A quantum gravity gradiometer has successfully traced an underground tunnel, opening a world of possibilities for detecting objects underground. This latest breakthrough will provide a map of what was previously invisible. Impacts will be far-reaching, including infrastructure maintenance and development, archeological research, natural resources exploration, geological forecasting, and more.
The quantum gravity gradiometer operates at a sub-molecular level using the principles of quantum physics to identify variations in microgravity. Previous sensors have had a variety of environmental obstacles, such as the presence of vibrations, preventing them from gathering data for accurate mapping.
“Detection of ground conditions such as mine workings, tunnels, and unstable ground is fundamental to our ability to design, construct and maintain housing, industry, and infrastructure,” said Professor George Tuckwell, Director for Geoscience and Engineering at RSK.
By providing a lens into what lies beneath, this innovative sensor will lead to new applications for gravity surveying and exciting discoveries as a result: a welcome advancement impacting national security, industry advancement, and overall human knowledge.
Robotic fish can be powered to swim indefinitely with lab-grown human heart cells that rebuild themselves. When heart cells are lost from disease and inflammation, they do not grow back. This breakthrough shows it is possible to create human heart tissue in a lab that can beat independently, stay healthy, and become stronger.
These robots are constructed with paper, plastic, gelatin, and two strips of heart muscle cells along each side of the fish's body. When one strip of heart muscle contracts, the other stretches, leading the fish to swim through the fluid.
"The really interesting thing about these fish," said Kit Parker, a professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Harvard, "is how long they would swim and how fast they would swim in the dish." Replicating healthy human heart cells in a lab could mean incredible advancements for heart medicine in the future. Robots like these fish can assist scientists in testing the behavior and viability of lab-grown cells. This unlikely combination could even contribute to the possibility of heart transplants with lab-grown heart tissue.
Robots can now morph into different shapes, switching between land and air vehicles, as well as self-heal. These robots can better withstand environmental forces and navigate physical obstacles. This breakthrough widely broadens the applications for multi-functional robots.
The creators designed the morphing structure using rubber embedded with a low melting point alloy mesh and tendril-like heaters. These heaters cause the alloy to melt when activated, allowing the rubber to change its shape. The structure becomes more rigid again when the metal cools.
"These composites are strong enough to withstand the forces from motors or propulsion systems, yet can readily shape morph, which allows machines to adapt to their environment," said Edward J. Barron III, co-author and graduate student at Virginia Tech.
A robot that can change shape while still possessing a rigid structure to perform the designed function will revolutionize the soft robotics field. Creating self-healing adaptable machines widen the functions possible in each robot, increases resiliency, and inspires countless previously impossible applications.