Technology Tuesday: September 19

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: Bionics so advanced they would end disability, Samsung is getting ready to release a smartphone with a folding screen, an octopus city, China’s lab-grown meat plans, and a tiny microrobot the size of a single strand of DNA.


MIT’S CENTER FOR EXTREME BIONICS HAS BEGUN A $100 MILLION PROJECT TO END PARALYSIS

Some say experience is the best teacher, and for Hugh Herr, that has definitely been the case. His experience with disability and subsequent need for prosthetics compelled him to develop what could be the world’s most advanced type of bionics.

Now, the researcher and bionics expert is the co-director of the Center for Extreme Bionics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) — a unique research lab that began with the idea of taking prosthetics to the next level.

Since its creation in 2014, the center’s goal has been to treat a wide spectrum of disabilities through the development of advanced bionics. Now, the center is working on a $100 million, five-year project that focuses on treating paralysis, depression, amputation, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease through the development of bionic technologies.

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SAMSUNG PLANS TO RELEASE A FOLDING SCREEN SMARTPHONE NEXT YEAR

Samsung hasn’t been extremely forthcoming with updates about its foldable screen since it debuted the technology at 2013’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). We finally have something a little bit more concrete as Dongjin Koh, president of mobile business at Samsung, told reporters that the company is planning to release a foldable phone in its Galaxy Note line in 2018.

Samsung does have a little bit of wiggle room with the unveiling of their first bending screens as Koh added, “When we can overcome some problems for sure, we will launch the product,” he said. “We are digging thoroughly into several issues we must overcome, as we don’t want to just make a few, sell a few and be done. We want to hear that Samsung made a very good product.” He doesn’t go into detail about what those hurdles might be

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“OCTLANTIS” PROVES OCTOPUSSES ARE MORE SOCIAL THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

Just because they have eight tentacles doesn’t mean they have all the company they need. It turns out, octopuses found in the subtropical waters off northern New Zealand and Australia aren’t the loners they were previously thought to be. Marine biologists recently discovered that these Sydney octopuses (octopus tetricus) have a tendency to hang-out in a small “city” — dubbed Octlantis.

The international team of researchers led by David Scheel from the Alaska Pacific University found Octlantis off Eastern Australia in an area called Jervis Bay. Octlantis had 15 of these supposedly loner-type octopuses grouped together. “We recorded frequent interactions, signaling, mating, mate defense, eviction of octopuses from dens, and attempts to exclude individuals from the site,” the researchers wrote in the abstract of a study published in the journal Marine and Freshwater Behavior and Physiology.

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CHINA HAS SIGNED A $300 MILLION LAB-GROWN MEAT DEAL

China has signed a trade agreement with Israel worth $300 million that will see the country import lab-grown meats produced by three companies: SuperMeat, Future Meat Technologies, and Meat the Future. This move is part of China’s ongoing effort to address its most pressing environmental problems.

The Israel Innovation Authority and the Israel Export Institute were involved in brokering the deal with China. Both organizations were in attendance at the inaugural lab-made meat conference, which took place in Haifa, Israel this past May.

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THIS MICROSCOPIC ROBOT COULD BE A MEDICAL WONDER

Robots can do what humans can’t—travel through space for huge distances, clean up the life-threatening nuclear waste, and take on tasks too tiny for us to tackle, to name a few. One new, minuscule robot is a single strand of DNA, and i picks up and delivers microscopic cargo as it moves in 6-nanometre steps. Eventually, it may be used to deliver medicines specifically to diseased cells as it moves through the bloodstream, or enable the assembly of chemical compounds that are otherwise difficult for us to create.


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