Explore further The robots, James and Rosie, can respond to orders like “make me a sandwich” with the use of visual-detection systems from an Xbox Kinect. They also use perception algorithms to assess surroundings, and to make inferences about what they see, in order to execute their tasks. Robotic Roommates Making Pancakes The robots are kitted out with reasoning mechanisms all along the way that make them capable of decisions, rather than decisions that are pre-programmed. According to the Munich team, these robots can be more flexible and more reliable than robots using control programs without cognitive strengths.According to TUM, CRAM “grounds symbolic expressions in the knowledge representation into the perception and actuation routines, and into the essential data structures of the control programs.” The CRAM kernel consists of the CPL plan language and the KnowRob knowledge processing system. Both are coupled to perception and actuation components. The project notes also say that CRAM is designed to be highly modular; plug-ins can provide further cognitive capabilities.James and Rosie belong to a family of four robot platforms in the lab: There are TUM-James (PR2), TUM Rosie, iCub and Bender. The PR2 is a standard research platform for mobile manipulation by Willow Garage. The PR2 Beta has a mobile base, two arms for manipulation, a sensor suite, and sixteen CPU cores for computation. Each PR2 Beta comes with the open source ROS robotics framework. TUM Rosie was built around the KUKA-omnidirectional base and KUKA-lightweight LWR-4 arms. Meantime, one might see further corners turned by robotics researchers at TUM. Their research will continue to explore how robots can perform everyday tasks such as setting tables, emptying dishwashers, and preparing meals. James and Rosie Preparing Popcorn and Sandwiches (Full Version) Citation: TUM robots ‘Kinect’ to sandwiches and popcorn (2011, December 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-tum-robots-kinect-sandwiches-popcorn.html (PhysOrg.com) — A robotics team from the Technical University of Munich are now able to show an audience how their cuisine robots James and Rosie have graduated from a previously famous repertoire of sausages and pancakes to making salami and cheese sandwiches and stovetop popcorn. The robots do so with an impressive measure of dexterity and precision in turning on a stove and the other tasks. More information: ias.cs.tum.edu/research/pr2betavia IEEE University of Ulster celebrates acquisition of PR2 robot by having it solve Rubik’s cube © 2011 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. James and Rosie Preparing Popcorn and Sandwiches (short version) The make-me-a-sandwich goal of a toasted-bread salami and cheese sandwich with sandwich spread, for example, consists of complex actions. The team’s goal is developing robots that don’t need instructions for each and every step.The video shows James and Rosie performing their tasks with precision. Moving around the pots, pouring popcorn neatly into a bowl, placing bread slices in the toaster, forking up items for the sandwich, all indicate the TUM team is making progress in developing “autonomous” robots that can perform everyday activities.James and Rosie are part of the school’s CRAM project. CRAM stands for Cognitive Robot Abstract Machine. CRAM is a set of software tools to design and deploy robots that use cognition to manipulate items.
Explore further (Phys.org)—Excitement is mounting for astronomers and star gazers the world over as word spreads that Comet ISON may go down in the history books as one of the flashiest ever. First discovered in September of last year by Russian astronomers, Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) has been drawing attention ever since. © 2013 Phys.org New ‘Sun-skirting’ comet could provide dazzling display in 2013 Citation: Comet ISON shaping up to be a spectacular display (2013, January 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-01-comet-ison-spectacular.html Image of comet ISON as seen on 22 September 2012 through a 0.25-m reflector by the Team of observers of Remanzacco Observatory. Credit: Remanzacco Observatory Comets, as most are well aware, are balls of ice and rock that move though space – when they get close enough to the sun, they sprout tails giving rise to poetic descriptions of beauty by some and claims of mystical phenomenon by others. Comet ISON is expected to be at its brightest in late November of this year, leading some to link it with the Star of Bethlehem which the Bible says led the three wise men to the newborn baby Jesus. Its perihelion – closest approach to the sun – is expected to occur on November 28 and the comet will likely be best viewed in the northern hemisphere.Of course, projecting the brilliance of a comet or its tail length is an iffy proposition to be sure. It could just break apart when it nears the sun (it’s expected to come as close as 32,000 miles), leaving us here on Earth less than impressed with the results, (see Comet Kohoutek – 1973.) More optimistically, because of its size and orientation, it might just present us with the brightest comet show ever seen.Right now Comet ISON is in Jupiter’s orbit, hurtling towards a rendezvous with the sun. As it approaches, bits of it will be vaporized, leading to the creation of a tail. Once it arrives, it will whip around the sun at approximately 425,000 mph and then head back into space passing our planet on its way, allowing us to see it in all its finery.The best viewing time for the comet is expected to be early in the morning before the sun comes up, as it approaches, and then at both pre-dawn and just after the sun sets as the comet is leaving. When it’s approaching, its tail will follow behind it, but as it’s leaving, due to solar wind, it will be following its own tail. Estimates on Comet ISON’s brightness vary – some suggest it might be equal in luminescence to the planet Mars, while others hint that it might be as bright as the moon, which means it would be visible even during daylight hours. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
