Researchers have developed a textile-based soft robot that can regulate itself without being tethered to any machine. They designed a robotic fabric called Smart Thermally Actuating Textiles (STATs) is composed of tightly sealed pouches containing a fluid known as Novec 7000. Electronically-conductive silver-plated threads are weaved into the material which serve as the smart fabric’s heater and sensor elements. When heated, the fluid vaporizes, and its volume expands up to 100-fold to change the fabric’s shape. But when it’s cooled, it condenses back to a liquid, thereby deflating the fabric.
BionicSwift is equipped with wings that imitate the plumage of real birds, capable of flying safely like real birds and in a coordinated pattern in a defined airspace. The robotic “feathered” bird has a wingspan of 68 cm, a body length of 44.5 cm, and a weight of 42 grams. The wings are made with “lamellae” (feathers) made from overlapping sheets of ultralight and flexible foam, but at the same time very robust. The artificial birds have a radio marker that sends signals so that its exact position can be tracked by a computer that acts as a navigation system to set up pre-programmed routes and flight paths for the birds while avoiding collisions.
Researchers describe for the first time how relationships between different odors are encoded in the olfactory cortex, the region of brain responsible for processing smell. By delivering odors with selected molecular structures and analyzing neural activity in awake mice, the team showed that neuronal representations of smell in the cortex reflect chemical similarities between odors, thus enabling scents to be placed into categories by the brain. Moreover, these representations can be rewired by sensory experiences. The results open new avenues of study to better understand how the brain transforms information about odor chemistry into the perception of smell.
A one-hour dose of 50 percent nitrous oxide (N2O) and 50 percent pure oxygen (delivered via face mask) may help military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to preliminary results from a new pilot study. Within a couple of hours of this 60-minute laughing gas treatment, two of the three veterans Self-reported a reduction of PTSD symptoms lasting up to one week. Assuming that the researchers are able to replicate these initial findings in a larger independent sample, it’s possible that nitrous oxide could get FDA approval for treating PTSD at some point in the distant future.
A number of supermarkets have removed some coconut water and oil from their shelves after it emerged the products were made with fruit picked by monkeys. The monkeys are snatched from the wild and trained to pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said. In response Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Boots vowed to stop selling some goods. Meanwhile, Morrisons said it had already removed products made with monkey-picked coconuts from its shelves. In a statement, Waitrose said: “As part of our animal welfare policy, we have committed to never knowingly sell any products sourced from monkey labour.”
Air France confirmed plans to cut some 7,500 jobs including 1,000 at sister airline HOP!, as staff protested over its response to the collapse in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. The French flag carrier, part of Franco-Dutch group Air France-KLM, said it had lost 15 million euros a day during the worst part of the crisis, which also saw its revenues plunge by 95%. It did not see traffic returning to 2019 levels before 2024. As a result, it plans to cut 6,560 or 16% of jobs at the main airline by the end of 2022. Air France said it would give priority to voluntary departures, early retirement and staff mobility. It did not rule out compulsory redundancies, however.
Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo repeated as men’s and women’s champions at Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest. Chestnut downed 75 wieners and buns in 10 minutes and Sudo downed 48 1/2 in a competition that took place at an undisclosed location with no in-person spectators. Both hot dog totals were world records. “I’m always pushing for a record,” Chestnut said before the contest aired on a live sports-starved ESPN. “I know that’s what the fans want.”
Rapper Kanye West declared his candidacy for US president. The unlikely challenger to Donald Trump – of whom he has been a vocal supporter – and Joe Biden, chose American independence day to make the surprise announcement on Twitter, triggering a social media storm. “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future,” West wrote. “I am running for president of the United States.” It is unclear whether the 43-year-old had filed any official paperwork to appear on state election ballots.