Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently introduced a prototype of a humanoid robot at the company’s AI Day event.
Musk says the “Tesla Bot” will probably be launched next year, saying the robot would “eliminate dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks.”
The robot would carry out the work people don’t like to do.
“It’s around 5 foot 8. It has sort of a screen where the head is for useful information, but it’s otherwise basically got the autopilot system and it’s got cameras, got eight cameras,” said Musk. “Full self-driving computer and making use of all of the same tools that were used in the car.”
Musk mentioned the robot’s economic impact, using the current worker shortage as an example.
In addition to the Tesla Bot, the company also unveiled chips it designed for its high-speed computer, Dojo.
Dojo will help develop Tesla’s automated driving system. It is another product Musk sees being operational next year.
“So Dojo is real,” said Musk. “The Tesla Bot will be real. But basically, if you think about what we’re doing right now with the cars, Tesla is arguably the world’s biggest robotics company, because cars are like semi-sentiment, robots on wheels.”
Tesla has come under scrutiny recently over the safety of its “Full Self-Driving” advanced driver assistant system.
An interdisciplinary team of University of Minnesota Twin Cities scientists and engineers has developed a first-of-its-kind, plant-inspired extrusion process that enables synthetic material growth. The new approach will allow researchers to build better soft robots that can navigate hard-to-reach places, complicated terrain and potentially areas within the human body.
The paper is published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America” (PNAS), a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, high-impact scientific journal.
“This is the first time these concepts have been fundamentally demonstrated,” said Chris Ellison, a lead author of the paper and professor in the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. “Developing new ways of manufacturing are paramount for the competitiveness of our country and for bringing new products to people. On the robotic side, robots are being used more and more in dangerous, remote environments and these are the kinds of areas where this work could have an impact.”
Soft robotics is an emerging field where robots are made of soft, pliable materials as opposed to rigid ones. Soft growing robots can create new material and “grow” as they move. These machines could be used for operations in remote areas where humans can’t go, such as inspecting or installing tubes underground or navigating inside the human body for biomedical applications.
Current soft growing robots drag a trail of solid material behind them and can use heat and/or pressure to transform that material into a more permanent structure, much like how a 3D printer is fed solid filament to produce its shaped product. However, the trail of solid material gets more difficult to pull around bends and turns, making it hard for the robots to navigate terrain with obstacles or winding paths.
The University of Minnesota team solved this problem by developing a new means of extrusion, a process where material is pushed through an opening to create a specific shape. Using this new process allows the robot to create its synthetic material from a liquid instead of a solid.
“We were really inspired by how plants and fungi grow,” said Matthew Hausladen, first author of the paper and a PhD student in the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. “We took the idea that plants and fungi add material at the end of their bodies, either at their root tips or at their new shoots and we translated that to an engineering system.”
Plants use water to transport the building blocks that get transformed into solid roots as the plant grows outward. The researchers were able to mimic this process with synthetic material using a technique called photopolymerization, which uses light to transform liquid monomers into a solid material. Using this technology, the soft robot can more easily navigate obstacles and winding paths without having to drag any solid material behind it.
This new process also has applications in manufacturing. Since the researchers’ technique only uses liquid and light, operations that use heat, pressure and expensive machinery to create and shape materials might not be needed.
“A very important part of this project is that we have material scientists, chemical engineers and robotic engineers all involved,” Ellison said. “By putting all of our different expertise together, we really brought something unique to this project and I’m confident that not one of us could have done this alone. This is a great example of how collaboration enables scientists to address really hard fundamental problems while also having a technological impact.”
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Photo: University of Minnesota Twin Cities materials science graduate student Matthew Hausladen works with a soft growing robot in Professor Chris Ellison’s polymer lab. (Olivia Hultgren, Eureka Alert)
A “biocomputer” powered by human brain cells could be developed within our lifetime, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers who expect such technology to exponentially expand the capabilities of modern computing and create novel fields of study.
The team outlines their plan for “organoid intelligence” in the journal “Frontiers in Science.”
“Computing and artificial intelligence have been driving the technology revolution, but they are reaching a ceiling,” said Thomas Hartung, a professor of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Whiting School of Engineering who is spearheading the work. “Biocomputing is an enormous effort of compacting computational power and increasing its efficiency to push past our current technological limits.”
For nearly two decades, scientists have used tiny organoids, lab-grown tissue resembling fully grown organs, to experiment on kidneys, lungs and other organs without resorting to human or animal testing. More recently, Hartung and colleagues at Johns Hopkins have been working with brain organoids, orbs the size of a pen dot with neurons and other features that promise to sustain basic functions like learning and remembering.