The magneto-acoustic hybrid nanomotor has dual propulsion modes: an acoustic field (ultrasound) operates on the nanomotor’s gold nanorod segment, while a magnetic field operates on the nanomotor’s helical segment. Credit: Li, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society The researchers, led by Professor Joseph Wang at the University of California, San Diego, have published a paper on the new class of nanomotors in a recent issue of Nano Letters. As magnetic and acoustic fields are biocompatible and commonly used in medicine, the fuel-free nanomotors could be especially useful for biomedical applications.The nanomotor can respond to both types of fields due to its bisegmented design: the gold nanorod segment responds to ultrasound, and the nanohelical magnetic segment responds to magnetic fields. The entire device is approximately 3000 nm (3 µm) long.As the researchers explain, using different fields to power a single device offers the potential for rapid reconfiguration of the device’s operation. For example, switching between the two different fields rapidly changes the direction of motion because the fields act on opposite ends of the device. In addition, tuning the amplitude of the ultrasound waves or the frequency of the magnetic field enables rapid speed regulation, while applying a rotational magnetic field induces a torque that results in corkscrew motion.Using fields instead of fuel for power also gives the nanomotor the advantage of being able to operate in highly ionic environments, such as seawater and blood. These media typically interfere with the propulsion mechanisms of chemically powered nanomotors, which often rely on the electric-field-induced motion of electrophoresis. Explore further Citation: Fuel-free nanomotor is powered by ultrasound and magnetic fields (2015, June 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-06-fuel-free-nanomotor-powered-ultrasound-magnetic.html Play Nanomotors can rapidly change direction and speed under different strengths of magnetic and acoustic fields. Credit: Li, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society When several of the new nanomotors are placed in close proximity, the researchers found that they exhibit swarming behavior similar to the collective behavior seen in some biological systems, such as schools of fish. The researchers observed three different states of switchable collective behavior, depending on the applied field: stable aggregation with ultrasound only, directional swarm motion with magnetic fields only, and a swirling swarm vortex with both fields. In the future, the broad scope of operations offered by the magnetic and acoustic actuations could lead to an even more intriguing possibility: smart nanovehicles that autonomously reconfigure themselves in response to changes in the environment or their own performance in order to achieve a predetermined mission. This ability could prove especially useful for biomedical applications, such as imaging, drug delivery, and diagnosis. Other applications may include nanoscale manipulation and assembly in the wider field of artificial nanomachines. Journal information: Nano Letters More information: Jinxing Li, et al. “Magneto-Acoustic Hybrid Nanomotor.” Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01945 © 2015 Phys.org PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen New study shows the dynamics of active swarms in alternating fields (Phys.org)—Nanoscale motors, like their macroscale counterparts, can be built to run on a variety of chemical fuels, such as hydrogen peroxide and others. But unlike macroscale motors, some nanomotors can also run without fuel, instead being powered by either magnetic or acoustic fields. In a new paper, researchers for the first time have demonstrated a nanomotor that can run on both magnetic and acoustic fields, making it the first magneto-acoustic hybrid fuel-free nanomotor. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Explore further Most people would not think of IBM as a place for chemists working with plastics, but the Almaden facility was designed to conduct research into a wide variety of applications, ranging from food safety, to medical imaging, nanomedicine, services science and atomic scale storage. Solving the problem of an ever building supply of polycarbonate waste actually fits well with IBM’s research efforts because so many of the company’s products use it as a base component.Polycarbonates are a hard type of plastic, they are used to make CDs, DVDs, phone screens and a host of other hard plastic products, and as the researchers note, the material is extremely popular—approximately 2.7 million tons of it is produced annually around the world. But unlike soda bottles, polycarbonates are not easily recycled for reuse which means they generally wind up in landfills and dumps. Also they are a type of plastic that release small amounts of BPA when used and large amounts as they break down, allowing the chemical to leach into landfills, very likely leading to massive problems in the future. In this new effort, the team at IBM has found a way to convert polycarbonate material into another type of plastic called polyaryl ether sulfone (PSU) that can be used in applications such as medical equipment, fiber optics and purifying water.The process involves heating the plastic along with carbonate salts (akin to baking powder) and a fluoride reactant, which causes a cascading reaction to occur—first decomposing the material into a monomer and then condensing the result to a PSU. The resulting plastic is harder than typical polycarbonates, which makes it ideal for other applications and easier on the environment because it will not leach BPA into the ground once it makes its way to a landfill. 