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NASA's InSight Mars Lander's Days Are Numbered


On May 4, NASA's InSight lander made a huge discovery, recording the biggest quake ever detected on another world, a magnitude 5 temblor. But InSight's greatest accomplishment may also be its last act; just two weeks later, scientists on the InSight team revealed that the lander's solar panels are now blanketed with dust, which has gradually accumulated since its arrival on the planet. Those panels' diminishing power will likely spell the end of the mission. When the lander arrived on the Red Planet, the panels generated 5,000 watt-hours per sol (a Martian day), but now they're down to about a tenth of that, said Kathya Zamora Garcia, InSight deputy project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, at a virtual press conference on Tuesday. The scientists will keep running Insight's seismometer and robotic arm camera full-time for a few more weeks, and will run them for half-days every other sol after that, but they expect InSight's science operations to end this summer, possibly in July.

Telerobotic System Helps Surgeons Remotely Treat Strokes


A new telerobotic system developed by engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) enables surgeons to remotely treat patients suffering from a stroke or aneurysm. The system utilizes a joystick that the surgeons can use in a hospital to control a robotic arm at another location. This enables them to operate on patients during the critical time window needed to preserve brain function and save lives.

Joystick-operated robot could help surgeons treat stroke remotely


MIT engineers have developed a telerobotic system to help surgeons quickly and remotely treat patients experiencing a stroke or aneurysm. With a modified joystick, surgeons in one hospital may control a robotic arm at another location to safely operate on a patient during a critical window of time that could save the patient's life and preserve their brain function. The robotic system, whose movement is controlled through magnets, is designed to remotely assist in endovascular intervention -- a procedure performed in emergency situations to treat strokes caused by a blood clot. Such interventions normally require a surgeon to manually guide a thin wire to the clot, where it can physically clear the blockage or deliver drugs to break it up. One limitation of such procedures is accessibility: Neurovascular surgeons are often based at major medical institutions that are difficult to reach for patients in remote areas, particularly during the "golden hour" -- the critical period after a stroke's onset, during which treatment should be administered to minimize any damage to the brain.

The Morning After: MIT engineers' stroke-surgery robot


Don't worry, yes, there are even more Musk machinations, but first let's broach something a little different -- and possibly lifesaving. A team of MIT engineers is developing a telerobotic system for neurosurgeons. It unveiled a robotic arm that doctors can control remotely using a modified joystick to treat stroke patients. The arm has a magnet attached to its wrist, and surgeons can adjust its orientation to guide a magnetic wire through the patient's arteries and vessels to remove blood clots in the brain. Like in-person procedures, surgeons will have to rely on live imaging to get to the blood clot, but the machine means they don't have to be physically with the patient.

A Science of Buildings That Can Grow---and Melt Away WSJD - Technology

A look at how innovation and technology are transforming the way we live, work and play. A body of work that includes a pavilion spun by 6,500 silkworms (with the help of a robotic arm), a series of 3D-printed sculptures filled with liquid channels of the pigment melanin (which she envisions could be used in the façades of buildings to protect against ultraviolet rays), and a collection of artifacts constructed using materials derived from shrimp shells and insect exoskeletons. Since leaving academia, Ms. Oxman, 46 years old, has focused on Oxman, the New York-based architecture firm that she founded in 2020 with the aim of applying her design philosophy to real-world projects. A retrospective of her work is on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Wall Street Journal spoke to Ms. Oxman about the future of urban architecture and how she thinks design can be used as a tool to fight climate change. The idea behind material ecology is to enable total synergy between grown and built environments by deploying new digital technologies that allow us to augment bio-based materials for large-scale construction.

Exoskeletons with personalize-your-own settings


Leo Medrano, a PhD student in the Neurobionics Lab at the University of Michigan, tests out an ankle exoskeleton on a two-track treadmill. Researchers were able to give the exoskeleton user direct control to tune its behavior, allowing them to find the right torque and timing settings for themselves. To transform human mobility, exoskeletons need to interact seamlessly with their user, providing the right level of assistance at the right time to cooperate with our muscles as we move. To help achieve this, University of Michigan researchers gave users direct control to customize the behavior of an ankle exoskeleton. Not only was the process faster than the conventional approach, in which an expert would decide the settings, but it may have incorporated preferences an expert would have missed.



ABOVE VIDEO: NASA's Perseverance Mars rover is trying to cover more distance in a single month than any rover before it – and it's doing so using artificial intelligence. On the path ahead are sandpits, craters, and fields of sharp rocks that the rover will have to navigate around on its own. At the end of the 3-mile journey, which began March 14, 2022, Perseverance will reach an ancient river delta within Jezero Crater, where a lake existed billions of years ago. This delta is one of the best locations on Mars for the rover to look for signs of past microscopic life. Using a drill on the end of its robotic arm and a complex sample collection system in its belly, Perseverance is collecting rock cores for return to Earth – the first part of the Mars Sample Return campaign.

Novel wearable armband helps users of prosthetic hands to 'get a grip': Researchers design first-of-its-kind multichannel soft robotic armband that conveys artificial sensations of touch


A first-of-its-kind study using haptic/touch sensation feedback, electromyogram (EMG) control and an innovative wearable soft robotic armband could just be a game changer for users of prosthetic hands who have long awaited advances in dexterity. Findings from the study could catalyze a paradigm shift in the way current and future artificial hands are controlled by limb-absent people. Researchers from Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science in collaboration with FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Science investigated whether people could precisely control the grip forces applied to two different objects grasped simultaneously with a dexterous artificial hand. For the study, they also explored the role that visual feedback played in this complex multitasking model by systematically blocking visual and haptic feedback in the experimental design. In addition, they studied the potential for time saving in a simultaneous object transportation experiment compared to a one-at-a-time approach.

SpaceX successfully assembles a full 400ft Starship rocket using a trio of giant robot arms

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The massive 400ft Starship rocket has been assembled on a launch platform by SpaceX, ahead of an announcement on the future of the heavy lift launcher tonight. Founder Elon Musk announced his plan to reveal details about the future of the massive, and fully re-usable spacecraft, starting at 21:00 ET, from Boca Chica, the home of the SpaceX Starship test facility in Texas. It will be the first update on the vehicle in almost three years, and while details haven't been revealed over what Musk will say, it will likely include details of the first orbital test launch for the next generation rocket. Starship, which will return humans to the lunar surface and could one day ferry more than 100 people a time to Mars, is set to make its first orbital flight in March. The latest development in Boca Chica saw the firm stack a two-stage Starship rocket - with the upper stage being lifted on to the Super Heavy booster using a trio of robotic arms attached to the 480ft launch tower.

NASA's Perseverance rover tries out new tech which lets it spit out piece of Mars rock

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Perseverance rover has tried out a nifty new feature for the first time, which let it'spit out' a piece of Mars rock that had been clogging its sampling tube. The trick means that Perseverance can now continue taking samples of rock from the Red Planet to search for possible signs of ancient life. The SUV-sized vehicle has been on the Red Planet since February 2021, and is slowly trundling through the Jezero Crater taking rock samples for later retrieval. On December 29, while retrieving a sample from a rock, its sixth so far, NASA engineers found they couldn't get the rock to go into the storage area. This was due to a pebble-sized piece of debris obstructing the robotic arm, blocking the entrance to the tube docking area - nearly a month later, this has been solved. NASA used an untested'un-choking procedure', that involved pointing the drill containing a clogged test tube towards the ground and rotating it at high speed.