AI News, Letting molecular robots swarm like birds

Letting molecular robots swarm like birds

The world's smallest 'swarm robot' measures 25 nanometers in diameter and 5 micrometers in length, and exhibits swarming behavior resembling motile organisms such as fish, ants and birds.

These include the formation of complex structures, distinct divisions of labor, robustness and flexibility, all of which emerge through local interactions among the individuals without the presence of a leader.'

In the present study, Kakugo and his collaborators have built a molecular system that is composed of the three essential components of a robot: sensors, information processors and actuators.

Microtubules are filamentous proteins that serve as the railways in the cellular transportation system, while kinesins are motor proteins that run on the railways by consuming chemical energy obtained from hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

The chemically synthesized DNA molecules with certain programs in their sequences are conjugated to the microtubules labeled with green or red fluorescence dye.

The system acts as a basic computer by executing simple mathematical operations, such as AND or OR operations, leading to various structures and complex motions.

Flocks of nanorobots could form artificial muscles

Tiny biomolecular robots that form large, insect-like swarms could one day act as artificial muscles, say scientists from Japan.

Inspired by the movie Big hero 6, in which a student invents microrobots that work together to make giant structures, a team around Akinori Kuzuya from Kansai University and Akira Kakugo from Hokkaido University has designed biomolecular motors that form tightly packed swarms that can form lines or circles.

As they can’t move themselves, Kuzuya, Kakugo and co-workers enlisted the help of kinesin, a motor protein that moves along microtubules when fed with adenosine triphosphate.

After around one hour, the five million microtubules on the surface will have formed swarms consisting of hundreds of units each that continue to move across the surface.

To dissolve the swarms, the team simply adds a third strand of DNA that is fully complementary to the association strand, thus removing what holds the swarms together.

‘One thing we’re already doing is to develop a kind of artificial muscle – a macroscopic system that shows some kind of movement,’ adds Kuzuya.

Molecular Robots with Sensors and Intelligence

Conspectus What we can call a molecular robot is a set of molecular devices such as sensors, logic gates, and actuators integrated into a consistent system.

More specifically, these issues are (1) developing molecular sensors capable of handling a wide array of signals, (2) developing amplification methods of signals to drive molecular computing devices, (3) accelerating molecular computing, (4) developing actuators that are controllable by molecular computers, and (5) providing bodies of molecular robots encapsulating the above molecular devices, which implement the conformational changes and locomotion of the robots.

The team is trying to incorporate motor proteins, including kinesin and microtubules (MTs), for use as actuators implemented in a liposomal compartment as a robot body.

The team is evaluating various gels, including DNA gel and BZ gel, for use as actuators, as well as the body material to disperse various molecular devices in it.

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MENAFNreports: The new company will develop these Intelligent Edge Systems by combining FANUC's technologies and expertise in machine tools and robots, Hitachi's knowledge of control technologies and other aspects of OT and IT in the front lines of manufacturing, and PFN's deep learning and distributed computing technologies.

After establishing a joint venture company, the three companies will test business potential and create business plans, and then undertake actual system development and expand application fields.

The firm's original forecast of 29% year-on-year profit growth was raised to 41% (USD1.64 billion), with the upward trajectory driven by strong Chinese sales.

Sales in China -- which Fanuc now reports separately from the rest of Asia -- grew 140% year-on-year to 54.9 billion yen for the October-December quarter, far outpacing the company's overall sales growth of 41% for that period.

Alliance Automation has developed a robotic waterjet cutting system using a singleYaskawa MotomanMH50-20 long reach robot on an inverted mount with a custom robot suit...

Writing inThe Engineer, Prasad Satyavolu, Chief Digital Officer – Manufacturing and Logistics at Cognizant offered some advice on how to successfully integrate robot colleagues into your workforce: Re-think workflows: Introducing autonomous units that can think and interact with a wider ecosystem requires a re-evaluation of workplace structure.

Manufacturers should conduct ergonomic studies to envision how experienced, skilled humans could work on a task with smart robots, such as cleaning oil from a part before assembly.

the Budapest Business Journal reported thatthe number of industrial robots in operation in Hungary saw a 18% increase from 2011-2016 (with that rate of growth expected to continue over the coming years);

It's all part of The AnDy Project (Advancing Anticipatory Behaviors in Dyadic Human-Robot Collaboration), which additionally aims to design meaningful facial expressions for cobots and develop technology that will enable cobots to learn new objects through simple verbal commands...

Elsewhere, the UK's University of Surrey announced that it will opena new multimillion nano-manufacturing facilityto produce 'electronics for future smart consumer and industrial products' and UC Magazine profiled some of the fascinating work on cobots and human-robot interaction currently underway at the University of Cincinnati.