3D chemical structure of bisphenol A. Credit: Edgar181 via Wikimedia Commons This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2016 Phys.org (Phys.org)—A team of researchers at IBM’s Research facility in Almaden, San Jose (the same site where Watson was developed) has developed a one-step process for recycling polycarbonates into another type of plastic—one that does not release bisphenol A (BPA) into the environment when it is used or dumped into a landfill. They have published a paper describing their new technique in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A new way to degrade plastics that turns them into fuel Citation: A new way to recycle polycarbonates that prevents BPA leaching (2016, June 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-06-recycle-polycarbonates-bpa-leaching.html More information: Computational and experimental investigations of one-step conversion of poly(carbonate)s into value-added poly(aryl ether sulfone)s, PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1600924113AbstractIt is estimated that ∼2.7 million tons poly(carbonate)s (PCs) are produced annually worldwide. In 2008, retailers pulled products from store shelves after reports of bisphenol A (BPA) leaching from baby bottles, reusable drink bottles, and other retail products. Since PCs are not typically recycled, a need for the repurposing of the PC waste has arisen. We report the one-step synthesis of poly(aryl ether sulfone)s (PSUs) from the depolymerization of PCs and in situ polycondensation with bis(aryl fluorides) in the presence of carbonate salts. PSUs are high-performance engineering thermoplastics that are commonly used for reverse osmosis and water purification membranes, medical equipment, as well as high temperature applications. PSUs generated through this cascade approach were isolated in high purity and yield with the expected thermal properties and represent a procedure for direct conversion of one class of polymer to another in a single step. Computational investigations performed with density functional theory predict that the carbonate salt plays two important catalytic roles in this reaction: it decomposes the PCs by nucleophilic attack, and in the subsequent polyether formation process, it promotes the reaction of phenolate dimers formed in situ with the aryl fluorides present. We envision repurposing poly(BPA carbonate) for the production of value-added polymers. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Explore further New technique overcomes genetic cause of infertility An international team of researchers has discovered that contrary to conventional views, a male mammal was found able to exert inadvertent gender bias ratios in his offspring. In their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the team describes a study they carried out with inbred mice and what they found. Citation: Male mice found able to bias gender ratios of offspring (2017, August 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-08-male-mice-bias-gender-ratios.html The traditional view among scientists is that only female mammals are able to exert influence on the male-to-female ratio of offspring—for instance, by exerting influence over which sperm fertilize their eggs or by aborting to get rid of undesired offspring. While it is true that the male provides the X or Y chromosome that ultimately determines gender, it has been shown that they do so in ways they cannot control—male mice naturally produce slightly more Y chromosome-laden sperm, for example. But now, it appears that they are able to exert influence in another way—by changing the ratio of X and Y chromosome sperm cells they produce.To find out if male mice could influence the gender ratio of their offspring, they paired 58 normal, healthy white-footed female mice with 58 males for mating. But some of the males came with a genetic disadvantage induced by inbreeding. Such inbreeding, prior research has shown, generally tends to result in males that produce more daughters. The researchers also studied sperm cells taken directly from the testes, making note of X and Y chromosome counts. Those males that had been inbred tended to produce more X chromosome-carrying sperm cells than normal male mice (which normally produce more sperm with Y chromosomes). The difference in the chromosome count ratios was also reflected in the genders of the mice that were born to the pairs, favoring female mice. This, the researchers claim, suggests that the males were exerting some degree of control over the gender of their offspring.The findings suggest that male mammals in general might be able to influence offspring gender ratios, which would mean biologists would have to revise reproductive theories. Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Human chromosomes during metaphase. Credit: Steffen Dietzel/Wikipedia © 2017 Phys.org More information: “A father effect explains sex-ratio bias,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1159 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
