Scientists create a four-winged robot insect that flies with grace

It’s difficult to make an insect-like flying robot — realistic four-winged bots are typically too heavy, while lighter two-winged models tend to fly erratically. USC researchers have edged one step closer to the dream machine, however. They’ve created Bee+, a four-winged bot (pictured at right) that flies with more of the agility and poise of real insects while weighing just over 0.003oz. The trick was to drop earlier bimorph actuators, cantilevers made of two layers of piezoelectric material with a passive layer in between, with unimorphs that only have one piezoelectric layer. The four actuators combined weigh half as much as bimorphs would at just under 0.002oz, reducing the wing loading and significantly improving control. The tiny flier can follow paths, dodge obstacles, perch and land. It’s even simpler to build than There’s still […]

Should Companies Use AI to Assess Job Candidates?

Few things seem creepier than algorithms mining our voices or photos to determine whether we should be considered for a job, and yet we’re not that far from this scenario at all. What’s more, it may not be as creepy as you think. For starters, all organizations struggle with talent identification, which is why many complain that they are unable to find the right person for key positions, and why most people end up in jobs that are far from inspiring. Consider that even in the biggest economy in the world, where talent management practices are far more science-driven and sophisticated than anywhere else, the labor market is quite inefficient. Today in the U.S., there are around six million job seekers for seven million job openings. Even if we look at the global knowledge economy, comprised of the most […]

Life 3.0 and Biohacking: Rewriting Human Life in the Digital Age

I. Setting the stage Healthcare is a rare bird. We can neither disregard it nor make it cheap, simple, and safe (Fernandez et al., 2012). In fact, we globally spend more than 10% of the GDP in healthcare and about $1,000 per capita every year (World Health Organization, 2018). But this is not the whole story: approved drugs halve every 9 years (i.e., Eroom’s Law); population aged over 60 years is expected to grow by 56% over the next ten years (TM Capital, 2017); the workforce to meet patients demand is declining; and the need of having a higher quality of care and more control and transparency over individual healthcare are affecting the sector. All this is creating the perfect storm for biohacking to emerge as a new healthcare paradigm that could […]

On May 20th, the kilogram will no longer be defined by a lump in France

On May 20th, World Metrology Day, the scientific community will officially change the definition of the kilogram. For 130 years, the kilo has been defined by a physical cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy, known as Le Grand K and stored in a vault outside of Paris. But every time scientists handled it, the cylinder lost atoms — an estimated 50 micrograms over its lifetime. So, beginning Monday, the kilogram will officially be measured by a physical constant known as the Planck constant. The change has been years in the making, and on May 20th, three other units of measurement — the ampere, kelvin and mole — will also get new definitions. Those proved to be easier to update, as they weren’t based on a Victorian-era lump in France. The kilo will now correspond […]