Cockroach microbot 🤖 Synthetic blood cells 💉 Domestic flights begin recovery 🛫!

Technology News

Next-generation cockroach-inspired robot is small but mighty

Dubbed HAMR-JR, this microrobot developed is a half-scale version of the cockroach-inspired Harvard Ambulatory Microrobot or HAMR. About the size of a penny, HAMR-JR can perform almost all of the feats of its larger-scale predecessor, making it one of the most dexterous microrobots to date. It can run about 14 body lengths per second, making it not only one of the smallest but also one of the fastest microrobots. The researchers also developed a model that can predict locomotion metrics like running speeds, foot forces, and payload based on a target size. The model can then be used to design a system with the required specifications. 

Fitbit’s ventilator gets emergency FDA approval

Fitbit has unveiled the Fitbit Flow, a new ventilator with FDA approval for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ventilator has been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA, meaning it can only be used to treat people during the current health crisis. Fitbit hopes to sell the Flow for around $5,000, significantly less than traditional ventilators.The company says that it’s only designed be used when one of the more expensive devices is not available. Although the ventilator has secured regulatory approval for use during the pandemic, Fitbit says that it is not otherwise FDA cleared or approved.

Science News

Synthetic red blood cells mimic natural ones, and have new abilities

Researchers have made synthetic red blood cells that have all of the cells’ natural abilities, plus a few new ones. The artificial cells were similar in size, shape, charge and surface proteins to natural cells, and they could squeeze through model capillaries without losing their shape. In mice, the synthetic RBCs lasted for more than 48 hours, with no observable toxicity. The researchers loaded the artificial cells with either hemoglobin, an anticancer drug, a toxin sensor or magnetic nanoparticles to demonstrate that they could carry cargoes. The team also showed that the new RBCs could act as decoys for a bacterial toxin.

Sleep, Death and … the Gut?

Harvard Medical School neuroscientists have identified an unexpected, causal link between sleep deprivation and premature death. In a study on sleep-deprived fruit flies, researchers found that death is always preceded by the accumulation of molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the gut. When fruit flies were given antioxidant compounds that neutralize and clear the ROS , sleep-deprived flies remained active and had normal lifespans. Additional experiments in mice confirmed that ROS accumulate in the gut when sleep is insufficient. The findings suggest the possibility that animals can indeed survive without sleep under certain circumstances.

Business News

American Airlines and other carriers are adding summer flights as passengers slowly return

American Airlines says it plans to fly 55% of its domestic schedule in July, up dramatically from May when it flew 20% of its schedule from a year earlier. “We’re seeing a slow but steady rise in domestic demand. After a careful review of the data, we’ve built a July schedule to match.” American is Increasing flights at a more aggressive pace than United Airlines, which is ramping up its July schedule to 25% of what it flew during the same month in 2019. In April, American averaged 32,154 passengers a day. From May 1 through May 23, its daily customer level more than doubled to 78,178, then jumped to 110,330 a day from May 24 to May 29.

Amazon in talks to buy $2 billion stake in Indian telco Bharti Airtel

Amazon is in early-stage talks to buy a stake worth at least $2 billion in Indian mobile operator Bharti Airtel. The planned investment would mean Amazon acquiring a roughly 5% stake based on the current market value of Bharti and would give India’s third-largest telecoms company a boost as it seeks to compete against the number one player Reliance Jio. “Jio has transformed itself from a pure mobile operator to a digital technology-led consumer facing platform, and Airtel can do the same.” Amazon counts India as a crucial growth market where it has committed $6.5 billion in investments mainly toward expanding its e-commerce footprint.

Miscellaneous News

Kanye West donates $2 million, pays college tuition for George Floyd’s daughter

Kanye West has made a $2 million donation to support the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. The donation includes funding for legal fees for Arbery and Taylor’s families, along with black-owned businesses in crisis in his native Chicago and other cities. West’s representative said he established a 529 education plan to fully cover college tuition for Gianna Floyd, the 6-year-old daughter of George Floyd. Many voices in entertainment are calling for an end to systematic racism, police brutality and action from political leadership.

Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

The U.S. state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic. That means certain elective medical procedures could resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery. A plastic surgeon known as ‘Dr. Miami’ who has also starred in a reality television show, has been conducting drive-through Botox injections in the garage of his building. “The areas that we inject Botox are the upper face, exactly the parts of the face that aren’t covered by the mask so it’s really ideal.”

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