“This opens up research on how the human brain works,” Hartung said. “Because you can start manipulating the system, doing things you cannot ethically do with human brains.”
Hartung began to grow and assemble brain cells into functional organoids in 2012 using cells from human skin samples reprogrammed into an embryonic stem cell-like state. Each organoid contains about 50,000 cells, about the size of a fruit fly’s nervous system. He now envisions building a futuristic computer with such brain organoids.
In the next decade, computers that run on this “biological hardware” could begin to alleviate energy-consumption demands of supercomputing that are becoming increasingly unsustainable, Hartung said. Even though computers process calculations involving numbers and data faster than humans, brains are much smarter in making complex logical decisions, like telling a dog from a cat.
“The brain is still unmatched by modern computers,” Hartung said. “Frontier, the latest supercomputer in Kentucky, is a $600 million, 6,800-square-foot installation. Only in June of last year, it exceeded for the first time the computational capacity of a single human brain—but using a million times more energy.”
It might take decades before organoid intelligence can power a system as smart as a mouse, Hartung said. But by scaling up the production of brain organoids and training them with artificial intelligence, he foresees a future where biocomputers support superior computing speed, processing power, data efficiency and storage capabilities.
“It will take decades before we achieve the goal of something comparable to any type of computer,” Hartung said. “But if we don’t start creating funding programs for this, it will be much more difficult.”
Organoid intelligence could also revolutionize drug testing research for neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegeneration, said Lena Smirnova, a Johns Hopkins assistant professor of environmental health and engineering who co-leads the investigations.
“We want to compare brain organoids from typically developed donors versus brain organoids from donors with autism,” Smirnova said. “The tools we are developing toward biological computing are the same tools that will allow us to understand changes in neuronal networks specific for autism, without having to use animals or to access patients. So, we can understand the underlying mechanisms of why patients have these cognition issues and impairments.”
To assess the ethical implications of working with organoid intelligence, a diverse consortium of scientists, bioethicists and members of the public have been embedded within the team.
Diversity Alliance for Science (DA4S) is a leading life science organization focused on supplier diversity, bringing together like-minded corporations and suppliers to advance equity and inclusion in the life science/health care global supply chain.
The East Coast Conference, held May 2-4 in Newark, New Jersey, featured top-level pharmaceutical executives and CEOs of diverse scientific and clinical enterprises. Over the past 16 years, DA4S has been a wonderful opportunity to foster effective, mutually beneficial partnerships between diverse suppliers and big pharma, biotech, med device and health care companies.
DA4S events are designed to bring everyone together through educational programs, keynote and guest speakers, as well as ample networking opportunities. This year’s theme for the conference was “Resilient, Bold and Strong,” and keynote speakers brought the attendees amazing content on this theme.
On day one, motivational speaker Bruce Turkel inspired the audience with ways to uncover creative solutions and messaging strategies that can future-proof their brands in a world of constant disruptive upheaval, and how to turn the lens around and focus relentlessly on your customer. He brought the house down using his harmonica as a tool for emphasis—everyone enjoyed the fun. Day two brought us the incomparable Pauline Nguyen and her story of survival and resilience. Calling herself a “spiritual entrepreneur,” Nguyen, as the owner of the Red Lantern restaurant in Australia and author of several books, uplifted the audience to lead with their heart and mind.
The conference showcased the mentoring program standouts in a live pitch competition. The eight finalists pitched their innovative ideas to a panel of judges live on stage! The Elevate Black Showcase event included a special matchmaking session with corporate buyers for all BBE members in the program. The roundtable session brought corporate members and suppliers the opportunity to connect and engage. And the signature “Eight That Innovate” was again a unique opportunity for suppliers to demonstrate how they use novel ideas to drive value. These, along with many other opportunities for networking, gave members a chance to connect.
This year, DA4S launched a new supplier partnerships group called “SPIRAL” to a packed room of member suppliers for discussions on best practices for entrepreneurs, networking opportunities and educational sessions run by DA4S members.
Stay tuned for registration information for our West Coast Conference on Sept. 12-14 in Laguna Beach, California.
If you would like to hear more about DA4S corporate or supplier member benefits, please reach out to [email protected].
In a special Earth Day conversation, artist and music producer Post Malone spoke with NASA astronauts Steve Bowen and Woody Hoburg, who are currently living and working on the International Space Station.
