Month: April, 2018

This Is A Bio Inspired 3D Printed Spider Octopod Robot

T8 robot

The T8 octopod robot is modeled after a real tarantula, and the way it moves is startlingly realistic an effect that’s amplified by its high-resolution 3D-printed shell, which conceals the robotics inside

Each T8 moves with the help of 26 Hitec HS-35HD servo motors. Three in each leg and two to move the body and is pre-programmed using Robugtix’s Bigfoot Inverse Kinematics Engine, which handles the calculations for factors like trajectory planning and gait and motor control.




All the operator has to do is press buttons on the controller, which communicates with the robot via an XBee radio module.

It’s an impressively spooky little critter, though. Check it out in the video below.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

A Migraine May Change Your Brain

About 37 million Americans suffer from migraines, those incredibly painful and often debilitating headaches.

Though they’ve been known to knock a person out, migraines weren’t thought to permanently affect the brain, until now.

A study published in the journal Neurology suggests that migraines may indeed leave a mark.

Our review and meta-analysis study suggests that the disorder may permanently alter brain structure in multiple ways,” said study author Dr. Messoud Ashina, a neurologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

A migraine is a common type of headache in which throbbing pain is typically felt on just one side of the head.

Sufferers experience sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting. Women are three times more likely to be affected by migraines than men.




According to the American Migraine Foundation, migraines cost the United States more than $20 billion a year, both in direct medical expenses like doctor visits and medication and indirectly, when employees miss work resulting in lost productivity.

About 20% of migraine sufferers experience an aura, a warning symptom 20 minutes to an hour before a migraine begins.

It’s usually in the form of visual disturbances like wavy lines, dots or flashing lights, tingling in the face or arms, even difficulty speaking.

The study focused on three types of abnormalities that were detected by magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. MRI tests use a magnetic field and radio wave energy to take pictures of organs inside the body.

They can detect problems that often cannot be seen with an X-ray or ultrasound imaging.

Researchers reviewed six population-based studies and 13 clinic-based studies to see whether migraine sufferers had an increased risk of brain lesions, white matter abnormalities, infarct-like lesions or brain volume changes in both the gray and white matter regions of the brain.

Infarct-like lesions, also called silent strokes, are changes neurologists usually see on MRI scans that look like minor strokes.

According to the study, the risk of white matter brain lesions increased 68% for those suffering migraines with aura, compared with non-migraine sufferers.

Those who suffered from migraines without aura saw that increased risk cut in half (34%), but they too could get lesions in the part of the brain that is made up of nerve fibers.

Researchers found that white matter abnormalities are not limited to migraines; they also occur in non-migraine headaches.

And people with migraines and migraines with aura were also more likely to have brain volume changes than those who don’t suffer from migraines. But what these white matter abnormalities lead to is still unclear.

That’s why Ashina says more long-term studies are needed.

Migraine affects about 10% to 15% of the general population and can cause a substantial personal, occupational and social burden,” Ashina said.

We hope that through more study, we can clarify the association of brain structure changes to attack frequency and length of the disease. We also want to find out how these lesions may influence brain function.

Though migraines might be associated with structural changes in the brain, there’s no cause for concern, Ashina determined.

“Studies of white matter changes showed no relationship to migraine frequency or cognitive status of patients.”

Dr. MaryAnn Mays, a staff neurologist at the Center for Headache & Pain at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the research, agreed.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

In The Future, Your Sweat Could Power Your Gadgets

Sweat is often an annoyance, or even an embarrassment. We spend tons on antiperspirants, fans, air conditioners, ice cream, and anything else that will keep our body temperatures down to keep sweating at bay.

With a new wearable innovation that turns sweat into energy, that all might change.

From tattoos that can monitor health conditions to golf shirts that measure their wearer’s swings, wearable technology is one of the fastest-growing tech advancements of the 21st century.

Recently, researchers at University of California, San Diego unveiled their own latest wearable: A flexible square patch that can be applied to the skin, where enzymes in the device could feed on human sweat to produce power.




