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Agile Robotic Rats Could Help Search for Disaster Victims

Plus, a change in light bulb regulations that would drastically reduce carbon emissions, 3D-printed concrete and a record-setting year for zero-day cyber attacks.

robotic rat

ROBO RAT


Robot dogs get a lot of hype, and we’ve even seen robotic bugs designed to travel into tiny spaces. But a team at the Beijing Institute of Technology is exploring the utility of a different kind of animal robot: rats.

SQuRo, which stands for “small-sized quadruped robotic rat,” is being developed to fit through tight spaces and also carry small objects. Designed to replicate a rat’s flexible spine, SQuRo weighs just under 8 ounces, can recover quickly from falls and can negotiate passages as narrow as 3.5 inches. Researchers hope that the robot rat could one day be used for tasks like searching for survivors in disaster sites.
Source: New Atlas

222 METRIC TONS



That’s the amount of carbon emissions experts believe could be reduced over the next 30 years following new laws from the Department of Energy preventing sales of many incandescent light bulbs. While Americans have begun to buy more alternatives to traditional bulbs, such as LED or fluorescent lights, incandescents and halogens comprised 30 percent of light bulb sales in 2020. The DOE’s new stricter standards for light bulbs will limit lumens to 45 per watt. The rules will be enforced beginning in January 2023.
Source: Engadget

UPCYCLING

While materials like wood are increasingly being used to construct buildings sustainably, concrete remains a popular way to get large structures off the ground. But one of concrete’s essential components — sand — is in short supply. Scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore are looking into how glass that would otherwise be left in landfills (while glass can be recycled, it often is not) can be crushed and used to replace sand in 3D-printed concrete structures. In the study, researchers 3D printed a concrete bench that they concluded was similar in strength to traditional concrete and used less water to create.
Source: New Atlas

58


Project Zero, a security research team at Google, has been tracking exploited zero-day vulnerabilities in software worldwide since 2014. 2021 was notably the biggest year yet, with 58 “in-the-wild” zero days recorded. Zero days are bugs that hackers can take advantage of to stage cyber attacks, and last year’s attacks included major targets like Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows. The previous record for zero days was 28 in 2015.
Source: Gizmodo
Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.