Light Friday: Artificial Organs Give You Superpowers
September 20, 2013
In the upcoming remake of "RoboCop," scientists harvest the murdered body of a Detroit cop to create a cyborg that can uphold the law. In reality, scientists could at least improve the cop’s ear.
Scientist Michael McAlpine has developed a 3D-printed bionic ear that could help accident victims hear again – and better than they ever did before.
In 2003, McAlpine developed a method for embedding silicon nanowires in flexible substrates. After a decade of development, McAlpine created a method of fabricating a synthetic ear with a 3D bioprinter and overlaying a system of wires that convert sound into electric signals and transmit them directly to the brain. If this ear were, say, a phone, we could directly connect our smartphones into our brains, allowing for an almost instantaneous transfer of data.
“We evolved in a world where we needed to hear lions,” McAlpine told Wired. “But today it makes sense for one of our senses to talk directly to our brain, electrically.”
Essentially, McAlpine’s technology could represent the first foray into a technological field one step beyond wearable tech: implantable technology. And McAlpine doesn’t think it’s that far-fetched.
“It will just be considered normal that you have electronics embedded in your body,” he said. “You won’t think it’s weird that a door will just open up as you walk towards it. We will become cyborgs and it will be seen as just a normal thing.”
An Australian driver upset over a $60 parking fine tried to get back at the city council, only to have the scheme backfire.
The man, who has not been named by media, went to the Adelaide City Council offering to pay the ticket in cash -- specifically, with 1,200 five-cent coins. He even uploaded a clip of the incident to YouTube.
After dumping the load of coins onto the desk, he was told by a city council employee that she couldn’t accept the payment. British news website Metro News reports that Australian law allows municipalities to refuse coin payments for amounts greater than $5. Undeterred, he shoved the coins over the desk and said, “I paid. I’m out. Bye. I gave you the money.”
In addition to his fine remaining outstanding, the Internet lashed out on the man's own YouTube channel, calling him a “baby” and a “dolt” (among other colorful phrases) and expressing sympathy for the woman on the receiving end of his prank.
His coins are being held in a safe until he comes to collect them.
It’s probably fitting that the world’s largest walking robot be capable of striking fear in the hearts of mere mortals.
The remote-controlled creation of the German firm Zollner Elektronik AG is designed to do just that. The company recently unveiled Tradinno – the name is a fusion of “tradition” and “innovation” – a 51-foot, fire-breathing mechanical dragon.
Zollner built Tradinno for the entertainment industry, though it hasn’t been cast in any Hobbit movies or “Game of Thrones” episodes. The robot will replace the aging star of “Drachenstich,” Germany’s 500-year-old folk play, which is performed annually in the Bavarian town of Furth im Wald.
The mechanical beast uses 11 kg of liquid gas to snort flames and can spill 80 liters of stage blood. It’s capable of flapping its wings, but the 11-ton behemoth cannot fly.
A team of 15 mechanical, electronics, and software developers worked on the construction of the robot for more than six years.
And if you had any doubts, the “Guinness World Records 2014” has declared Tradinno the “world’s largest walking robot.”
Here’s a video of how the robo-dragon was created:
Meet Timothy Blaise, physics graduate student at McGill University in Montreal. Blaise brilliantly offers a detailed explanation of the impossibly complicated string theory with a Weird Al Yankovic-style parody of Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" -- performed a capella.
While I don’t understand half of what he’s talking about, the result is astonishing on every level.
What’s even more amazing is that this isn’t Blaise’s first physics a capella parody. Last year, he released "Rolling in the Higgs," which reflects on the then-recent discovery of the Higgs Boson. (H/T Io9)