembly, as this field of research is called, has a compelling appeal. Living creatures produce the most complex molecular structures known to science. Crafted over eons by natural selection, these three-dimensional arrangements of atoms manifest a precision and fidelity, not to mention a minuteness, far beyond the capabilities of current technology. Under the direction of genes encoded in DNA, cells construct proteins that put together the fine structures necessary for life. And now that scientists can alter the genetic codes of microbes with increasing ease and accuracy, more and more research is showing that this same mechanism can be forced to construct and assemble materials critical not to nature necessarily, but to future generations of electronics.
Most scientists say the technology will first be used to construct sensors consisting of one or a few nanodevices connected to ordinary silicon circuitry. But that's not what drives the research. Their ultimate ambition is to upend current fabrication methods by genetically engineering microbes to build nanoscale circuits based on codes implanted in their DNA. No more cutting patterns into semiconductor wafers, an increasingly arduous process involving lasers, plasma, exotic gases, and high temperatures in expensive industrial environments. Instead, a room-temperature potion of biomolecules will execute, on cue, a genetically programmed chemical dance that ends in a functioning circuit with nanometer-scale dimensions.
In 2001, Belcher and UCSB's Evelyn Hu founded Semzyme (Cambridge, MA), a company that will exploit biological self-assembly to make electronic materials as well as more biotechnology-specific applications, such as long-term storage of DNA. The company is set to begin operations this year and is choosing a first product to bring to market.
Big, established companies are taking this research seriously, too. The Army's Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies has attracted sponsorship from Aerospace Corp., Applied Biosystems, Genencor, IBM, SAIC, and Becton Dickinson.
Genencor, in particular, took an early interest in bioengineering viruses, forming a $35 million partnership with silicon materials giant Dow Corning in 2001. In the short term, the two firms are merging peptides with silicon-based chemicals to make fabric treatment and cosmetic products. Sensors and other electronics elements are future targets.
DuPont, too, is tinkering with bioevolved peptides. According to Tim Gierke, the company has identified one short-term application: purifying carbon nanotubes. Recently, these hollow pipes just a few nanometers wide have been turned into experimental logic circuits and other devices. Depending on the nanotube's structure, it acts as either a semiconductor or a metal. Unfortunately, current methods generate tubes of both types along with a messy soup of soot, and there's no good way of sorting anything out.
So DuPont evolved peptides that selectively grab the nanotubes and ignore other forms of carbon. To separate the semiconductors from the metallics, the company turned to another important biomolecule--DNA. DuPont scientists discovered that when a particular form of DNA and carbon nanotubes bind, metallic and semiconducting tubes can, to a degree, be separated using a common laboratory trick.
I am watching this field of technology with lot of excitement. Biologically produced circuits will be next big step in our technology. Specially in the nano-size world it is probably most effective way to produce new technology to extend properties of living tissues. Eventually it will change the medicine as we know it.
(Phys.org) —Given all the weird things that can occur in quantum mechanics—from entanglement to superposition to teleportation—not much seems surprising in the quantum world. Nevertheless, a new finding that an object's physical properties can be disembodied from the object itself is not something we're used to seeing on an everyday basis. In a new paper, physicists have theoretically shown that this phenomenon, which they call a quantum Cheshire Cat, is an inherent feature of quantum mechanics and could prove useful for performing precise quantum measurements by removing unwanted properties.
The physicists, Yakir Aharonov at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Chapman University in Orange, California, US, and his coauthors have published a paper on quantum Cheshire Cats in a recent issue of the New Journal of Physics.
The physicists begin their paper with an excerpt from Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice in Wonderland:
'All right', said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.
'Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin', thought Alice, 'but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!'
Just as the grin is a property of a cat, polarization is a property of a photon. In their paper, the physicists explain how, "in the curious way of quantum mechanics, photon polarization may exist where there is no photon at all."