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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.

 

At the heart of our recent "Our Companion the Robot" investigation is the quest for the artificial intelligence.  From HAL 9000 and KITT to Iron Man's JARVIS science fiction is teeming with AIs.  So how soon before you will have your own constant companion?  Sooner than you think.

The creators of CUBIC were inspired by JARVIS to create an AI that unlike Siri, has the ability to integrate with your home giving you voice command over your environment.  Thanks to some cloud computing and an app, Cubic can follow you wherever your adventure takes you.

 Cubic was recently funded by an Indiegogo campaign so expect to see Cubic soon.