Tag Archives: robot homes

Futurology ~ New products and processes, lasers, smarter glass, robot homes, three HIV cures, vaccine benefits, new Orca, elixir of immortality,ancient tattoos


A rare photo of a newly-identified ‘type D’ species of Orca between South America and Antarctica shows the whales’ blunt heads and tiny white eye patches. (JP Sylvestre)

Laser passes through fog or white paint — It’s not quite seeing through walls, but scientists are working to engineer light beams so they can pass through an opaque medium without scattering, according to a new paper.
~ It’s all about tailoring light beams. 

Robot-built house produces more power than it needs — The world’s first home designed, planned, and built with mainly digital processes just opened its doors in Switzerland. Developed by eight ETH Zurich professors, DFAB House is a pilot project showcasing futuristic building technologies that may someday work their way into our homes. It’s topped with a solar array that generates 1.5 times more energy than the unit needs (intelligent control eliminates the risk of load peaks), and it has waste heat recovery systems – one recycles heat from shower trays back into the boiler.
~ I like that one of the processes uses wood rather than concrete.

Smarter windows — Windows that filter out atmospheric particulate matter (PM) while allowing indoor light intensity to be adjusted could soon be a reality with the invention of a silver (Ag)-nylon mesh by scientists in China. The invention allows the light intensity of commercial buildings to be tuned to maintain thermal comfort.
~ So, pollute like crazy as your windows will keep your home safe? 

Welding metal to glass — Researchers at Edinburgh, Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University have developed a process called “ultrafast laser microwelding,” which uses very, very short pulses of infrared laser light to fuse two dissimilar materials together. The Heriot-Watt system tested the method on quartz, borosilicate glass, sapphire and aluminium, titanium and stainless steel. Being able to directly weld panels of glass and aluminium could open up many interesting possibilities for auto design and manufacturing.
~ Goodness’s gracious, tiny balls of lightning.

Third person ‘cured’ of HIV — A man in the UK has been free of HIV since his cancer treatment, and now a similar case has been reported by researchers who treated a patient in Germany. Together, they add to evidence that it may be possible to cure HIV.
~ This has been such a long time coming. 

Unintended benefits of vaccines — A new study shows that vaccination with a weakened strain of salmonella not only protects against typhoid fever but also seems to rev up the immune system to fight off other problems, like influenza and yeast infection.
~ More strength to the anti-anti-vaxxers.

‘New’ orca — Scientists have found a mysterious type of killer whale they’ve been searching for for years. It lives in parts of the ocean near Antarctica.
The notion there might be some unusual kind of killer whale emerged in 1955 when photos from New Zealand showed a bunch of whales stranded on a beach. This was a very different-looking group of killer whales, with blunter noses and smaller white eye-patches.
~ This is probably the largest animal to have remained unidentified by biologists.

Chinese elixir of immortality is 2000 years old —A yellowish liquid found in a bronze pot dating back some 2,000 years is not wine, as Chinese archaeologists initially thought. It’s actually an “elixir of immortality” concocted during ancient times. It’s most likely a mixture of potassium nitrate and alunite.
~ Lucky it lasted so long …

American tattoo kit 2000 years old — A 2000-year-old wooden implement with black-tipped cactus spines is now the oldest example of a tattoo tool in western North America, a discovery that’s shedding important new light on this ancient practice. The 10cm-long device was, created over 1400 years prior to the arrival of European colonists.
~ Incredibly, the relic might have never been discovered had it not been for an inventory check.

Tongan tattoo tools 2700 years old — Tattooing goes back millennia and spans cultures, as evidenced by mummified remains, yet many details of the body modification’s origins have been shrouded in mystery. Now an ancient bone tattoo kit from the Pacific island nation of Tonga is providing researchers with more than an inkling into the rich history of Polynesian body art.
~ Two of the tools were made of bird bone and two are ‘probably’ of human bone.