Although it measured just a few centimeters in size, a single square, or biofuel cell, was able to generate enough power to run a radio for an entire two days.

Later versions proved capable of generating up to ten times more energy as their predecessors, meaning that in the future, if you forget to charge your smartphone before a hard workout, no worries!

Just plant your biocell on your skin, and your sweat might make enough juice to let you to stream your gym playlists during an hour of cardio, and for days to come.

A Sweat-Powered Radio is Cool, but That’s Just the Start

Biofuel cells have come a long way over the years. While the possibility of sweat-powered radios and other electronics is pretty fantastic, scientists have much bolder applications for the technology in store for the future.

Those cells could be used as health monitors, checking glucose levels in diabetic patients or to measuring the lactic acid produced in muscles during exercise.

The power generated could fuel a Bluetooth connection that could deliver the information right to a smartphone so that wearers could get real-time reports on their physical health.

The future of wearable biocells has plenty of advantages, but one of the best is that they are non-invasive. This means faster application and less pain.

Eventually, they’ll become less expensive, making them a great alternative to devices like conventional blood glucose monitors that require patients to prick their fingers multiple times per day, or permanent surgical implants like pacemakers.

With the University of California team’s take on wearables, future medical monitors may be self-powering, too.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

This Are The Top 10 Most Intelligent Animals On The Earth

In case you hadn’t heard, humans aren’t the only intelligent beings on planet Earth. In fact, we have plenty of company, and you may be surprised to learn who else is on the list.

1. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees and humans are remarkably similar, sharing about 99 percent of our DNA. Chimps are our closest living relatives, and like humans, live in social communities and can adapt to different environments.

They can also learn sign language.

Chimpanzees can walk upright on two legs if they choose, and while they are primarily vegetarians they consume meat on occasion.

Chimps make and use tools, such as stones to open nuts and leaves to soak up drinking water. They reach reproductive age at around the same time humans do – 13 for females and 16 for males.




2. Bottlenose Dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins are one of just a handful of species in the animal kingdom that are able to use vocal learning to develop their own vocal signature.

Early in life, each dolphin creates its own unique vocal whistle that gives it an individual identity.

Because each whistle is unique, dolphins are able to call to each other by mimicking the whistle of a dolphin they want to communicate with. It’s the equivalent of calling each other by name.

Many dolphins establish strong social attachments and will stay with injured or ill members of the group, helping them to the surface of the water so they can breathe if necessary.

There are also reports of dolphins protecting human swimmers from sharks by swimming in circles around them, or rushing the sharks to shoo them away.

3. Elephants

Elephants’ brains are bigger than the brains of any other land animal, and the cortex has as many neurons as a human brain.

The ability of elephants to learn is impressive, and they are also self-aware – they can actually recognize themselves in mirrors!

In the wild, these highly social animals demonstrate helpfulness, compassion, and empathy. Their trunks and feet generate seismic activity that allows them to communicate with one another on a wide variety of subjects.

Elephants are likely the only large land-dwelling mammals that communicate using seismic signals.

4. African Grey Parrots

Known as the Einsteins of the parrot world, African Greys are highly intelligent. Studies have shown that the birds possess abstract, inferential reasoning abilities.

They appear to have some understanding of causality and use it to reason about the world.African Greys also show their smarts with their counting abilities and vocalization skills.

5. Rats

The ability to think about thinking is called metacognition, and a few years ago scientists discovered that rats, like humans, can make decisions based on what they do or do not know.

Studies also show that rats are surprisingly self-aware, they’re ticklish, and they dream just as we do. Pet rats are extremely social and form strong bonds with their owners.

They learn their names and come when they’re called, and they beg for time out of their cage to play and interact with their owners.

6. Crows

A crow’s brain is about the size of a human thumb, which is huge relative to its body size. This puts their intelligence on a level with primates, and gives them the ability to solve complex problems.

Scientists have discovered that crows recognize and remember individual human faces. Different areas of a crow’s brain light up when it sees a person it perceives as friendly or threatening.

7. Dogs

 

When it comes to canine companions, “smart” means different things to different people. Some people feel an obedient dog is smart, while others believe a dog with a mind of her own is more intelligent.

