Shot to the Gut: "Robotic" Pill Sails Through Human Safety Study

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

An average person with type 1 diabetes and no insulin pump sticks a needle into their abdomen between 700 and 1,000 times per year. A person with the hormone disorder acromegaly travels to a doctor's office to receive a painful injection into the muscles of the butt once a month. Someone with multiple sclerosis may inject the disease-slowing interferon beta drug three times per week, varying the injection site among the arms, legs and back. Medical inventor Mir Imran, holder of more than 400 patents, spent the last seven years working on an alternate way to deliver large drug molecules like these, and his solution--an unusual "robotic" pill--was recently tested in humans. The RaniPill capsule works like a miniature Rube Goldberg device: Once swallowed, the capsule travels to the intestines where the shell dissolves to mix two chemicals to inflate a balloon to push out a needle to pierce the intestinal wall to deliver a drug into the bloodstream.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon test flight gets through the toughest bit without issue


SpaceX sent its Crew Dragon capsule skyward on Saturday for a crucial test of its ability to carry human passengers. Now, slightly more than 24 hours later, the next phase of the test has played out. The Crew Dragon capsule, designated Demo-1, was able to successfully dock with the International Space Station at roughly 3:00 a.m. Although there was no crew aboard this time, SpaceX's reusable capsule is designed to carry up to seven astronauts to and from Earth's orbit. SEE ALSO: SpaceX kicks off a'new era in spaceflight' with the Crew Dragon launch The company has been sending an earlier version of its capsule to the ISS for a number of years, but in those instances the space station's robotic arm has helped the smaller vehicle successfully dock.

SpaceX Crew Dragon docks safely at the International Space Station for the first time


SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule arrives at the International Space Station for the first time on March 3, 2019 after launching from Kennedy Space Center. A SpaceX capsule that could be astronauts' next ride to orbit from the United States safely reached the International Space Station early Sunday, completing a flawless daylong voyage from Kennedy Space Center on its first test flight. The Crew Dragon eased into a docking port at 5:51 a.m., becoming the first privately designed and operated spacecraft capable of flying to people to visit the outpost. The station had not hosted a U.S. crew ship for nearly eight years, since Atlantis on NASA's final space shuttle mission in July 2011. Since then, only Russia's Soyuz has flown astronauts up and down.

SpaceX's New Crew Capsule Successfully Docks at the International Space Station


SpaceX's new crew capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, acing its second milestone in just over a day. No one was aboard the Dragon capsule launched Saturday on its first test flight, only an instrumented dummy. But the three station astronauts had front-row seats as the sleek, white vessel neatly docked and became the first American-made, designed-for-crew spacecraft to pull up in eight years. TV cameras on Dragon as well as the space station provided stunning views of one another throughout the rendezvous. If the six-day demo goes well, SpaceX could launch two astronauts this summer under NASA's commercial crew program.

Dragon capsule heads for space station

BBC News

The demonstration flight of America's new astronaut capsule will see it attempt to dock with the International Space Station (ISS). The Dragon vehicle, launched by California's SpaceX company on Saturday, is designed to make the attachment autonomously. It is the latest in a series of tests the capsule must pass in order to get approval from Nasa to transport people. All this particular mission is carrying is a test dummy and 90kg of supplies. The docking should occur at about 11:00 GMT.

SpaceX successfully launches astronaut capsule without crew in landmark test mission

Los Angeles Times

SpaceX launched its Crew Dragon capsule for the first time late Friday in a test flight without humans aboard, a milestone that moves the Elon Musk-led company closer to ferrying NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. The capsule, some 400 pounds of cargo and a mannequin passenger named Ripley, lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 11:49 p.m. Pacific time from the same Florida pad where Apollo and space shuttle programs once began their missions. The Crew Dragon deployed from the rocket's second-stage about 11 minutes after lift-off, sending it on a trajectory to the space station where it is scheduled to dock early Sunday morning. The Falcon 9 rocket landed on a floating sea platform in the Atlantic Ocean about 10 minutes after liftoff. Friday's launch was the first test flight for NASA's commercial crew program, a public-private partnership involving Hawthorne-based SpaceX and Boeing Co., which have contracts worth a combined total of $6.8 billion to build separate craft to transport astronauts to the space station.

SpaceX set for crew demo launch

BBC News

The US is about to take a major step towards being able to fly its astronauts into space once again. California's SpaceX firm is performing a demonstration of a new rocket and capsule system, which, if it works well, will be approved to carry people. Routine crew missions to the space station could start later this year. Not since the retirement of the shuttles in 2011 has America been able to put humans in orbit. It's had to pay to use Russian Soyuz vehicles instead.

SpaceX Is Sending Its First Crew-Ready Capsule to the ISS


On Saturday, SpaceX is taking its most ambitious step yet toward launching people into space. It's not sending anyone with a pulse just yet, but this upcoming launch is still a high-consequence event. In the wee hours of the morning on March 2, SpaceX's shiny new astronaut taxi--dubbed Crew Dragon--will take to the skies, bound for the International Space Station. The flight, officially known as Demo Mission-1 (or DM-1), stars an upgraded version of SpaceX's Dragon cargo craft. SpaceX has always intended for its Dragon capsules to ferry humans, but every SpaceX Dragon capsule launched so far has only shuttled cargo to and from the ISS.

Oxygen-tracking method could improve diabetes treatment

MIT News

Transplanting pancreatic islet cells into patients with diabetes is a promising alternative to the daily insulin injections that many of these patients now require. These cells could act as a bioartificial pancreas, monitoring blood glucose levels and secreting insulin when needed. For this kind of transplantation to be successful, scientists need to make sure that the implanted cells receive enough oxygen, which they need in order to produce insulin and to remain viable. MIT engineers have now devised a way to measure oxygen levels of these cells over long periods of time in living animals, which should help them predict which implants will be most effective. In a paper appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Feb. 25, the researchers demonstrated that they could use this method, a specialized type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to track how oxygen levels of implanted cells in the intraperitoneal (IP) cavity of mice change as they move through the cavity over a prolonged period of time.

Dynamic Layer Aggregation for Neural Machine Translation with Routing-by-Agreement Artificial Intelligence

With the promising progress of deep neural networks, layer aggregation has been used to fuse information across layers in various fields, such as computer vision and machine translation. However, most of the previous methods combine layers in a static fashion in that their aggregation strategy is independent of specific hidden states. Inspired by recent progress on capsule networks, in this paper we propose to use routing-by-agreement strategies to aggregate layers dynamically. Specifically, the algorithm learns the probability of a part (individual layer representations) assigned to a whole (aggregated representations) in an iterative way and combines parts accordingly. We implement our algorithm on top of the state-of-the-art neural machine translation model TRANSFORMER and conduct experiments on the widely-used WMT14 English-German and WMT17 Chinese-English translation datasets. Experimental results across language pairs show that the proposed approach consistently outperforms the strong baseline model and a representative static aggregation model.