Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every week The Job Shop Blog will bring you our 5 top science and technology news stories from around the web.
This week: An ingestible origami robot, an AI lawyer, scientists may have figured out how to “switch on” regeneration, curing people with type 1 diabetes using their own stem cells, and a weak spot in the HIV virus may lead to a vaccine.
Ingestible Origami Robot Can Deliver Medicine Or Patch Wounds
In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at MIT, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound.
The new work, which the researchers are presenting this week at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, builds on a long sequence of papers on origami robots from the research group of Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Artificial Intelligence “Ross” Has Been Hired By Law Firm
Law firm Baker & Hostetler has announced that they are employing IBM’s AI Ross to handle their bankruptcy practice, which at the moment consists of nearly 50 lawyers. According to CEO and co-founder Andrew Arruda, other firms have also signed licenses with Ross, and they will also be making announcements shortly.
Ross, “the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney” built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson, was designed to read and understand language, postulate hypotheses when asked questions, research, and then generate responses (along with references and citations) to back up its conclusions. Ross also learns from experience, gaining speed and knowledge the more you interact with it.
The “Switch” That Regenerates Body Parts In Lizards
Any kid who pulls on a lizard tail knows it can drop off to avoid capture, but how they regrow a new tail remains a mystery. Now, researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Arizona State University (ASU) have identified tiny RNA switches, known as microRNAs, which may hold the keys to regenerating muscles, cartilage and spinal columns.
In a study published in the scientific journal BMC Genomics, ASU and TGen scientists for the first time identified three microRNAs — which turn genes on and off — that are associated with the regeneration of tails in the green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis.
Stem Cells From Diabetic Patients Turned Into Insulin Secreting Cells
Signaling a potential new approach to treating diabetes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University have produced insulin-secreting cells from stem cells derived from patients with type 1 diabetes.
People with this form of diabetes can’t make their own insulin and require regular insulin injections to control their blood sugar. The new discovery suggests a personalized treatment approach to diabetes may be on the horizon — one that relies on the patients’ own stem cells to manufacture new cells that make insulin.