DARPA Developed One of The Fastest Robots Around – The Cheetah

According to Business Week the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding Boston Dynamics’ development of a prototype robot called the Cheetah. The robot managed to set a new land speed record at 18 mph for legged robots on March 5.

Marc Raiberts, the head of Boston Dynamics, believes the cat robot should be able to clock speeds up to 40mph after “key design and technical features are further refined.” Raibert also believes this kind of technology can be beneficial in a battlefield to operate as a “scout.” The company also believes that it can be useful during civilian disasters although no such time frame has been released for when this sort of technology could be used.

Right now the Cheetah runs while “tethered to a hydraulic pump for power and relied on a boom-like device to help maintain power.” Raibert referred to this set up as “training wheels.” He also said that later this year the company would start testing a free-running robot that will have a gas-powered engine and software capable of running 3D movements.

The main problem for getting this type of robot working on the ground is the battery. There is very little room for a battery on this machine, so the battery must not only be small but has to be strong enough to power it.

Raibert told Time, “Our approach is to get the basic concept and scientific solution working in the lab in a simplified setting then do the system integration needed to get the machine outdoors.”

Spider Silk Turned into Violin Strings

As someone who is unnaturally freaked out by spiders, the idea of a musical instrument’s strings being made from spider silk sort of gave me an unnerving feeling; however, the actual process of how this came about was very intriguing.

Dr. Shigeyoshi Osaki of Japan’s Nara Medical University used the dragline silk of 300 female Nephilia maculata, a species of “golden orb-weavers” known for having complex webs, to create actual strings for a violin. Each string required Osaki to twist 3,000 to 5,000 strands of silk into one “bundle” going in the same direction. Then he twisted three of the bundles in the opposite direction to form the actual strings that would be used.

Once the strings were made, Dr. Osaki had to test the strength.  This was important because he wanted to them to uphold like any professional violinist would expect while performing. The strings could withstand more tension than aluminum-coated nylon-core string, but not as much as a more traditional but less frequently used gut string.

An electron microscope revealed that the twisting had changed the “filaments from circular to polygonal,” and this caused no space to exist between the strings. According to Dr. Osaki this particular feature is what not only gives the strings their strength but “unique tone.”

He stated, “The violin strings are a novel practical use for spider silk as a kind of high value-added product, and offer a distinctive type of timbre for both violin players and music lovers worldwide.”

So for the rest of the population that has a creepy crawling sensation when thinking of spider webs, there may actually be something very appealing starting here that can change the outlook of spiders.

Artificial No-Pump Heart

It has already been placed into several calves successfully, and at least two humans.  They each had a complete artificial heart replace their actual heart, and none of them now has a pulse.  What if someone you knew was walking around without a pulse? Personally, I am calling vampire.

Seriously, a new developing technology could change the way people with heart failure perceive it.  Right now there are people waiting on lists that may never see a heart.  Some of them are attached to heart pumps that are there to keep them alive until their name can be called for a transplant.  It really is no way to live.

As of today on the UNOS website there are 113,163 people on the waiting list, and out of that amount only 72,583 will even be considered for a donor heart.  Last year in the United States according to the Health Resources and Services Administration there were only 2,203 heart donors.  So, basically having heart failure and getting a transplant is like winning the lottery.

The new continuous-flow hearts that steadily deliver blood to the body are being developed by Dr. Billy Cohn and Dr. Bud Frazier at the Texas Heart Institute.  All of them have placed turbines in individuals for years, and these help the heart to work.  Their hope is that the new artificial heart will be able to completely replace sick hearts in people.

The invention of the Archimedes’ screw would go on to help power the LVAC, a pump that helps the heart to work and later the HeartMate II.  After several amazing cases of patients’ hearts stopping to work to all together, and the LVAC taking over as a way of delivering blood to the body, Cohn was further inspired to find a way to come up with a turbine that could completely replace the heart.

Cohn placed the first continuous-flow artificial heart into a calf named Meeko.  The device is based on ventricular design and will push blood continuously throughout the patient’s body instead of in pumps.  Cohn and Frazier discovered that the pulse was only necessary for the actual heart, and Cohn said, “The pulsatility of the flow is essential for the heart, because it can only get nourishment in between heartbeats. If you remove that from the system, none of the other organs seem to care much.”

3,500 Cellphones Were Used to Create This Pegasus Sculpture

Talk about sending a whole bunch of cellphones to waste. I know the sculpture is pretty bad ass, but let’s say that each phone is just $100 per cellphone, MINIMUM, this is the most expensive sculpture of a Pegasus that I’ve ever seen. The sculpture is going to be at the entrance of the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona.