Very agreeable dogs are considered smart by most human standards.

Humans judge the intelligence of dogs based primarily on how quickly they learn to obey our commands, how well they perform, and whether they are able to learn human-type stuff like identifying objects.

8. Pigeons

Studies show that pigeons are able to learn abstract mathematical rules, and in fact are the only non-humans other than rhesus monkeys with the ability.

These much-maligned birds also have the ability to make extremely intelligent choices, and have highly evolved pigeon problem-solving skills.

Pigeons are also able to recognize individual people, most likely by their facial characteristics.

9. Pigs

According to some experts, pigs are among the smartest, cleanest domestic animals around – more so than cats and dogs.

Researchers who have studied pigs have learned they have excellent long-term memories, solve mazes easily, can comprehend a simple symbolic language.

They love to play and play-fight with each other, can learn to operate a joystick to move an on-screen cursor, and use a mirror to find hidden food.

10. Octopuses

Octopuses have the largest brains of any invertebrate. The common octopus has about 130 million neurons in its brain. A human has 100 billion.

However, three-fifths of an octopus’ neurons are not in the brain; they’re in its arms. Each arm has a mind of its own, so to speak, and if cut off, will wander away and even grab at food as it did while still attached.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality

Augmented reality and virtual reality devices are on the cusp of explosive growth. So what’s the difference between the two, and which will make a bigger impact on our lives?

 

Virtual Reality at E3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyfiG…

History of Virtual Reality https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43mA_…

Microsoft Hololens Review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihKUo…

Magic Leap Demo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmdXJ…

Paraplegics using VR to walk again https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb36O…

How Sidewinder Missiles Work?

The Sidewinder AIM-9 (air intercept missile 9) is classified as a short-range, air-to-air missile. Simply put, its job is to launch from an airborne aircraft and “kill” an enemy aircraft (damage it to the point that it goes down).

Missiles like the Sidewinder are called smart weapons because they have built-in seeking systems that let them home in on a target.




The technology of smart weapons really got going in the decade following World War II. Most early guided weapon prototypes were built around radar technology, which proved to be expensive and problematic.

These missiles had their own radar sensors, but obviously could not carry their own radar transmitters.

For the guidance system to lock on an enemy plane, some remote radar system had to “illuminate” the target by bouncing radar beams off of it.

In most cases, this meant the pilot had to keep the aircraft in a vulnerable position after firing in order to keep a radar lock on the enemy until the missile could find it.

Additionally, the radar equipment in the missile was large and expensive, which made for a high-cost, bulky weapon. Most of these missiles had something around a 90 percent failure rate (nine shots out of 10 missed their targets).

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Pass it on: Popular Science

The Physics Of Hitting A Baseball

Hitting the “sweet spot” is something that baseball players strive for. This is the location of the bat that is generally regarded as the best spot for hitting the ball.

It minimizes vibration of the bat and results in the maximum energy delivered to the ball, meaning it travels the farthest.

The “sweet spot” is a special point on the bat which minimizes stinging of the hands when the ball strikes there. Baseball players say that hitting the ball in this location “feels” the best, and results in the most solid hit.

If the baseball strikes outside of the sweet spot a painful stinging sensation is felt in the hands, due to bat vibration. In addition, this undesirable vibration reduces the energy that is delivered to the ball, so it doesn’t travel as far.




Here we are using physics to confirm what baseball players already know from experience.

It’s not easy to hit the sweet spot. For best results, contact with the ball must be made within 1/8″ of this special point. It is the main “good hit” criterion of players.

But it is one of the biggest challenges in Major League sports, where a round ball traveling at 90 mph has to hit a round bat swinging at 80 mph, at precisely this location.

The result is the ball flying off the bat at 110 mph, enough for a home run.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

The March 31 Blue Moon Is The 2nd Blue Moon Of 2018

We had a Blue Moon on January 31, 2018. It was a supermoon, too, and underwent a total eclipse.

And another full moon that carries the name Blue Moon this weekend, last Saturday night, March 31. Both the January and March 2018 Blue Moons are blue in name only.