Malone chatted with the astronauts about their favorite views from the orbiting laboratory, how their unique perspective changed how they see Earth, and what makes our home special.
The space station is an orbiting laboratory traveling at a speed of 17,500 mph (25,000 kph), completing one trip around Earth about every 90 minutes. Crew members carry out research and conduct thousands of experiments that have contributed to medical and social benefits on our home planet, allowing us to find new ways to combat disease and develop technologies to deliver clean water to remote communities in need.
Kansas City is the first and only UNESCO Creative City of Music in the United States. Established in 2017, Creative City KC, Inc. is a not-for-profit and the focal point organization for the nation’s membership in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, Creative City KC will present its annual meeting and give details about the benefits of accessing this worldwide platform.
The prestigious designation was authored by Anita Dixon-Brown, Founder and Executive Director of Creative City KC Inc. She comments, “Kansas City is internationally recognized as one of the four major development cities for the genre of Jazz. This history won us the designation. Charlie Parker, Count Basie, and SWING made us stand out. As the only UNESCO Creative City of Music in the United States, we are opening opportunities for musicians to expand their reach, travel, record, and perform across the world through this vast network.”
With culture at the forefront of these partnerships, Creative City KC Inc., aims to propel musicians into accessing the power of connecting with others globally. “We advocate for the advancement of UNESCO and UCCN core values, 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Peace through Music, International Cooperation through Creativity, and work to advance the African Diaspora in Kansas City and around the world,” said Dr. Jacob Wagner, Professor of Urban Planning & Design at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and co-founder of the designation.
An email of interest to [email protected] is sufficient to begin the process of becoming a Partner with UNESCO Creative City of Music-USA. They will then send you a short, online survey to request additional information about the nature of your project or partnership.
About the founder
Anita Dixon-Brown has been a Cultural Heritage Consultant for over 30 years, developing tours of historic sites for African Americans nationally, consulting on major heritage projects such as preserving the sites of the Underground Railroad in American history, and demonstrating heritage tourism as a major economic tool for urban community sustainability. For more details about her, visit SageWorldView.com
IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students has been designed with a streamlined user-friendly interface that offers great functionality to help high school, undergraduate and graduate students find STEM scholarships and internship opportunities. IOScholarships proprietary matching algorithm can match students with life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.
Statistically speaking, minorities tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields. That’s why corporations often create internship opportunities for minorities entering the industry.
“As the job market is becoming more competitive in addition to GPA and personal achievements, employers want to see applicants who have completed one or more internships,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships.
Below we’ve highlighted some of the many internships for minorities in STEM fields
Facebook Software Engineer Internship
The Software Engineer Internship is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in computer science or a related field. Interns will help build the next generation of systems behind Facebook’s products, create web applications that reach millions of people, build high volume servers, and be a part of a team that’s working to help people connect with each other around the globe.
Microsoft Internship Program
For Women and Minorities this program is specifically designed for undergraduate minority college freshmen and sophomores interested in a paid summer internship in software engineering. Students must major in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related disciplines.
Minority Access Internship
TheMinority Access Internship Program has internships on offered in the spring, summer and fall to college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduates, and professionals. Interns receive pre-employment training and counseling on career choices as well as professional development, with the possibility of full-time employment after graduation.
Google offers rich learning experiences for college students that include pay. As a technical intern, you are excited about tackling the hard problems in technology. With internships across the globe, ranging from Software Engineering to User Experience, Google offers many opportunities to grow with them.
The majority of the scholarships and internships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.
The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.
Climate change is an issue that affects everyone on the planet but women and girls are the ones suffering its effects the most. Why? Because women and girls have less access to quality education and later, job opportunities. These structural disadvantages keep them in poverty. In fact, women make up 70% of the world’s poor. In a nutshell, climate change impacts the poor the most and the poor are mostly women.
Poverty driven by and made worse by climate change also makes girls more susceptible to child marriage, because it drives hunger and girls getting married often means one less mouth to feed for their parents. Climate change also leads to geopolitical instability which, in turn, results in greater instances of violence — which we know disproportionately impacts women and girls.
Ironically, saving the planet has been made to seem a “women’s job”. This phenomenon, dubbed the “eco gender gap”, sees the burden of climate responsibility placed squarely on women’s shoulders through “green” campaigns and products that are overwhelmingly marketed to women.
There are several hypotheses for why this is. Firstly, women are the more powerful consumers (they drive 70-80% of all purchasing decisions). Secondly, they are disproportionately responsible, still, for the domestic sphere. And finally, going green is seen as a women’s job because women’s personalities are supposedly more nurturing and socially responsible.