It was constructed out of 2000 feet of metal rods that make up the inside wire frame, the cellphones were then tagged to the exterior of the frame. Overall, Pegasus took over 720 hours to make and it stands just shy of 19 feet and has a wingspan of 16 feet. It was manufactured by Huawei, a Chinese company, to introduce their new Ascend D Quad smartphone – which Huawei considered to be the “world’s fastest” phone. That’s why they are using the Pegasus as their mythological creature. Whether or not the phone actually stands up to the Pegasus, that’s a different story.

Even if the phone doesn’t make it big, the statue is pretty impressive. It would be sweet if the phones could actually turn on to make it glow at night, but I doubt that’s possible.  Via CNET

Container Lets You Pour Just The Right Amount Every Time!

Don’t you just hate having your pasta or rice inside that bag and regardless of how much you try to guess a serving for 2 you always end up making food for 10 people? I do, I’m usually having to use a measuring cup to make sure I have just the right amount – and even then I make food for 10. You have to admit, it’s hard to guess how much a person eats, especially when you take rice and it expands to a size you didn’t know was possible.

I also hate not being able to guess exactly how much cereal I need for my milk to be fully gone when I’m done eating my cereal. This is why I love this new plastic container from Quirky. You can place two dividers in the main container that always allow you to pour the exact same amount of whatever you have inside the container.

This is great for me because now I can just simply pour the box over while I’m half asleep and not have to worry about how  much cereal I’m having to pour. This is also great for parents who have children that like to over fill their plates full of cereal. And lastly, this is great for people that read the back of the box and it says – serving amount, 14 servings – now you’ll really have an Idea of how much you need each time. Simply set the lid to the 1 serving and tilt the box over to feed the right number of people.

The container can hold 3.25 quarts of dry food, it lets you pour down to half a cup of goods at a time. The product is no longer on the design stages, this is going to be out for sure, but they didn’t say when exactly. Check out the gallery at the bottom to see how convenient this really is! via The Green Head

Google Glasses to Be Released Later This Year

Google has invented the nerd world’s next big trend, and I should know because I live in this world.  That trend is glasses that operate like a smartphone.  This just brings to mind the Terminator scene where the terminator is looking at the world through a computer.  Not to say that Google will turn us all into actual Androids, but it is very cool.

The glasses will give the wearer a real time view of the world around them.  This means that they will be able to see navigation routes, friend updates, and be able to record and take pictures.  The glasses themselves resemble Oakley Thumps.  This only adds to futuristic styling imagination that Google is creating.

The New York Times reported that these glasses will be using solely an Android system, but 9 to 5 Google released an update that said the glasses will tie into Google Cloud.  The glasses are meant to be used in combination with Google’s “location services.” They might have a version of Android, but the glasses are meant to allow the wearer to walk around with information popping up on the screen that is coming from nearby Wi-Fi services and GPS.

The glasses will have a heads up display in one lens that is not transparent.  The navigation works by head tilting to scroll and click.  The storage available is speculated to be at least 1GHz.  There will also be voice input and output available.

The release of the glasses will start out as a “pilot program” later in the year to allow Google to see if there is any actual mass market appeal for them.  I do not know about the rest of the planet, but I would definitely like to try a pair of these out.

Philippe Ramette’s Upside Down and Sideway Pictures

These gravity defying images were taken by Philppe Rammette, and while they do look like he’s achieving the impossible, the image is a trick, but you should know that there was NO Photoshop involved in any of the images. Not even to correct the lighting in the image.

Rammette uses metal frames to support his body in these weird locations, he then lies on them and with the assistance of a second photographer, he positions the camera to achieve the gravity defying stunt. Even though some of the images look extremely dangerous, he was in safe hands. The gallery at the bottom shows you 9 of the best pictures that came out of his album, at first glance you can’t really figure out what’s wrong with the image. Take a look at the first image in the lake and you’ll instantly see what I mean.  Via Xippas

The Scale of the Universe 2

By far one of the coolest sites available to anyone with a nerdy bone for learning about the universe. The Scale of the Universe 2 site is like the Hitchhiker’s Guide for any possible living organism or thing in the universe, more or less pertaining to Earth; however, there are plenty of objects that are outside of the Earth.

Anyone interested in spending time learning small facts about the universe should check out this site. The further you scroll to the right the bigger things get and vice-versa to the left. Each object can be clicked on to learn the size and a fun fact.

The creators of this site Cary and Micheal Huang have done an amazing job as well as the musical composer Kevid McLeod. Personally, this site would be an excellent tool to use in school science classes. If you want to run the app, simply click on the button at the bottom to get it started. Definitely a great work that needs to be checked out!

[js]
$(“#lbhtml”).click(function() {
var html = $(‘‘);

$.lightbox(html, {
width : 750,
height : 550
});

return false;
});
[/js]