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Moment of Science - Hawking

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The next chapter in our season two finale is here! Professor Pedantic struggles through his first day as the director of the Laboratory of Applied Geekdom.  But, he does manage to introduce our first interview into bionics, with Mr. Mike Hogan.  What bionics is actually capable of surprised even Doctor Geek.

 

Oh and what of Doctor Geek?  In his exile, he has teamed up with The Cobalt Parrot’s Cantina’s own Rick and Sam.  While building a dimensional backdoor to the lab, Doctor Geek is sent to the far future where, no pressure or anything, he learns that the universe depends on him retaking the lab.   

 

Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit organization started last May by Albert Manero with the goal of making affordable, 3-D-printed bionic limbs for children with amputations, helped build an “Iron Man” themed bionic arm for Alex Pring, a 7-year-old boy who was born with a partially developed limb.  Alex received his new arm from non-other than Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr.

 Like all true bionics, the prosthetic is controlled directly by the mind.   The arm works via surface electromyography.  Electromyography (EMG) reads the electrical signal from the brain and transmits it to the arm, producing a signal that triggers the opening and closing of the hand. 

 Manero said he was inspired by Ivan Owen, a special effects artist and puppeteer in Bellingham, Wash., who developed the first 3-D printed hand. Owen posted his design and instructions on Thingiverse, an online community to share 3-D designs.

 

“Alex’s arm is 3-D printed on a Stratasys printer, which takes approximately 40 to 50 hours to manufacture,” Manero said. “Assembly and the electronics take some additional time. Each arm is uniquely tailored for the user, both in fit and in expression.”

 

 

 

UC Berkley brings a new definition to the term “custom home.” The Bloom Pavilion measures 9 feet high, 12 feet wide and 12 feet deep, and has a traditional Thai floral motif design.  Unlike other 3D printed buildings which extruded wet cement through a nozzle, this new building was printed using dry powder cement.  According to team leader Ronald Rael, they "are mixing polymers with cement and fibers to produce very strong, lightweight, high-resolution parts on readily available equipment; it's a very precise, yet frugal technique."

There sure has been a lot of rapid development with regards to the 3D printer.  A Chinese company built 10 houses in less than 24 hours and in January finished a 5 story apartment block.  How soon before we work or live in a 3D printed building?

 

 

 

Boston Dynamics is at it again.  Their latest robot, named Spot is an improvement over its predecessor.  Unlike Wild Cat, Spot is much quieter.  It is fascinating to watch Spot navigate both indoors and out.  The original K9 and R2D2 remote controlled props were never capable of handling such issues with so much ease.  In fact, Spot is able to walk up stairs better than I can.