The American Center, the US Commercial Service and the Consular Section of the US Embassy in association with Cinedarbaar are celebrating the World Tourism Day with a two day seminar and film festival. The seminar will be followed by a film fest which will include tourist fair, quizzes, workshops, discussions interactive maps of the USA. The opening film of the festival is Seeking a Friend for the End of the World by Lorene Scafaria. The United Nations World Tourism Organization celebrated the first World Tourism Day on 27 September, 1980 to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The two-day long festival will feature road films that give the flavor of some of America’s greatest cities. The film fest will feature 6 films from celebrating road movies of America. The mating of the road and the movies is as enduring as any of Hollywood’s famous couples, and seemingly just as inevitable. The road has always been a persistent theme of American culture and the film festival will explore the American landscape through films like Easy Rider, Broken Flowers, The straight story, Two lane Blacktop and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. All films will follow interactive sessions to explore the themes and styles of different auteurs. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe participants will also have an opportunity to have fun with DIY activities such as Interactive Map that will bring together cartography, cinema and genres in which visitors can participate and add layers to the map that will grow every day. It also includes information on the films, trivia, selected clips and insights on how films influenced the image of America’s cities. They can also make their travelogue through a collage with materials provided at the venue. WHERE: The American Center, KG MargWHEN: 27 – 29 September
Darjeeling: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived to a warm welcome at Darjeeling Hills on Monday night. Despite the late hours, people lined up along the way to welcome her.Welcome gates were constructed along the route from Siliguri to Darjeeling. At around 8:45 pm the Chief Minister’s cavalcade rolled into Darjeeling. Braving the drizzle, a large crowd awaited her in front of the Governor’s House near Darjeeling Chowrasta.The convoy stopped on the way as the Chief Minister exchanged greetings from inside the vehicle. Members of the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre staged a traditional welcome dance on the road and handed Khadas (traditional scarves) to the Chief Minister. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe convoy then headed straight for the Richmond Government Guest House, where the Chief Minister will be staying. On Tuesday, the Chief Minister will hold an administrative review meeting with Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) top brass in Richmond at 3pm.”We will discuss the projects undertaken by the GTA and will also draw up future projects. Stress will be on road connectivity and bridges, drinking water, health, education, beautification of urban sectors, finance, tourism and follow up of private investments that have started coming in following the Hill Business Summit organised by the state government and GTA in Darjeeling in March this year. The Chief Minister had attended the summit,” stated Binay Tamang, chairman, Board of Administrators, GTA.On September 5, the Chief Minister will attend a government programme at Darjeeling Chowrasta at 3 pm. She will lay the foundation stone for the “Darjeeling University” that will be coming up at Mungpoo at the programme.
To showcase the best of dance forms and abhinaya, Shriram Kala Kendra is organising the 13th edition of ‘Festival of Ballets’ at Kamani Auditorium in the national Capital. There will be four enthralling performances within a duration of two weeks. The festival which begins on May 6 will have performances that focus on the lives of mythological characters such as Meera, Durga, Karna and Abhimanyu. On Friday, May 6 ‘Meera’ will be performed showcasing her struggle. Her glory lies in her ability to articulate through poetry, the turbulence that transpired in her life. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Her life seems to be a metaphor for most women, where centuries later, Meera’s still name lives on. Wherever Meera went, she spread the message of liberation and urged an inner awakening, through the effervescence of her poetry. Produced and directed by Shobha Deepak Singh the performance will be followed by another ballet, titled-‘Shree Durga’, the next day. Shree Durga’s persona resonates even in today’s context, where everyone reads daily about the atrocities on women. This ballet depicts how gods evoke Stree Shakti when they fall into their own habit of giving boons. The perfrmance shows alternatives to vanquish demons in society, demonstrating that female power conquers over them. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixOn Friday, May 13, a performance on the life of ‘Karna’ will be held. His persona in Mahabharata will be showcased where circumstances remain consistently hostile. His life and times frozen in entirety and his misfortunes into a perpetual predicament. This ballet is dedicated to all the Karnas, who are denied the rightful place in the social milieu, seen in its correct perspective. Karna’s life was repetitively unfair, eliciting sympathy. His life in the epic is complete with magnificent misadventures and acts of valour. On Saturday, May 14, a performance on the life of ‘Abhimanyu’ will be held, whose story of youthful enthusiasm and selfless valour, torn apart by vested interests and vicious hostilities, is the root of an injustice that we all feel acutely, but in different ways. ‘Abhimanyu’ leaves his mortal remains and ascends the celestial path. He imparts the lesson that violence is useless in resolving any dispute. There are no winners in a battle — the spoils of war being not riches — but senseless death and desolation.
