Technology Tuesday: August 21st

Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every week The Job Shop Blog will bring you our 5 top science and technology news stories from around the web.

This week: China is looking to explore the “dark side” of the moon with two robotic probes, a robot that will charge up your autonomous electronic vehicle in 11 minutes, exoskeletons working on the floor of Ford factories, the world’s first graphene jacket, and a new CRISPR method let researchers repair a genetic mutation in viable human embryos.


CHINA WILL LAUNCH TWO ROBOTS TO STUDY THE MOON

China’s space agency is shooting for the stars. Well, more accurately, the Moon. On Wednesday, the nation shared new details on its Chang’e-4 mission during a news conference in Beijing. According to an official from China’s National Defense Science and Technology Bureau, the mission will be the first “to realize a soft landing on and inspection of” the far side of the Moon.

The launch is slated for December.

According to officials, Chang’e-4 will launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center aboard a Long March 3B launch vehicle. The craft will carry both a rover and a stationary lander, which should function for about three months and a year respectively. China will use a relay satellite that’s already in place to communicate with the devices once they land (because they’re on the far side, the Moon itself gets in the way of direct communication between the Earth and the devices).

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THIS ROBOT MAY END UP CHARGING AUTONOMOUS EVS

Electric vehicles (EVs) have a lot going for them. They’re better for the environment than their gas-guzzling predecessors; they can save nations billions of dollars in healthcare costs. Some even look pretty cool.

But EVs do come with a downside: charging them. Some vehicles can take up to 12 hours to fully power-up.

Now, researchers from the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) have created a system that charges much faster. And you don’t even have to manually connect it to your vehicle — the system’s EV-charging robot handles that process for you.

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EXOSKELETONS ARE ABOUT TO WALK FORD’S FACTORY FLOORS

Full-blown automation may be the future of manufacturing, but we’re not there yet. While some machines have taken over the more painstaking tasks on the factory floor, humans still play a vital role in the production line. But often, it isn’t easy work. Tasks typically require being on one’s feet, and some even involve making repetitive arm motions up to 4,600 times a day or one million times a year. Ouch.

At Ford though, this might all be changing. Exoskeleton use on Ford’s factory floors could soon shift into overdrive, according to Engadget.

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YOU CAN NOW BUY THE WORLD’S FIRST SUPER-MATERIAL JACKET

Apparel startup Vollebak’s latest offering isn’t exactly something you’d find at your local mall: The company just released the world’s first graphene jacket.

Graphene is a one-atom thick, transparent layer of carbon first isolated in 2004. It’s the strongest material ever discovered, extremely flexible, and highly conductive. And now, you can wear it on your body.

Vollebak constructed its $695 (!) reversible jacket from a high-stretch nylon coated on one side with a layer of graphene. The benefits of this graphene coating depend on how a person wears the jacket. If they leave the jacket somewhere warm and then wear it with the graphene facing inward, it warms their body. It can also redistribute heat from warmer parts of the body to cooler parts.

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A NEW CRISPR TECHNIQUE ALLOWED RESEARCHERS TO REPAIR A GENETIC MUTATION IN VIABLE HUMAN EMBRYOS

A new CRISPR technique could prevent humans from passing on a potentially life-threatening disorder, according to Chinese researchers.

An estimated 1 in 5,000 people across the globe suffers from Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. The disorder can cause issues throughout the body, from the heart to the eyes to the brain, and some of those issues can be fatal.

If a person has Marfan Syndrome, there’s a 50 percent chance their child will too. But according to a new study published in Molecular Therapy, CRISPR might be able to improve those odds.

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