Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

KS TechnologyPeople creating robots that resemble nature is nothing new, but engineers at Harvard University have made something spectacular – a completely soft bodied Octobot with zero batteries or wires that uses gas (and farts) to move. 🐙

robopus

Scientists made this adorable tiny bot by pouring silicone gels of varying stiffness into an octopus mold. A 3D printer finishes the legs. At its heart is a tiny circuit board like controller which ultimately controls its movements.

Wanna hear the fun part? The Octobot moves completely on its own, powered by gas. The controller at the bot’s center shunts liquid hydrogen peroxide through platinum reaction chambers in the legs, turning the fluid fuel into gas. The gas flows through the ‘tentacles’ and inflates the compartments inside the eight limbs.

The blueprint for this soft, autonomous robot was published in the journal Nature.

Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly - Nature
Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly – Nature

All that gas has to go somewhere! The team gave the robot small orifices so the gas has a place to escape. This makes sure the Octobot doesn’t burst leaving an ugly mess.

Now, I don’t want you thinking this little soft robot is running around the lab farting its way into the history books. According to the BBC, the circuit sets up an alternating movement, inflating four limbs at a time. So it is more of a twitching movement than a walking demonstration. But still very cool!

This exciting technology could pave the way toward more effective soft robots that could be used in search and rescue, exploration and to more safely interact with the fleshy world of humans.


krystian science spaceDo you love robots? Me too! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more epic tech stories + check out these posts:

 

Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

Titanosaur is One of the Largest Dinosaurs Ever: Giant Model Takes Over Museum in NYC

nature-science

It’s times like this that I really miss living in New York City. The American Museum of Natural History is one of my favorite places on the planet. Why is that? Because they build GIGANTIC dinosaur models that barely fit in the museum’s halls. Today the AMNH unveiled another must-see exhibit: a cast of a 122-foot-long dinosaur. Meet the titanosaur!

Titanosaur-Dinosaur
©AMNH/D.Finnin

The giant dino cast is so big its 39-foot neck protrudes through the doorway towards the elevator doors. To put its size into perspective – at a total of 122 feet, the titanosaur is 30 feet longer than a blue whale! This species of dinosaur is so new the paleontologists who discovered it haven’t named it yet. All we know is that it belongs to a group known as titanosaurs, and it is one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered.

Scientists believe this species of titanosaur lived in the forests of today’s Patagonia about 100 to 95 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, and weighed in at a whopping 70 tons! Its massive bones are filled with air pockets, so they are relatively light. It’s the only way a land animal could get so big.

The giant herbivore’s remains were excavated in the Patagonian desert region of Argentina by a team from the Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio led by JosĂ© Luis Carballido and Diego Pol. According to Scientific American, After 18 months of excavations, the researchers uncovered 223 fossilized bones from six individual titanosaur dinosaurs, including an 8-foot-tall femur, or thighbone. Judging by the image below, it looks like the excavation team was super excited about their discovery.

A team member is dwarfed by a bone of the gigantic dinosaur excavated in Patagonia. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Alejandro Otero
A team member is dwarfed by a bone of the gigantic dinosaur excavated in Patagonia. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Alejandro Otero

How on Earth did they make that gigantic cast? The AMNH flew down to Argentina and took 3D scans of all the bones in the field as well as in the lab, so they had the skeleton completely digitized. They used that data to carve bones out of giant slabs of foam. They molded all of the carved elements and cast the bones out of fiber glass. The cast was then painted and mounted. Neat stuff.

©AMNH/D.FINNIN
©AMNH/D.FINNIN

If you plan on visiting this incredible exhibit you have a little time. The titanosaur will be on display at the AMNH in New York City until January 2020.

Titanosaur is One of the Largest Dinosaurs Ever: Giant Model Takes Over Museum in NYC

Heart Warming Wild Otter Baby Born at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Krystian-Science-Nature-LogoThis baby otter is so cute it will melt your face off. Seriously. The Monterey Bay Aquarium received a big holiday surprise after a pregnant wild sea otter swam into its tide pool and gave birth to the cutest little pup!

Sea Otter Baby - Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sea Otter gives birth to newborn pup in Monterey Bay Aquarium Tide Pool. Photo: Tyson V. Rininger, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Apparently the mom was chilling in and around the Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool for a few days, which isn’t common for healthy otters. She had some of the Aquarium staff concerned by her behavior until she popped out a baby. 😍

The Aquarium considers the otter’s birth to be a conservation success story. Otters were once hunted to near extinction – with just 50 left in all of California by the early 1800’s. But, after legislative protection and a soft spot in the heart of people everywhere for the furry guys, the otter population has rebounded to steady levels – with 3,000 in central California alone.

otter Gif

Sea otters don’t have blubber to keep them warm in the cold water. They have a super thick fur coat instead, which they keep full of air bubbles while grooming for insulation. In the wild, sea otter moms spend a lot of time grooming their babies to keep them warm and buoyant.