Women should be involved in fighting the climate crisis at every level — from the kitchen to the science lab to the boardroom. Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained it best when she said: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” However, women are underrepresented in the science field (including climate science), with just 30% of research positions held by women and fewer still holding senior positions. The Reuters Hot List of 1,000 scientists features just 122 women.
Having more women climate scientists could allow for an increased emphasis on understanding and providing solutions for some of the most far-reaching implications of climate change. Diversity in background and experiences allows for different perspectives. More perspectives allow for different research questions to arise or even a different approach to the same question.
There are, however, women all over the world in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that have made some incredible strides in the fight against the climate crisis, from fire-resistant coating to protect places prone to wildfires, to a water-storing park for a region usually overwhelmed by floods. Here are just some of the world’s incredible women scientists leading the way on tackling the climate crisis.
Click here to read the full article on Global Citizen.
Daleele Alison likes to help others stop wasting time doing tasks that don’t provide direct value to their clients. He is a technology professional, entrepreneur and the CEO and co-founder of RooksDM, a technology consulting group that helps alleviate pain points for small to midsize companies by using the right technology. Alison has worked as a consultant, business analyst and project manager for Fortune 500 companies to SMBs.
Diversity in STEAM Magazine (DISM) spoke with Alison about his company, the role diversity plays in tech and more on his participation in NMSDC’s Emerging Young Entrepreneurs cohort.
DISM: What have you seen businesses struggle with the most when it comes to their technology? How does RooksDM help them?
Daleele Alison: From our perspective, businesses are excited about adopting new technology. However, when businesses rapidly implement new technology to fix a singular problem, this often becomes a band-aid solution and can lead to a different set of challenges. Many businesses end up with a large number of tech tools that become overwhelming to manage and lead to low user adoption. It’s important for businesses to take a step back and be strategic. At RooksDM, we ask the right questions about technology and processes and dig deep into the core pain points. Rather than simply throwing technology at a problem, we take a holistic approach. Our goal is to implement technology that works together and sets a foundation for scalable growth.
DISM: Do you feel there is diversity within the IT/tech sectors? Why or why not?
Alison: We have seen progress in diversity within the tech industry. Organizations with targeted initiatives to increase diversity have definitely started to move the needle. It’s exciting to see a shift in the industry, however, there is still a long way to go. It continues to be a challenge for diverse vendors to break into large enterprise corporations. I’m hopeful that through tracking and monitoring vendor diversity, we will see even greater progress in supporting minorities in tech.
DISM:Why was it important for you to participate in NMSDC’s (National Minority Supplier Development Council) Emerging Young Entrepreneurs cohort? What have you learned thus far that is applicable to your own business?
Alison: The NMSDC’s Emerging Young Entrepreneurs has been an important way for us to learn and network. Through this initiative, we have been able to connect with like-minded colleagues, which has led to advice and potential business growth. The sessions have been invaluable and have expanded my thoughts around marketing, finance and strategy. We are truly grateful to be a part of this community and are looking forward to more opportunities in the future.
DISM: How has being MBE certified through NMSDC leveraged your business’s success?
Alison: Being MBE certified through NMSDC has given RooksDM access to a much larger community of like-minded businesses. We now have exposure to larger organizations to build our business. We have also built relationships with fellow minority-owned businesses. It has been so valuable to learn from each other and share stories and resources that support business growth. We are also proud to share our certification with current and prospective clients. This certification provides us with additional credibility that supports our conversations with potential clients.
DISM:What advice would you give another minority-owned entrepreneur or business owner just getting started?
Alison: My advice to fellow minority owners is to be intentional about how you spend your time. It’s easy to focus on initiatives that don’t matter or that won’t make an impact. It is critical to have the right people in your network to lean on so you can spend your time where it matters most. For us, spending time building relationships has been a game changer, not just in nurturing prospects but also in strengthening relationships within our industry. Leaning on others in the industry for support and expertise has not only led to referrals but been helpful to our overall growth.
Implementing clean energy is far from just a phase, it’s a necessity. Given the growing concern with the climate crisis; scientists and innovators from across the country are working together to power our daily lives through environmentally friendly means. By joining a career in clean energy, you could not only aid in these efforts, but do so while securing a stable, growing career.
