At the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, Ido Bachelet led a team of scientists in building tiny robots that can respond to chemical cues and operate inside a living animal. More than that, they can operate as logic gates, essentially acting as real computers.
That gives the nanobots — on the order of nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter — the ability to follow specific instructions, making them programmable. Such tiny robots could do everything from target tumors to repair tissue damage.
The experimenters used a technique called “DNA origami” to make the robots. DNA comes in a double-helix shape, making long strings. And like yarn, the strings can be linked together to make different shapes. In this case, the researchers knitted together DNA into a kind of folded box with a lid, a robot called an “E” for “effector.” The “lid” opened when certain molecules bumped into it.
Robot Ships - using self driving car technology, robotic cargo ships are the next step in the evolution of autonomous / remote piloted vehicles. Environmental concerns are limiting the maximum speed at which Earth’s ocean going vessels can travel, prolonging travel time and leading to a shortage of qualified captains willing to spend the majority of their life at sea. Now the same technology used to enable self driving cars or flying drones is being extended to allow navigating a behemoth cargo ship from the comfort of your land based office.
If artificial intelligence is sophisticated enough to guide a car through Bay Area traffic, surely it can pilot a ship safely from port to port on the open sea. That’s the premise of a European Union-funded project called MUNIN tasked with designing largely automated cargo ships by the beginning of 2015.
The project got a push from Rolls-Royce plc, the major British military contractor that splintered from the car company with the same name in 1973, when an executive hinted that Rolls-Royce may design such systems and that they would bring down the industry’s costs. “Sometimes what was unthinkable yesterday is tomorrow’s reality. So now it is time to consider a roadmap to unmanned vessels of various types,” Oskar Levander, the company’s vice present of innovation, engineering and technology said in a recent company publication.
Levander indicated that Rolls-Royce would begin supporting vessels that can be sailed from an onshore office. “When ‘fleet optimization’ is considered, the advantages compound. The same person can monitor and steer many ships. As conditions ashore are often preferred, it will also help retain qualified and competent crew, and is safer,” he said.
It may seem like the stuff from spy and superhero movies but scientists have created “thefirst room-temperature light detector that can sense the full infrared spectrum” which, according to researchers at the University of Michigan,can be made so thin that it can be easily stacked on night vision contact lenses.