Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Education

Seahorses are those almost comical looking creatures that inhabit shallow tropical waters in temperate climates.  They are really cool to look at and are a particular favorite of children.  Watching one “swim” can inspire wonder…how DO they do that anyway?  (Since I never made it much past the dog-paddle stage myself, observing a seahorse in motion is quite fascinating for me!)

But there’s more to the structure of a seahorse than meets the eye – and their specific skeleton and musculature may lead the way to improved technology and less stiffness when we move forward on invention of the next generation of robots!  Traditionally, our attempts to make robots have had some problems when it comes to mobility.  Further, the exoskeletal properties of the seahorse could lead to improvements in body armor or protective materials.  A study was led by Michael Porter, an assistant mechanical engineering professor at Clemson University in South Carolina that has been published online in the Journal Science.  His findings are quite amazing!

Read about it here:

Seahorse’s Amazing Tail

 

Could Inspire Better Robots

 

seahorse

The seahorse Hippocampus abdominalis at the Seattle Aquarium.
Credit: Dominique Adriaens

 

The piece linked below has some really interesting stuff about these little guys, too.  Give it a look-see…

Secret of the Sea Horse:How Creature Got its Curve

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Ponder the flatworm.  Yes, I’m serious.

If you’re not familiar with this lifeform, their resilience may astound you.  Particularly one such flatworm known as the Planarian.  This fairly unheralded and simple organism has the capacity to regenerate its body parts.  Yup – cut it in half and it will split itself and regrow into two separate worms.  But, the why and how behind this regeneration being possible has been elusive.

Although flatworms are a parasite that can cause great damage to the internal workings of the human body, this power of ‘self-replicating’ may hold the key to medical advances that we’ve been seeking.  And it’s all due to Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and an ongoing study at Tufts University.

It would allow doctors…who help patients who have suffered scarring and traumatic injuries, to regrow body parts from the patient’s own cells.

 

Read the article posted in wired.co.uk here to learn about the computer breakthrough:

Computer independently solves

120-year-old biological mystery

 

Flatworm

And a shorter piece in news.discovery.com: Computer A.I. Solves 120-Year-Old Biological Mystery

NOTE:  Press releases and other material on the work of the researchers named in the articles above can be found by typing “flatworm” into the search box on the Tufts University website – check out their A.I. work with the worms and other cool stuff they are doing with worms and electricity!!

What other ‘mysteries of life’ might A.I. solve for us?  Take up the challenge and make history for yourself!

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The divide between men and women in the field of science has been undergoing a slow, but steady, transformation.  Possibly the most familar female scientist in much of the developed world is Marie Curie.  There have been countless other woman pioneers over the past centuries…whose names are more obscure – but, whose contributions have also been of great value to humankind.

One group who lauds and applauds the brains and outstanding achievements of these women around the globe is EPWS: European Platform of Women Scientists.  Formed in 2005, more than 100 networks of women scientists and organisations promoting women in science from 40 countries have joined the Platform, working for the promotion of equal opportunities in the research fields of all scientific disciplines and aiming to give women scientists a voice in European research policy.

Click on the logo to learn more about this fascinating and dedicated group – explore their website and take note of the data section which addresses both the European and US promotion of science education for females:

EPWS

Perhaps you’ll be motivated to take advantage of what’s sure to be a rewarding discourse at their upcoming conference to be held in Berlin, Germany in November of 2015 (click on the link for more details…): Ready for Dialogue

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Travel can be risky – monetary crises, allergies to unusual foods, unsafe drinking water…and being a potential robbery target as you navigate unfamiliar locales.  Not that I’m advocating fear of traveling!  I love to go exploring anywhere and everywhere.  Sometimes, just getting there carries risks, too.

Read this short piece published by RedOrbit about a budding 17-year-old scientist named Raymond Wang from St. Georges School in Vancouver. Wang’s device sets up “personalized breathing zones” for each passenger.

Teen invents way to stop airborne viruses on planes

 

And watch the YouTube video linked there of the award for his prize-winning invention – and an interview with the inventor himself (you can click the pic below to go right to it…)

Airborne virus

With global concern about the spread of diseases, this young man’s invention may make the air we breathe safer for everyone – and it has applications far beyond commercial flights.  What adaptations can you envision?

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Anyone who has ever seen a cartoon or a horror film where an electronic device gets dropped into a tub in which an unsuspecting bather is relaxing knows that electric current and water don’t generally get along well – in fact the results can be pretty terrible.  And if you’ve spilled a beverage on your computer or handheld device, that too can put a ‘damper’ on your day fairly quickly.

But there are instances where water and technology can co-exist quite harmoniously; and, at Stanford University in California, researchers have come up with a rather fascinating concept – a synchronous computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets.  This is complex stuff – and awesomely COOL!

As stated by Manu Prakash, the theorist and researcher at the helm of the project, “… it opens up a new way of thinking of computation in the physical world”

Just add water

 

Water clock computer

 

Read this companion piece published on RedOrbit.com:

Engineers build first-ever water-based computer

 

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