The supplier wanted to integrate a solution 'into their injection molding process to reliably pick and place the part on a conveyor, pick and place fire-retardant material into the part, and ultrasonically weld components together'...

As every major automaker and dozens of tech companies race to replace drivers in Uber cars and taxi fleets, Nuro is ignoring humans altogether and steering for Amazon.com Inc., United Parcel Service Inc.

Elsewhere, AI thought leaderAndrew Ng announced the launch of the AI Fund--a USD175 million fund designed to help early stage AI startups find a path to commercial success;Five projects have been awarded up to STG1.5 million to develop prototype robots that can help tackle some of the UK's most radioactive hotspots;Forbeslooked over December 2017's major funding successes for AI startups;

(Photo:Carla Diana) 'The core focus of our company is on getting mobile manipulation to be successful in semi-structured environments in which the robot has to perform its actions alongside people,” Diligent co-founder and CEO Andrea Thomaz told us.

“We think that human-robot interaction is going to be key to success, and we like to say that we focus on the suite of social intelligence software that will be needed for these dynamic human environments.”

Finally,Harvard University released new video of its 'HAMR' (The Harvard Ambulatory Microrobot), acockroach-inspired robot that can 'run at high speeds, jump, climb, turn sharply, carry payloads and fall from great distances without being injured'...

Innovative pharmacy sets sights on the future with Steve the robot (In Cumbria)Military drone maker, 350 jobs coming to Oklahoma (Stars And Stripes)Robot with AI brain learns to evolve synthetic protocells (Chemistry World)Robots Could Descend Into Old Mines To Prevent Toxic Spills (Manufacturing.Net)Testing robot help for stroke victims (Cosmos)'You can send a robot' (Mining Journal)A Silicon Valley pizza-delivery service has robots and humans working side by side (Business Insider)The Robot Revolution: Manufacturing 2.0 |

Molecular Robotics at the Wyss Institute

By Lindsay Brownell (BOSTON) — DNA has often been compared to an instruction book that contains the information needed for a living organism to function, its genes made up of sequences of the nucleotides A, G, C, and T echoing the way that words are composed of strings of letters.

“Programmable biological molecules like DNA have almost limitless potential for creating nanoscale devices and systems that could be transformational in a large number of industries and fields.” Molecular Robotics capitalizes on the recent explosion of technologies that read, edit, and write DNA (like next-generation sequencing and CRISPR) to manipulate DNA and its single-stranded cousin, RNA, to create new nanoscale structures and devices that serve a variety of functions.

Not only can PER be used to synthesize DNA sequences automatically, it can be programmed such that it only occurs in the presence of signal molecules, such as specific RNA sequences, thus allowing the system to respond to the molecular cues in the environment much like today’s commercial robots respond to verbal and visual cues.

In this technique, unique DNA hairpins are attached to different target molecules and, if any two targets are close enough together, a reaction between the two hairpins bound to them produces new pieces of DNA that contain a record of both hairpins’ sequences, allowing the shape of the underlying structure to be determined by sequencing that novel DNA.

Such an approach could potentially induce cells that are deficient in a given protein to produce more of it, or serve as a synthetic immune system that, when it detects a given problem in the cell, produces a toxin that kills it to prevent it from spreading an infection or becoming cancerous.

Getting simple individuals to interact with each other to achieve a more complex, collective task (like relaying the information that cancer has been found), however, is a significant challenge, and one that the roboticists in Molecular Robotics are tackling at the macroscopic scale with inch-long “Kilobots.” Taking cues from colonies of insects like ants and bees, Wyss researchers are developing swarms of robots that are themselves limited in function but can form complex shapes and complete tasks by communicating with each other via reflected infrared light.

“We’re trying to push the limits of these really dumb little molecules to get them to behave in sophisticated, collective ways – it’s a new frontier for DNA nanotechnology.” Given the magnitude of the challenge and the short time the Molecular Robotics Initiative has existed, it is already making significant progress, with more than two dozen papers published and two companies founded around its insights and discoveries (Ultivue, for high-precision tissue imaging and NuProbe, for nucleic acid diagnostics).

“It’s an idea that definitely goes against the current status quo, and we’re lucky enough to be pursuing it here at the Wyss Institute, which brings people together from different fields to pursue innovative ideas and create new things that wouldn’t exist otherwise.” “We envision an exciting technological future where programmable molecular structures and devices, or molecular robots, will be engineered to carry out specified tasks at the molecular level,” adds Yin, another founding director.

“These programmable systems will enable us to freely interact with the molecular world and achieve wide-ranging goals including sophisticated nanomanufacturing, efficient data storage and energy production, precise observation and manipulation of biological processes, and effective disease diagnostics and therapeutics” Click on the links below to explore research from the Molecular Robotics Initiative.

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