March 11, 2013

3D Printing Contest To Create Rockets – The Daily Orbit

The race is on for a 3D-Printed rocket engine.

Decoding a little dolphin-speak.

What’s better than a Cheetah? A cheetah-bot!

And trading fat for cash on today’s Daily Orbit!

Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.

What better to carry supplies to a 3D printed lunar base than a 3D printed rocket ship. I smell a competition. “DIYROCKETS” is partnering with cloud company “Sunglass” in the world’s first open source competition to create 3D-printed rocket engines. The competition is intended to help serve the growing market for small payload delivery into low orbit. Experts from NASA, MIT, and TED will announce 3 winners on July 1. What’s up for grabs? $5000 and bragging rights, of course. A student team will also be awarded $2500. Oh could someone please grab my fins out of the printer! Thanks! Shhh! I’ve already started

As if dolphins couldn’t get any more adorable and fascinating! How cute is this? Scientists have found they give each other names. With a complex series of clicks and whistles, dolphins are able to communicate with each other. Now one marine biologist is saying these animals use vocalization to assign one another names, making it easier for them to communicate underwater. Studying recordings taken of 250 dolphins in the wild, the team found that one dolphin would identify himself with a unique whistle which other dolphins would mimic. He and his team called this behavior “vocal copying” – the act of mimicry to learn speech patterns. And here is my dolphin name [sound].

[Cheetah roar] Whoa…okay I guess that whistle attracts more than dolphins. Wait that cheetah ain’t even real. A team of MIT mechanical engineers have developed a 70 lb. robotic cheetah that wastes very little energy. Usually, wasted energy comes from heat given off by the motor, energy lost through mechanical transmission, and inefficient control. So how’d they get by this? A little ingenuity and a customized high-torque-density motor. Energy would normally be lost from the impact of the robot’s legs hitting the ground, but the Cheetah’s impact energy goes back to the battery. The team also put motors and gears in the hip to cut energy loss by reducing leg inertia and then constructed a flexible spine that helps to restore elastic energy. After testing their design, engineers say their cheetah beat out the “Big Dog”—you know, the DARPA robot. See now, they need to work out how to make me more energy efficient as I run. Oh wait, I’ve got that covered [drinking can of red bull].

And after the good news that a child in Mississippi has been cured of HIV, here is more promising news in the fight against the virus. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found that nanoparticles loaded with bee venom are capable of destroying HIV while leaving the body’s cells unharmed. They say these nanoparticles could be used to develop a preventative prophylactic gel capable of stopping the initial infection and the spread of HIV. The key ingredient? A toxin in bee venom called Melittin, which is able to break through the virus’ tough protective shell. Hmmm….science changing lives every day!

Want your employees to get trimmer and healthier? How about having them trade fat for cash. A new study looked at how cash incentives and “disincentives” helped people with their weight loss. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic took 100 overweight or obese employee volunteers and offered them $20 for every month in which they lost 4 lbs. If they didn’t meet their 4 lb goal however, they had to pay a penalty. Turns out when there’s cash on the line, participants anted up with sixty-two percent meeting or exceeding their weight-loss goals. Obviously, it would take more than $20 a month to get me to give up my French fries.

Well that’s it for the Daily Orbit. [with red bull] Ok, I really should stop drinking this.

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