Fun Fact: Sea otters have 1 million hairs per square inch—more than any other animal.

 

Heart Warming Wild Otter Baby Born at Monterey Bay Aquarium

SCIENCE VIDEO ROUNDUP: NASA Bursts Bubbles, Creepy Robot Baby, Caffeine Loving Bees & My New Kitties!

KS_LOGOs2_TVbroadcast

10-17 News Update - Krystian Science

KSTV Weekly Science Wrap-Up


1) NASA Floats Balls of Alka-Seltzer in Space

2) This Creepy Robot Baby Will Haunt Your Dreams

3) Honeybees Love Being Hyped Up on Caffeine

4) Viral Sea Otter Surprise Video

&

5) Meet My New Kitties – Tux and Frankie Mcallister! đŸ˜»

 

SCIENCE VIDEO ROUNDUP: NASA Bursts Bubbles, Creepy Robot Baby, Caffeine Loving Bees & My New Kitties!

Hog-Nosed Shrew Rat Seems Like A Harsh Name For This Newly Discovered Mammal

KS Nature

Scientists in Indonesia just discovered a new mammal and they named it the hog-nosed shrew rat. Seems a little harsh, right? But I guess that’s to be expected when you find a rat with a little piggy face. đŸ€đŸ·

Hog-Nose Rat
This new species of rat is called Hyorhinomys stuempkei, or the hog-nosed rat. Credit: Museum Victoria

According to the BBC, the unusual creature was discovered on Sulawesi island by researchers from Australia, Indonesia and the United States. While the hog-nosed rat (Hyorhinomys stuempkei) shares many traits with other rats in the area, there are a few features that are unique to the species. It has huge ears for an animal its size, a long hog-like nose with forward-facing nostrils, and flat nails.

It also has ‘very long urogenital hairs.’ That means it has long pubic hair – a lot of it. I don’t know what you want to do with that information, but its written right there in the report.

Morphologically, the hog-nosed rat is most similar to a group of endemic Sulawesi rats known commonly as “shrew rats.” These are long faced, carnivorous murines, and include the genera Echiothrix, Melasmothrix, Paucidentomys, Sommeromys, and Tateomys.

Discovery of this new genus and species brings known shrew rat diversity on Sulawesi to 6 genera and 8 species. Researchers believe the physical diversity among these animals is ‘remarkable’ considering the small number of species currently known. The findings were published in this month’s Journal of Mammalogy.

Hog-Nosed Shrew Rat Seems Like A Harsh Name For This Newly Discovered Mammal

Los Angeles Drops 96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ into the LA Reservoir Turning it into a Massive Ball Pit

KS_LOGOs2_PopCultureIf you asked a 4th grade class how they might solve California’s historic drought crisis, one kid might yell – “turn the water into a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit!” Well, Los Angeles did just that, and the video is pretty fun to watch. Give your inner child a high five and watch the video below. 😎

California is in the middle of its worst drought on record and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is doing its part to conserve water. This week, the city finished the final phase of its ‘shade ball’ initiative. LA dropped 96 million plastic black balls onto the surface of its 175 acre water reservoir, which is expected to save them $250 million and prevent the annual loss of over 300 million gallons of water. The shade balls are a cheaper alternative to LA’s other conservation ideas, which included splitting the basin in half or installing massive floating covers.

The LADWP said in a press release, “The small, black plastic balls protect water quality by preventing sunlight-triggered chemical reactions, deterring birds and other wildlife, and protecting water from rain and wind-blown dust.”

The reservoir, located in LADWP’s Van Norman Complex in Sylmar,  holds 3.3 billion gallons of water – enough to supply the entire city of Los Angeles with water for three weeks.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power released 96 million black shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir to reduce evaporation and deter algal growth. PHOTOGRAPH BY GENE BLEVINS, LA DAILY NEWS/ZUMA WIRE/CORBIS
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power released 96 million black shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir to reduce evaporation and deter algal growth. PHOTOGRAPH BY GENE BLEVINS, LA DAILY NEWS/ZUMA WIRE/CORBIS

The project cost a total of $34.5 million, but, at $0.36 each, the shade balls require no construction, parts, labor or maintenance aside from occasional rotation. They are designed to reduce evaporation, cool the water, and make the reservoir less susceptible to algae, bacterial growth, and chemical reactions.

The shade balls are made of black polyethylene and filled with water so they don’t blow away. According to the manufacturers, the balls should last up to 25 years.

Dr. Brian White, a now-retired LADWP biologist, was the first person to think of using shade balls for water quality. The idea came to him when he learned about the application of “bird balls” in ponds along airfield runways.