Both are the second of two full moons to fall within a single calendar month. Two Blue Moons in a year is indeed rare.

We haven’t had a year with two Blue Moons since 1999 and won’t have one again until January and March, 2037.




In recent years, people have been using the name Blue Moon for two different sorts of moons. The first can be the second of two full moons in a single calendar month, as with the January 31 and March 31 Blue Moons.

An older definition says a Blue Moon is the third of four full moons in a single season.

Meanwhile, the month of February 2018 had no full moon at all.

Someday, you might see an actual blue-colored moon. Meanwhile, the moon you saw last Saturday night does not look blue at all.

Blue-colored moons in photos are made using special blue camera filters or in a post-processing program such as PhotoShop.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Giro’s Latest Ski Helmet Mimics Your Brain’s Own Protection

Helmets are far from the brain buckets (basically shells) of times past.

Advancements in the use of foam and other insulations have come a long way in better protecting the brain, but it remains a challenge to engineer against high velocity impacts coming from different angles.

It takes more than just adding padding; in fact, more padding can cause more damage as the material packs out over time, creating more space between the shell and head.

Enter MIPS, which stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection Systems.

MIPS started in Stockholm, Sweden by five biomechanical specialists at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in 2001 to create the most cutting-edge brain protection system.




With the help of neurosurgeon Hans Von Holst, who was fed up with patients still getting traumatic brain injuries despite wearing helmets, and researcher Peter Halldin, the MIPS technology was developed into a helmet that supports energy dispersion and absorption, rather than just buffering against direct impact.

MIPS utilizes a “slip plane” concept that uses a low friction layer under the shell that slides relative with the head during an impact.

This motion redirects the energy in a crash, mimicking the brain’s own protective structure — the cushion of cerebrospinal fluid just inside the skull — ultimately reducing damage to the brain.

MIPS also has been revolutionary in its testing methods, evolving from head-on impacts to the angled impacts that simulate accidents more accurately.

California helmet company Giro was one of the first brands to widely adopt the MIPS technology in its line-up. Together, Giro and MIPS have been making more advancements, the latest resulting in MIPS Spherical.

The brain-saving tech works similarly to previous generations of MIPS by absorbing rotational violence with a low friction layer, but is made up of two EP-Premium foam layers that work as two parts, rather than a ball-and-socket style slip plane.

This new tech can be found in Giro’s Avance ski racing helmet, the first to use Spherical MIPS.

The Avance will make its debut on USST racers Andrew Weibrecht and Travis Ganong as they race in the FIS World Cup Downhill Race held next week at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada on November 26.

Giro can use 3D scans of the wearer’s head to custom sculpt the Avance’s interior so it can fit precisely without pressure points.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

China’s Space Station Will Most Likely Plunge To Earth In Next 24 Hours

It sure looks like the abandoned Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will put on its re-entry light show tonight.

The European Space Agency (ESA), which has been tracking the prototype habitat through its final days and hours, now predicts (as of April 1) it will re-enter the atmosphere sometime tonight (April 1) through early Monday morning (April 2) in UTC time, which is 4 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

The Aerospace Corporation, which has also been tracking the falling station, more or less concurs, writing that the uncontrolled re-entry should happen around April 2 at 02:00 UTC (10 p.m. EDT), give or take 7 hours.

It remains true that no one knows where the 9.4-ton (8.5 metric tons) station will come down, other than somewhere between 43 degrees latitude north and 43 degrees latitude south.




It also remains true that it is not a danger to you or anyone else, because the Earth is very big and still mostly pretty empty, and the station is very small in the scheme of things.

And the odds of getting hit by a piece of the space lab that manages to survive the fiery re-entry into our atmosphere are incredibly low.

Worth noting: China has still not officially confirmed that it’s not in control of the falling station, but China did lose contact with the uncrewed object on March 21, 2016, and likely has not re-established contact since.

In any event, there’s a non-zero chance that you’ll witness something extraordinary if you look up into the sky this weekend.

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Pass it on: Popular Science