Human-Shaped Robot Now Smarter, Faster, More Helpful

Honda's Asimo robot can now run faster, balance better on uneven surfaces, hop on one foot and even pour a drink. Some of those skills may allow it help clean up the Fukushima plant.

What's the Latest Development?

Honda's revamped 'Asimo' robot is able to run faster, balance on uneven surfaces, hop on one foot and pour a drink, though not all at the same time. Honda is keen to prove he's not just a glorified toy. Indeed some of his technology was used to develop a robotic arm to help clean up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. 

What's the Big Idea?

It wasn't possible to send in Asimo to help out because the robot couldn't maneuver in rubble, and its delicate computer parts would malfunction in radiation. But the new, improved version revealed recently can walk over bumps without falling and jog faster than it did in 2005. By pushing better with its toes, so its run is not so jerky, it has gone from 6 kph (3.7 mph) to 9 kilometers (5.6 mph) per hour.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
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Cornell engineers create artificial material with 3 key traits of life

An innovation may lead to lifelike self-reproducing and evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
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After death, you’re aware that you’ve died, say scientists

Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.

Credit: Petr Kratochvil.
Surprising Science

Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?

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  • A huge segment of America's population — the Baby Boom generation — is aging and will live longer than any American generation in history.
  • The story we read about in the news? Their drain on social services like Social Security and Medicare.
  • But increased longevity is a cause for celebration, says Ashton Applewhite, not doom and gloom.