 

Los Angeles Drops 96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ into the LA Reservoir Turning it into a Massive Ball Pit

Massive Shark Report: ‘Deep Blue’ is Biggest Great White Caught on Film and Huge Tiger Shark Caught in Australia

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterI can’t decide if this footage of what is believed to be the biggest great white shark ever caught on film is terrifying or eerily soothing. Her name is ‘Deep Blue’ and not only is she over 20-FEET long – she may also be pregnant.

The footage was captured by shark researcher Mauricio Hoyos Padilla off Mexico’s Guadalupe Island in 2013, but wasn’t released until now.

 

When Padilla first spotted ‘Deep Blue’ he wasn’t afraid, he was excited. “When I saw Deep Blue for the first time, there was just one thought on my mind: HOPE. A shark of that size is at least 50 years old and that tells me protection and conservation efforts are working. Deep Blue has been spared from long lines and the inherent dangers of living in the wild,” he wrote.

Padilla wants to raise awareness and help protect these magnificent creatures. New born baby great whites and pregnant females run the risk of getting caught in lines and nets in shallow waters and the illegal trade of shark teeth, jaws, and fins is sadly very lucrative.

This isn’t the first time the world has seen Deep Blue. Discovery featured the large great white in a Shark Week documentary last year.


The news of Deep Blue comes just days after the corpse of an 18-FOOT tiger shark was pulled onto a fishing boat off the coast of Australia. According to reports, Geoff Brooks posted two images of the huge predator to Facebook on Tuesday, claiming that the tiger shark was caught near Lennox Head, on the northern New South Wales coast. But, there is much debate as to exactly when and how the shark was killed.

Massive Shark Report: ‘Deep Blue’ is Biggest Great White Caught on Film and Huge Tiger Shark Caught in Australia

SCIENCE VIDEO WRAP UP: Colossal Squid Sighting, Cosmic Photobomb, and Peacock Spiders Dance!

KS_LOGOs2_TVbroadcastKSTV WEEKLY SCIENCE WRAP UP


1) Colossal Squid Caught on Camera!

2) The ‘Dark Side’ of the Moon Photobombs Earth

3) New Peacock Spiders Discovered in Australia

4) The Winner of Nat Geo’s Latest Photo Contest

 

Video

First Known Venomous Frogs Uses Spiky Faces To Deliver Deadly Headbutt

KS Strange ScienceDon’t try to butt heads with these little guys – it just might kill you! The first known venomous frogs have been discovered Brazil. They use small spines on their head, and a vicious head thrash, to inject their potent venom. Yikes! 🐾

Corythomantis greeningi. CREDIT: Carlos Jared / Butantan Institute
Corythomantis greeningi. CREDIT: Carlos Jared / Butantan Institute

Poisonous frogs are nothing new, but ‘truly’ venomous frogs are. Traditionally, venomous creatures bite, sting or stab you to do their damage, while you have to bite or touch poisonous critters to feel their effects. I suppose the venomous variety are a bit more proactive with their toxins. 🐍

“Discovering a truly venomous frog is nothing any of us expected, and finding frogs with skin secretions more venomous than those of the deadly pit vipers of the genus Bothrops was astounding,” co-author Edmund Brodie, Jr., of Utah State University said in a press release.

Brodie and his colleague Carlos Jared of Instituto Butantan in SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil, study Corythomantis greeningi (Greening’s frog) and Aparasphenodon brunoi (Bruno’s casque-headed frog). Jared learned the frogs were venomous the hard way after a Greening’s frog ‘stung’ his hand, which resulted in excruciating pain that spread up his arm – lasting five hours!

According to NBC News, a single gram of the venom from the more toxic frog species, Aparasphenodon brunoi, could kill more than 300,000 mice, or about 80 humans, while a gram of the venom from Corythomantis greeningi could kill more than 24,000 mice, or about six humans.

The frogs release a white, toxic mucus from glands in their skin when they feel threatened. Then they use the spines on their skull to drive the toxins into its enemy’s flesh. No thanks…

 

First Known Venomous Frogs Uses Spiky Faces To Deliver Deadly Headbutt

Humpback Whales, Camel Racing, and a Sauna in the Sky: View the Winners of National Geographic’s 2015 Traveler Photo Contest

KS_LOGOs2_PopCultureThe winners of the 27th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest have just been announced! 🎉

First place went to Anuar Patjane for his photo of divers swimming with a humpback whale and her newborn calf off the coast of Mexico. He won an eight-day photo expedition for two to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. Not a bad deal!

Winner of the 2015 Traveler Photo Contest. Credit: Anuar Patjane
Winner of the 2015 Traveler Photo Contest. Credit: Anuar Patjane

The 2015 Traveler Photo Contest judges reviewed nearly 18,000 photographs, and ten pictures won top prizes. Photographers entered pictures into four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. You can view the top ten below – click here to browse all of the entries and pick your favorites!

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