Artificial muscle 💪 Micro-lab on a Chip 💉 Whisky paper bottles 🥃!

Technology News

Artificial muscle made of sewing thread enables new motions for soft robots

Researchers have demonstrated a new way to enable complex motions in soft robots, inspired by biological marvels like octopi. The device, called a twisted-and-coiled actuator was used for the first time to generate programmable motion in a soft robot. By showing that this type of artificial muscle can perform such actuations as gripping, twisting and bending, they hope to next design miniature, soft robots with much richer ranges of motion and manipulation. Like a human muscle, it can also “feel” a force and respond to it, like a hanging weight. The actuator is made out of common household sewing thread.

Porsche tests 3D-printed pistons for its 911 GT2 RS

Porsche has completed its first endurance test of 3D-printed pistons in the engine of the 911 GT2 RS. Porsche used computer simulation and artificial intelligence to optimize the piston’s supporting shape and underlying topology, removing material where not necessary and adding where needed. The result is what the automaker calls a “bionic” design utilizing an organic structural shape. Each 3D printed aluminum piston is 10-percent lighter than the forged piston that the GT2 RS normally uses and runs more than 20 degrees cooler in the piston ring area thanks to the new duct. That means the engine can rev higher, unlocking additional power.

Science News

A Micro-lab on a Chip Detects Blood Type Within Minutes

A team of scientists have developed a fully automated chip that can quickly and reliably determine a patient’s blood type. The chip contains a micro-sized “laboratory” with various compartments through which the blood sample travels in sequence and is processed until results are obtained. The user does not require specialized optical equipment to read the results. The design of the detector chambers allows the easy identification of coagulated blood with the naked eye. The team screened blood samples from 10 donors and obtained accurate results for all 10 samples. The time needed to determine a single sample’s blood type was only five minutes.

Damaged human lungs revived for transplant by connecting them to a pig

Donated lungs that are too damaged to be used in transplants have been revived after being connected to the blood supply of a live pig. The team connected each lung to the circulatory system of an anaesthetised pig for 24 hours, with tubes feeding the blood vessels of the human lung from those in the neck of the pig. Immunosuppressant drugs, which prevent “foreign” tissues from being rejected, were added to the circulatory system, infiltrating both the pig and the human lung. Researchers say the technique could potentially triple the number of lungs available for transplant. “They aren’t 100 per cent normal, but they’re close enough.”

Business News

Johnnie Walker whisky to be sold in paper bottles

Diageo, the drinks giant that owns the brand, said it plans to run a trial of the new environmentally-friendly packaging from next year. While most Johnnie Walker is sold in glass bottles, the firm is looking for ways of using less plastic across its brands. Making bottles from glass also consumes energy and creates carbon emissions. Diageo will co-launch a firm called Pulpex, which will also produce packaging for the likes of Unilever and PepsiCo. Diageo’s paper whisky bottle, which will be trialled in spring 2021, will be made from wood pulp and will be fully recyclable.

Chipmaker Analog Devices to buy rival Maxim for about $21 billion

Semiconductor maker Analog Devices Inc said it would buy rival Maxim Integrated Products for about $21 billion in the largest U.S. deal this year, aiming to boost its market share in automotive and 5G chipmaking. The deal, which is also Analog’s biggest, will create a chipmaking force with a combined enterprise value of about $68 billion that will compete with larger rivals including Texas Instruments. The companies said the deal added Maxim’s strength in automotive and data center markets to ADI’s broad industrial, communications and digital healthcare segments. The offer values Maxim at $78.43 per share, a premium of about 22%.

Miscellaneous News

Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward to give ¥100,000 to each infected resident

Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward will start providing ¥100,000 to each resident infected with the new coronavirus from as early as August in a bid to support the livelihoods of those who cannot work while receiving treatment. The ward, home to one of the largest nightlife districts in Japan, plans to send application forms to eligible residents soon. The move comes at a time when new infection cases have been increasing at nightclubs and other nightlife establishments with hospitality services in the country.

Wild bison will be released into the UK for the first time in thousands of years in hopes to revive wildlife

The UK is looking to the Steppe bison’s closest relative – the European bison. The $1.4 million “Wilder Blean” project aims to release a small herd of European bison into the West Blean woods during the spring of 2022. The bison will come from the Netherlands or Poland, where previous releases have proved successful, and the initial release will include one male and three female. Natural breeding is expected to increase the size of the herd. “They eat bark and create dust baths which each have benefits for many plants and animals.”

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