119. Tesla Bots Out In 2022, Rocket Lab’s Self Funded Venus Mission, Bioengineered Corneas Restore Sight

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Show Notes:

Elon Musk's 'AI-Powered Tesla Bots' Will Replace 'Boring' Household Activities by 2022! | Tech Times (01:14)

  • Information was recently reported on the AI robots being developed by Tesla giving us a clearer picture of what life will be like on Earth in the following decades.

  • The Tesla Bot, about 172 cm tall (5’ 7”), seeks to gradually free up regular people brave enough to adopt a robot from "boring" duties. .

    • This comes from what Musk stated in an essay published in China Cyberspace magazine :

    • "Tesla Bots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring, and dangerous tasks. But the vision is for them to serve millions of households, such as cooking, mowing lawns, and caring for the elderly."

  • Musk stated that the robot, code-named "Optimus," will utilize the same chips and sensors as Tesla's so-called Autopilot software in 2021.

    • The robot will be able to lift 150 pounds (68 kg) and carry 45 pounds (20.4 kg), and it will be able to run 5 miles (8 km) per hour.

  • Additionally, he claimed that if his company can manage mass manufacturing, the Tesla Bot prototype should be available by the year's end.

    • But you should take this with a grain of salt since he has not always been the best with time predictions.

  • Life Wire previously reported the EV manufacturer plans to introduce the new Tesla Optimus machine in September.

    • According to “certain sources”, the prototype will arrive specifically on September 30.

  • Musk is optimistic about the power of robots:

    • “It is foreseeable that with the power of robots, we will create an era of extreme abundance of goods and services, where everyone can live a life of abundance. Perhaps the only scarcity that will exist in the future is for us to create ourselves as humans.”

World's first liquid-nitrogen outdoor cooling system set for trials | New Atlas (07:43)

  • Israeli company Green Kinoko is preparing for the first public tests of a remarkable clean outdoor cooling system.

    • The inverse of an outdoor cafe heater, cooling several tables per unit without using any electricity.

    • The secret: liquid nitrogen.

  • Standard tanks hold liquid nitrogen at -196 °C (-321 °F), which are loaded into the coolers, and when they're switched on, the liquid is slowly released.

    • Expands rapidly to nearly 700 times its liquid volume as it becomes a gas

    • The coolers then harness the energy of the expansion through a mechanical engine, using it to blow nitrogen gas out at a much more palatable -10 °C (14 °F).

  • The device is more environmentally friendly than an air conditioner since it uses no mains power and doesn't blow hot air out somewhere else.

    • Nitrogen makes up about 78% of the ambient air, it's completely safe to breathe.

    • The tanks will need replacing every 7-10 days, depending on how hot it is outside and how hard you're running them.

  • Green Kinoko's Moran Goldberg told New Atlas:

    • “Usually, the cost of the nitrogen is about €50-60 (US$50-60) per tank … Today, it's mostly produced as a byproduct when hospitals and medical services make pure oxygen. Of course, there's a logistics part of the equation we have to take into account in each country as well, but it's not going to cost more than the existing solutions. As far as a restaurant or venue is concerned, the cost of owning and running an outdoor heater is what we're benchmarking."

  • The company plans on running a pilot trial in the first weeks of September

  • With enquiries already pouring in from at least 40 different countries, Green Kinoko is preparing to gear up for serious volume production.

  • One thing of concern:

    • The safety and materials handling portion

    • Liquid nitrogen can cause extreme cold burns, explosions and even asphyxiation if improperly handled, so these units will need to be treated with care.

Rocket Lab will self-fund a mission to search for life in the clouds of Venus | Ars Technica (13:24)

  • Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck has made no secret of his love for humanity's next-closest world, Venus.

    • You know the hell-planet, which is all consumed by carbon dioxide, crushing pressures, and fiery temperatures.

  • Scientists believe that high above that terrible surface, in the clouds of Venus, there are air pressures not dissimilar to those found on Earth, where conditions might be conducive for some forms of life.

    • Peter Beck wants to use his small Electron rocket to find out

  • Recently Rocket Lab announced that it will self-fund the development of a small spacecraft, and its launch, that will send a tiny probe flying through the clouds of Venus for about 5 minutes, at an altitude of 48 to 60 km.

