Back in June, after installing a new lithium-ion battery into its ape-inspired RoboSimian and plugging it into charge, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory had their lunches cut short when the battery suddenly exploded in a spectacular fireball that completely torched the bot.
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DARPA, the agency that helped invent things like email in the early 1970s and the internet itself in the late 1960s, just launched a podcast. Podcasts have been around since the 2000s, but better late than never, I guess.
After losing his left arm to cancer in 2008, Jonny Matheny's life changed radically. The self-styled West Virginia hillbilly, formerly a retail bread sales and delivery man, started travelling to medical research facilities around the country to volunteer as a test-subject for advanced prosthetics and experimental surgeries. Today, Matheny is something of a Model T for cyborgs, wielding one of the most advanced mind-controlled prosthetics ever built.
Bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics far more quickly than humans are discovering new ones. That's why a DARPA-funded research team is exploring a fascinating new way we might win the war against germs: not with drugs, but with predatory bacteria that sound like monsters from science fiction.
When I asked Johnny Matheny if I could shake his hand, I was admittedly a little nervous. The soft-spoken Floridian lost his lower left arm to cancer eight years back. His new arm — an advanced, mind-controlled prosthetic developed by DARPA — can crush a human human skull like a child squeezing a mandarin.
Producing drugs is usually a time-consuming process that requires several large factories, each handling a different step in the process. But for smaller on-demand batches, MIT has developed a portable pharmacy that's only about the size of a commercial-grade fridge and promises much faster turnarounds.