Fruit bot 🍎 Metabolic bacteria 🦠 Green shipping 🚢!

Technology News


Flying Autonomous Robot Uses AI to Identify and Pick Ripe Fruit

Tevel Aerobotics Technologies has developed a flying autonomous robot (FAR) that utilizes artificial intelligence to identify and pick fruit. The FAR uses AI perception algorithms to locate the trees and vision algorithms to detect the fruit among the foliage. The robot picks only ripe fruit by classifying its size and ripeness, taking care of that problem effectively. After choosing the fruit, the robot works out the best way to approach it and uses its picking arm to grasp the fruit. Multiple robots can harvest an orchard without crashing into each other thanks to a single autonomous digital brain in a ground-based unit.

New Skin Patch Brings Us Closer to Wearable, All-In-One Health Monitor

Engineers have developed a soft, stretchy skin patch that can be worn on the neck to continuously track blood pressure and heart rate while measuring the wearer’s levels of glucose as well as lactate, alcohol or caffeine. The patch is a thin sheet of stretchy polymers that can conform to the skin. It is equipped with a blood pressure sensor and two chemical sensors—one that measures levels of lactate (a biomarker of physical exertion), caffeine and alcohol in sweat, and another that measures glucose levels in interstitial fluid. It is the first wearable device that monitors cardiovascular signals and multiple biochemical levels at the same time.

Science News


Metabolic mutations help bacteria resist drug treatment

Researchers have now identified another class of mutations that helps bacteria develop resistance. In a study of E. coli, they discovered that mutations to genes involved in metabolism can also help bacteria to evade the toxic effects of several different antibiotics. The researchers engineered mutations into typical E. coli strains and found that their rates of cellular respiration were significantly reduced. When they treated these cells with antibiotics, much larger doses were required to kill the bacteria. The findings raise the possibility that forcing bacteria into a heightened metabolic state could increase the effectiveness of existing antibiotics.

Lab-grown ‘mini-bile ducts’ used to repair human livers in regenerative medicine first

Scientists have developed an approach that takes advantage the ‘perfusion system’ that can be used to maintain donated organs outside the body. Using this technology, they demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to transplant biliary cells grown in the lab known as cholangiocytes into damaged human livers to repair them. As proof-of-principle for their method, they repaired livers deemed unsuitable for transplantation due to bile duct damage.  This approach could be applied to a diversity of organs and diseases to accelerate the clinical application of cell-based therapy. “In future, it could help reduce the pressure on the transplant waiting list.”

Business News


Maersk: Consumers can foot shipping’s climate change bill

Maersk chief executive Soren Skou says that for his company the extra costs of greener energy amount to billions of dollars but “for the individual consumer, for the individual product, it will be almost nothing.” It “would in a container with sneakers from Vietnam, translate into something like six cents per pair of sneakers. So I don’t think that it will really impact the consumption opportunities for consumers out there.” At the moment they spend $4bn (£2.85bn) a year on fuel but to go carbon free “we have to spend maybe double” that amount. Covering those extra costs would mean the prices Maersk charges its own customers would need to increase 20%.

Bitcoin’s market value tops $1 trillion

The trillion-dollar market value club has a new member: bitcoin. One bitcoin currently costs around $55,000 — and there are about 18.6 million bitcoins in circulation (The total number of bitcoin eventually available is capped at 21 million). Corporate America is validating bitcoin. Payments giants Square and PayPal let their users buy and sell it. Credit card processing behemoths Visa and Mastercard are also embracing cryprocurrencies. Consumer research firm Piplsay wrote in a report that half of the more than 30,000 consumers it surveyed about bitcoin said they felt it was “safe” to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Miscellaneous News


Christians, Muslims and Jews to share faith centre in Berlin

A new place of worship is set to rise that will bring Christians, Jews and Muslims under one roof – and it has already been dubbed a “churmosquagogue”. The €47m building will incorporate a church, a mosque and a synagogue linked to a central meeting space. “We wanted to build a house of prayer and learning, where these three religions could co-exist while each retaining their own identity.” The foundation stone of the House of One in Berlin will be laid at a ceremony on 27 May, symbolising a new venture in interfaith cooperation and dialogue.

Thirsk teacher, 21, becomes youngest solo female to row Atlantic

Jasmine Harrison, from Thirsk in North Yorkshire, set off on her 3,000-mile (4,828km) journey from La Gomera in the Canary Islands in December. She docked in Antigua earlier, completing the journey in 70 days, three hours and 48 minutes. Ms Harrison, a part-time swimming teacher and bartender, decided to sign up for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge three years ago after watching the finale of the 2017 event. Asked about her epic challenge, she said it had been a mix of “good and bad memories”, but said she had relished the chance to escape from day-to-day life.

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