Kolkata: Around 1,800 guests have visited the country’s first hanging restaurant which has come up as a major joint in Kolkata in the past three weeks.Firhad Hakim, Mayor of Kolkata and the state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister, inaugurated the restaurant in New Town on February 9. It is a part of the Biswa Bangla Gate which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from the dais of the 43rd Kolkata International Book Fair on January 31. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThere are 72 seats in the restaurant. The fine dining restaurant will be kept open from 7 pm to 10 pm after entry to the Biswa Bangla Gate is closed for the public. The viewing gallery will remain open from 12 noon to 5 pm and visitors will have to buy entry tickets online. They will be allowed to stay there for an hour. Around 4,800 people have visited the viewing gallery since February 1. The waiters will come to the tables and take the order on Ipads. A copy of the order will go to the kitchen which is housed on the ground floor while the other will go for billing. There is a service lift to carry the food to the restaurant as well. Special lightings have been made to give a different feel. Battery-powered candles are there to give a candlelight dinner ambience. Wi-fi connection is free. A garden will be set up to increase the green cover in areas surrounding the Biswa Bangla Gate. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe visitors’ gallery is around 25 metres above the ground. Visitors can use the lifts on one side of the gate to reach the gallery and the cafeteria. The visitors’ gallery along with the cafeteria is surrounded by glass, which will be part of the wall. The construction of the Gate has involved around 70 tonne of steel. The idea of the gallery has been conceived from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, while the cafeteria has been inspired by the hanging cafeteria of Malaysia.
Kolkata: Perimenopausal Osteoporosis is a disease prevalent among many women in the state, said a city-based doctor on Sunday.The doctor said the disease is on the rise among the women and if not rightly checked more women would be affected with the disease. People are not aware about the disease and hence it is further contributing to the rise in the number of victims. Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in the five to seven years around the menopause. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataOsteoporosis is not often discovered until weakened bones cause painful fractures usually in the back or hips. Unfortunately, once you have a broken bone due to osteoporosis, you are at high risk of having another. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones, increasing the risk of sudden and unexpected fractures. Osteoporosis results in an increased loss of bone mass and strength. The disease often progresses without any symptoms or pain, the doctor said. A woman’s chances of getting the bone-thinning disease Osteoporosis go up with age, especially after menopause. Women commonly get affected with the disease before menopause, hence it is called Perimenopausal Osteoporosis or bone loss. As bones become thinner with osteoporosis, they break more easily. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateDr C S Dhar, consultant, department of orthopedics and joint replacements at a city hospital, advised that the women should adopt a healthier, bone-friendly lifestyle around the time of menopause. One can have osteoporosis at any age and be aware of it for there are often no symptoms. For many women, the first sign that they have the condition is a broken bone. Osteoporosis tends to affect the specific bones like the spine, wrists, shoulders, pelvis, and hips as they are in active use. These fractures can change the shape of the body, especially when they affect the spine. People having a family history of osteoporosis or fracture are more prone to the disease. A history of eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia can contribute to the disease. If the patients suffer from other diseases, including kidney, thyroid disease, and connective tissue disorders they can have osteoporosis as well. If periods become irregular for a woman over the course of more than 12 months except during pregnancy, she must visit to a doctor. Lack of exercise for a long time and smoking for a prolonged period of time may also lead to the disease. “To reduce the risk of osteoporosis, eat a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D and do regular exercise. It is not just Calcium which helps in getting a strong bone, but Vitamin D plays a vital role in getting a healthy bone. Vitamin D enables the body to absorb calcium, and calcium is necessary for maintaining the bone density. Women around the time of menopause may be prescribed a vitamin D derivative and calcium supplements,” Dr Dhar maintained.