    • Electron will deliver the spacecraft into a 165 km orbit above Earth,

    • The rocket's high-energy Photon upper stage will perform a number of burns to raise the spacecraft's orbit and reach escape velocity.

    • Assuming a May 2023 launch—there is a backup opportunity in January 2025—the spacecraft would reach Venus in October 2023.

  • The spacecraft will be tiny, as deep-space probes go, containing a 1 kg scientific payload consisting of an autofluorescing nephelometer, which is an instrument to detect suspended particles in the clouds.

  • If Rocket Lab succeeds with a Venus mission, they’ll certainly catch the attention of scientists, NASA, and others interested in what would be a promising new era of low-cost, more rapid exploration of the Solar System.

A new breakthrough method is changing kidney's blood type to make transplants easier | Interesting Engineering (17:11)

  • Researchers from the University of Cambridge achieved altering the blood type of donor kidneys.

    • A development that will be life-saving for patients waiting for a suitable kidney.

  • The project, funded by charity Kidney Research UK, could increase the supply of kidneys available for transplant, particularly within ethnic minority groups who are less likely to be a match for the majority of donated kidneys.

    • A kidney from someone with blood type A cannot be given to someone with another blood type

    • changing the blood type of a kidney to the universal O-type, the kidney can now be transplanted into any patient.

    • Talked about something like this on Episode 96

  • Professor Mike Nicholson and Ph.D. student Serena MacMillan used a normothermic perfusion machine to flush blood infused with an enzyme through the deceased kidney.

    • Normothermic perfusion machine: a device that connects with a human kidney to pass oxygenated blood through the organ to better preserve it for future use

  • By taking B-type human kidneys and pumping the enzyme through the organ using our normothermic prefusion machine, we saw in a matter of just a few hours that we had converted a B-type kidney into an O-type,” stated Serena MacMillan

  • Professor Nicholson also talked on the importance of this:

    • “Blood group classification is also determined via ethnicity and ethnic minority groups are more likely to have the rarer B type. After successfully shifting blood group to the universal O type, we now need to look at whether our methods can be successful in a clinical setting and ultimately carried through to transplantation.”

These Bioengineered Corneas Gave 14 Blind People Their Sight Back | Singularity Hub (21:46)

  • Corneal blindness is one of the leading causes of blindness globally, accounting for over five percent of cases where people lose their sight.

    • Corneal transplants are one solution, but in addition to a shortage of donors, recipients must take immunosuppressants to keep their bodies from rejecting the transplanted cornea.

  • A research team at Linköping University and LinkoCare Life Sciences in Sweden have come up with what appears to be a highly viable alternative.

    • Using collagen protein extracted from pig skin as the base for an artificial cornea.

  • Besides having a structure similar to that of human skin, pig skin is a byproduct from the food industry (that means it’s abundant and cheap) and is already used for medical applications, including glaucoma surgery and as a wound dressing.

  • What did the researchers do with the skin?

    • Chemical crosslinking refers to intermolecular or intramolecular joining of two or more molecules by a covalent bond.

    • Purified the extracted collagen

    • Placed it in a cornea-shaped hydrogel scaffold, using chemical crosslinking to reinforce the collagen

  • Surgeons in India and Iran implanted the engineered corneas into 20 patients, 14 of whom were completely blind and 6 of whom had impaired vision.

    • Used a minimally-invasive surgical technique, making a laser incision in the existing cornea and inserting the implant

  • The team monitored the recipients for 24 months, noting no complications or adverse events.

    • The implant caused their corneas to return to normal thickness and curvature.

    • More importantly the 14 participants who were blind before the operation had their vision restored.

    • Those who weren’t blind moved from severe visual impairment to low or moderate vision.

    • Three patients even ended up with 20/20 vision

  • The team notes that its results are comparable to those of standard corneal transplants, but with a simpler surgical technique and no need for human donors.

  • Even though two years is a sufficient time frame to know that the transplants restored patients’ sight, the artificial tissue’s integration and stability will need to be monitored over a longer term.

  • The team’s next aim is to do a larger clinical trial involving 100 or more participants in Europe and the US, and to get the ball rolling on regulatory approval from the FDA.

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