Scientists have created the world's first living, self-healing robots using stem cells from frogs. Named xenobots after the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) from which they take their stem cells, the machines are less than a millimeter (0.04 inches) wide -- small enough to travel inside human bodies. They can walk and swim, survive for weeks without food, and work together in groups. These are "entirely new life-forms," said the University of Vermont, which conducted the research with Tufts University's Allen Discovery Center. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability to develop into different cell types.
Artificial intelligence promises to enable machines or bots to take on the heavy-duty work of many parts of enterprises. Now, there are increasingly more initiatives, as well as vendor products, that will autonomously take on the heavy-duty work of information technology departments as well. The automation of IT functions has been evolving for decades, of course -- from job-scheduling systems in the 1990s to self-healing systems introduced more than a decade ago. These days, IT automation goes by many names -- such as autonomous systems, self-driving systems or bots. Lately, more of it is falling under the moniker of AIOps, joining the parade of xOps methodologies, promising to apply AI and machine learning to mechanize, standardize and automate the delivery of IT services.
Researchers at US university Carnegie Mellon have created a new electrically conductive material that can repair itself, presenting new opportunities for soft robotics and wearable technology. Combining properties of metal and plastic, the supple, stretchy material can be used to make circuits that stay operational even after sustaining physical damage. The discovery opens up the possibility that robots may one day have sensor-laden skin that can repair itself like a human's, or that we could sport ultra-thin wearable devices on our bodies for long periods of time without them degrading. "This could have important applications in areas like wearable computing, where you want circuits you can incorporate into textiles or place on your skin, and just like natural skin if you get bruised or cut, your skin is able to repair itself," says Carmel Majidi, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, in a video produced by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). "Our material also has this property."
Russian author Boris Zhitkov wrote the 1931 short story Microhands, in which the narrator creates miniature hands to carry out intricate surgeries. And while that was nearly 100 years ago, the tale illustrates the real fundamentals of the nanoscience researchers are working on today. Nanoscience is the study of molecules that are one billionth of a metre in size. Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has made millions of mouths water over the years, thanks to the author's vivid descriptions of quirky tastes and inventive sweets. In reality, there aren't chewing gums that taste like a three-course dinner just yet, but food manufacturers have been working on ways to change tastes and textures using molecular tech To put this into perspective, a human hair is between 50,000 and 100,000 nanometres thick.
Along with an entire generation of comic book fans, Chao Wang grew up following the exploits of Wolverine, a.k.a Now an assistant professor of chemistry at University of Califormia, Riverside, Wang recently paid tribute to his childhood hero, in a chemical engineering sort of way. Wang and a group of collaborators have developed a transparent and stretchable material that could give future robots the ability to heal rapidly, similar to Wolverine's handy superpower. According to the research team, the space-age material could power artificial muscles that mend themselves after injury or normal wear-and-tear. Researchers say that the artificial skin represents the first time scientists have created an ionic conductor that's stretchable, transparent and able to heal itself.