Here are five reasons why you should consider the clean energy workforce:
It’s a Growing Field in Every Way
We all know that clean energy is popular on a societal standpoint, but even economically the field is thriving. In late 2021, President Biden passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which among other things invested $65 billion in support for clean energy infrastructure, research, jobs and much more. More recently, the CHIPS and Science Act, as well as the new Inflation Reduction Act, have added billions in investments for clean energy jobs and technologies. This makes the salaries of those in Renewable energy higher than average.
Along with being incredibly well funded and well equipped for hiring, the industry also has a lot of opportunities for advancement. Since the industry is relatively new, many clean energy sectors look to promote within their current employees.
The Job Types are Endless
When we think of jobs in renewable energy, we tend to think of scientists, engineers and even construction workers. While all of these areas of expertise are looking for jobs, you don’t have to wear a lab coat or a hardhat to join the field. In fact, you can come from just about any background and find a career in energy that will work for you. For example, the Department of Energy hires for positions in an extensive list of positions including:
It is never too late or too difficult to join the clean energy workforce, and there are so many different ways in which you can apply your skills.
The Work Environment
As an often well-funded and new career industry, the clean energy sector tends to do a better job at keeping up with current business trends and creating a thriving work culture. This allows for many of the employees in the field to be positive and passionate about their work. Benefits of the work environment of the clean energy sector can include:
Fantastic diversity and inclusion initiatives in every sector
Health care benefits
Working with passionate, like-minded coworkers
Opportunities to work in-office or from home
Opportunities for creativity, innovation and collaboration
You’re Making a Difference
There are many reasons to work toward a clean energy future. Whether it’s to protect the environment, promote energy justice, secure national energy independence, make scientific advancements or lower energy costs, there are many moral reasons you may have for wanting to join the field. In some industries, it can be difficult to see how any of the work you’re doing is making a difference in the world, but the clean energy industry does the exact opposite. In clean energy, no matter what your part is, your field is working to literally change the world every day by fighting climate change and promoting a healthier world for generations to come.
In late September, Space-X Crew, the fifth crewed operational NASA Commercial Crew flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the eighth overall crewed orbital flight launched into the cosmos and traveled to the space station. But unlike any other space mission in history, this one was led by mission commander Nicole Aunapu Mann, a colonel for the U.S. Marines, the first woman commander of a NASA Commercial Crew Program launch, and the first Native American woman in space.
Before ever setting foot in NASA territory, Mann attended the U.S. Naval Academy for her undergraduate degree and Stanford University for her graduate degree, both of which were in mechanical engineering. Mann was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in 1999, completed flight training at The Basic School in Quantico in 2001, and began her operational flying career with her wings of gold as Naval Aviator by 2004. During this assignment, she deployed twice with CVW-1 aboard the USS Enterprise and flew combat missions in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM.
Upon return from her second deployment, Mann reported to the United States Naval Test Pilot School, Class 135, at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland where she began her Developmental Test tour at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO THREE (VX-23) as an F/A-18 Test Pilot/Project Officer. While at VX-23, Mann executed a variety of flight tests, including loads envelope expansion, flying qualities, carrier suitability and ordnance separation in the F/A-18A-F.
In the spring of 2011, Mann assumed duties as the VX-23 Operations Officer and was assigned to the PMA-281 as the Joint Mission Planning System — Expeditionary (JMPS-E) Integrated Product Team Lead just a year later. Before being selected as a NASA astronaut soon after, Mann’s military service accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours in 25 types of aircraft, 200 carrier arrestments and 47 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Her service earned her two Air Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, along with several other honors for her various academic, flight and military successes.
In 2013, Mann was selected as one of the eight members of NASA Astronaut Group 21 and completed her training two years later. She has since served as a T-38 Talon Safety and Training Officer and was the Assistant to the Chief of Exploration. She led the astronaut corps in the development of the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System and Exploration Ground Systems. Her mission command to the International Space Station with Crew-5 was Mann’s first time traveling to space.
With Mann at mission command, Crew-5 additionally consisted of Navy Commander turned astronaut Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. While on the space station, the team studied new biological technology advancements, such as the possibility of 3D printing human cells.
Mann is also confirmed to be a member of the Artemis program, the mission taking a group of astronauts back to the Moon for the first time since 1972. The Artemis program will launch in 2024 and cite one of the crew members as the first woman on the moon.
“It’s very exciting,” Mann told Indian Country Today upon first learning she would be the first Native American woman to officially be going to space, “I think it’s important we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids, if they thought maybe that this was not a possibility or to realize that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down.”
Sources: NASA, Wikipedia, BBC, CBS, Indian Country Today