39. VR Exosuit Prototype, AI Tumor Detection, Futuristic Car Display from Mercedes
39. VR Exosuit Prototype, AI Tumor Detection, Futuristic Car Display from Mercedes
Recorded on Jan. 10th 2021
Cool STEM News:
New Discovery Could Lead to Cheaper And More Efficient Water Desalination | Science Alert (01:37)
- Removing salt from seawater to make it safe to drink means overcoming a number of scientific challenges, including optimizing the membrane used for the desalination process
- Scientists have figured out a way of potentially making membranes 30-40 percent more efficient in terms of the energy required to filter water.
- Nanolevel scale
- The density of membranes being consistent is more important than the thinness of the membrane itself.
- This can improve the water cleaning technique known as reverse osmosis, where minerals are caught and removed by a membrane through the use of pressure.
- To get a clearer look at these membranes researchers used a multimodal electron microscopy technique
- Combining an analysis of chemical composition with 3D mapping at the nanoscale level – to model how efficiently water could be cleaned.
- Get the density of the membranes evenly distributed, and more water can be cleaned with less energy, the researchers suggest – saving money for large-scale corporations and small-scale consumers alike, and enabling greater access to the technology.
- Billions of gallons of water are cleaned up every year, so efficiency improvements of 30-40 percent could make a huge difference.
- Scientists now have a much better understanding of what makes a membrane better at reverse osmosis. That in turn should inform future research into improving efficiencies even further.
- The membrane approach is already one of the most efficient to clean salt water. Researchers are now looking at ways in which it can continue to be improved and customized for specific uses.
Holotron: A Robotic Exosuit for Virtual Reality | Digital Trends (06:39)
- Marcel Reese, the brain behind a Germany VR exosuit project called Holotron…It’s a lower-body robot exosuit…that can be donned by users.
- Able to simulate some of the forces needed to help them more compellingly move through virtual worlds and interact with objects around them.
- “The problem I tried to solve with the Holotron is how to create a virtual world that is indistinguishable from real life,” Reese told Digital Trends. “That can also be understood as finding the perfect man-machine interface where you control the avatar by doing what you would normally do.”
- The force-feedback interface of the Holotron exoskeleton works by measuring the forces the user is exerting, then sending this to a computer where the avatar in a virtual world recreates them using what Reese called “virtual muscles.”
- Depending on the physical constraints of the virtual environment, this will allow the avatar to move or not.
- How do you solve the walking problem?
- A larger robot called the motion simulator which suspends and moves the exoskeleton (and, by extension, the user) in the air. The user remains stationary, but the Holotron setup provides the necessary movement to let them feel like they’re, well, moving.
- Basically the user would be feeling a virtual floor
- Reese said that possible applications for this more immersive VR setup could range from gaming to job training.
- While regular walking is an immediate focus, the technique could be (and, in early test versions, is) used for other movement types such as crawling, jumping, climbing, riding, swimming, base jumping, surfing — or even spending time in microgravity in space
- What about the other senses or being able to have a high-resolution tactile sense?
- According to Reese, “In the beginning, that is not required … But one can add high-resolution tactile displays all over the body to have the user feel the very details of every object he or she touches. Later add-ons will include this and also thermal displays, smell and taste.”
AI Microscope Confirms Tumor Removal – In Minutes? | Interesting Engineering (16:37)
- Scientists have developed a new microscope capable of rapidly imaging thick tissue samples with cellular resolution — enabling surgeons to confirm the margins of tumors mere minutes after their surgical removal
- Called the deep-learning extended depth-of-field microscope, or DeepDOF, the AI device trains computer algorithms to optimize both image post-processing and the initial image collection process.
- DeepDOF employs a standard optical microscope in tandem with an inexpensive optical phase mask, which lowers the price of imaging whole tissue pieces to less than $10. This opens the door to field depths of up to five times that of present-day microscopes.
- How are tissue samples analyzed currently?
- Currently the only way to know if a tumor is completely removed is to look at the tumor under a microscope, but requires slicing tissue from the patient to view multiple times.
- This is time consuming and expensive.
- “Current methods to prepare tissue for margin status evaluation during surgery have not changed significantly since first introduced over 100 years ago,” said co-author Ann Gillenwater, a head and neck surgery professor at University of Texas’ MD Anderson. “By bringing the ability to accurately assess margin status to more treatment sites, the DeepDOF has potential to improve outcomes for cancer patients treated with surgery.”
New Mercedes Screen Will Span Nearly Entire Width of Car, Regulates With AI | Interesting Engineering (21:32)
- Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz has debuted an impressive new feature for its forthcoming electric luxury sedan: a large, curved screen spanning almost the full width of the car
- Called the MBUX Hyperscreen
- Seems like HUDs for car systems are getting more and more futuristic. Especially with the use of AI:
- It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to understand the driver’s most-used functions. These may include navigation or hands-free phone calls. It will then auto-suggest these features while the car is in operation.
- For Example, if the driver often calls one person via phone during homeward transit, the system will suggest their call at the normalized time.
- Additionally, the screen allows the front passenger to view things that are obscured from the driver’s vision so as to not distract them.
- This HUD will be included in the Mercedes’ EQS which is but one of four EV battery-powered models to debut this year as big German auto manufacturers rush to close the gap in their collective rivalry with Tesla.
- What do you think? Will this become the norm or just for luxury vehicles?
Study explores the effects of immune responses on the aging brain | MedicalXpress (28:10)
- As human beings age, the functioning of organs gradually deteriorates.
- The immune system and the nervous system are both known to play a key role in the control of organs in the body. Moreover, past findings suggest that both of these systems change significantly during aging.
- A research paper, published in Nature Neuroscience, and performed by Researchers at Capital Medical University in Beijing showcases that the deterioration of neuroblasts, in the aging brain can increase the toxicity of natural killer cells (NK), which leads to impairments in neurogenesis and cognition.
- Neuroblasts: an embryonic cell from which nervous tissue is formed.
- Natural Killer Cells (NK): a type of white blood cell that is part of your innate immune system. These cells play an important role in your immune response since they are the first line of defense against dangerous infected or abnormal cells.
- The researchers conducted their examinations on brain tissue found in aged humans and mice.
- How did they get the aged human brain tissue? Maybe I don’t want to know the answer…
- With this brain tissue, the researchers wanted to investigate the impact of immune responses on neurogenesis and cognition
- Neurogenesis: the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain.
- NK cells accumulate in a specific area…found in both the brains of aged humans and mice.
- A localized expansion of these cells lets them become increasingly abundant, to the point that they significantly outnumber other types of immune cells.
- Neuroblasts in the dentate gyrus region exhibited a set of secretion-related characteristics.
- Reinforced the activity of NK cells and their surveillance functions. Ultimately, this led to the NK cells eliminating neuroblasts in the aged brain.
- The research suggests that the accumulation of NK cells in the aging brain can impair the process through which neurons are formed in the brain, known as neurogenesis.
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