Innovators don't ignore risk; they are just better able to analyze it in uncertain situations.
What exactly does "questions are the new answers" mean?
- Traditionally, intelligence has been viewed as having all the answers. When it comes to being innovative and forward-thinking, it turns out that being able to ask the right questions is an equally valuable skill.
- The difference between the right and wrong questions is not simply in the level of difficulty. In this video, geobiologist Hope Jahren, journalist Warren Berger, experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats, and investor Tim Ferriss discuss the power of creativity and the merit in asking naive and even "dumb" questions.
- "Very often the dumb question that is sitting right there that no one seems to be asking is the smartest question you can ask," Ferriss says, adding that "not only is it the smartest, most incisive, but if you want to ask it and you're reasonably smart, I guarantee you there are other people who want to ask it but are just embarrassed to do so."
New prototype Petri dishes let ordinary scientists in on the advanced technology.
- Acoustic tweezers allow bioparticles and cells to be precisely manipulated without touching them.
- Sound waves grab and move very tiny objects as desired.
- Previously available only in expensive and complex devices, acoustic tweezers have now been built into Petri dishes.
When a tweezer is not a tweezer<p>To understand how the "tweezers" work, it's important to know that they're tweezers only in that they grab objects so that they can be manipulated. That's the extent of their similarity to household tweezers: Acoustic tweezers are not small hand-held devices to pinch with. They're much more high-tech than that. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_tweezers" target="_blank">Acoustic tweezers</a> use pairs of sound waves directed at the object to be manipulated. (NASA has an <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/specials/X59/science-of-sound.html" target="_blank">excellent pair of short videos</a> explaining how sound waves work.)</p><p>In an acoustic tweezer, sound waves directed toward each other push an object into the location at which the waves meet, called a "trapping node." Once the object is trapped there, the node's position can be repositioned as desired by adjusting the strength, or amplitude, of the sound waves. As the node moves, so does the object trapped within it.</p><p>Acoustic tweezers provide a touch-free, gentle and non-destructive means of holding on to and manipulating even very tiny objects — a single cell or particle, for example. Using multiple sound waves emitted from opposite each other, and above and below, objects can be moved in three dimensions. This allows scientists to mix objects together with tremendous precision and to construct two-dimensional and three-dimensional structures from trapped objects. </p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk5MjAyOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDY2Mjg4Mn0.5cMqhSjZa6eo8ISWnY37j3R9UtMsEHV9qGAh2EC53i4/img.jpg?width=980" id="fb16a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2acb472e02638d001a5e0ccdc9c8b6e8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="graphic explaining how sound waves move objects" />
Graphic explaining how sound waves move objects
Credit: Big Think
How the prototypes work<p>The researchers present three different prototypes in their paper. They all employ small <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity" target="_blank">piezoelectric</a> <a href="https://blog.teufelaudio.com/transducers/" target="_blank">sound transducers</a> affixed to the edges and/or below Petri dishes. These transducers convert electrical energy into sound waves and can move objects in Petri dishes in pretty much any direction.</p><ul><li>The first prototype has four transducers arrayed around the four quadrants of a Petri dish, allowing the tweezers to move targeted objects laterally.</li><li>The second model uses a tilted sound transducer beneath the Petri dish that creates a whirlpool in its center capable of capturing, concentrating, and mixing the contents of a dish.</li><li>The third design fits two transducers beneath the dish together like a zipper, forming a holographic IDT (interdigital transducer.) This highly configurable arrangement generates high-frequency beam-like waves from below the dish. They can be programmed as 3D focused or vortex beams, for example, allowing them to perform a range of object manipulations.</li></ul><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk5MjExOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODA1ODkzM30.ypFFEBKMYg0iBNvAQ3aiF07-UK8OM8nACZTQTM9unds/img.jpg?width=980" id="120f9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dc8c535494b9830e1a1a594d8495b2c1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Tian, et al./Scientific Advances
Moving forward<p>The primary purpose of this study was to work out how to implement already available acoustic tweezers in more compact, practical form for researchers, according to Huang.</p><p>As the paper notes: "Although previous acoustic tweezers have been demonstrated for the manipulation of cells, most of them require customized microfluidic channels/chambers, which usually require time-consuming and costly steps for fabrication and sterilization and hence are not frequently used in biological and biomedical laboratories." The authors' aim, says the paper, was to develop "acoustic tweezer devices that can directly manipulate bioparticles in the most common laboratory cell culture plate, the Petri dish."</p><p>The authors' next goal is to further catalogue the capabilities of their prototypes, in particular their configurable third design. Down the road, they hope, will be development of a device that combines all three types of functionality provided by the prototypes in a single device.</p>
Virtual reality is more than a trick. It's a solution to big problems.
- According to projections shared by the UN, Earth's population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. By the year 2100, that number could increase to 11 billion. Virtual reality will be necessary to reduce the waste of such a large population in industries like transport, retail, and manufacturing.
- As an existing technology, there is a lot that virtual reality can do: rich and immersive environments, heightened storytelling, emotionally resonant experiences, and increased productivity in retail. But it's only in its infancy.
- As the world's population continues to grow, the technology will need to evolve to facilitate a larger network of users, and developers will have to think harder about the technological potential and the ethical, neurological, and emotional side effects.
Technology is an important tool, but it will take an ecosystem of educators, students, and caregivers to make the most of it.
- The old adage that it "takes a village" has proven true for education in the time of coronavirus. What constitutes a "school" and who is considered an "educator" has changed out of necessity, but important opportunities for the future have come from these unexpected circumstances as communities have and continue to adapt.
- "The greatest human superpower is empathy," says Kaya Henderson, "the ability to deeply connect with other people and to see yourself in them and to see them in you." She argues that "a part of the reason why we are so divided in this world today is because we see people as 'other' and we don't see them as extensions of ourselves."
- While technology has become a big part of the education landscape, community is still the keystone. "I want technology to amplify and to scale excellence," Henderson says. "To amplify knowledge and to scale excellence all at the same time while paying deep attention to the human connections that are integral to education."