Electronics-Free Soft Robot Has Potential for MRI, Mineshafts

Plus, an AI for diabetes platform raises millions, Ford plans to stop selling gas-powered vehicles in Europe, and Baltimore ends its controversial drone surveillance program.

a soft, flexible cordless robot

Cutting the Cord

Soft robots aren’t new — more flexible than the word “robot” typically conjures, they can squeeze into tighter spaces than their traditional counterparts. But soft robots have always needed some kind of heavy electronics, like circuit boards, to work, which tie them via cables and cords to other machines. But engineers from the University of California, San Diego have developed a soft robot that doesn’t need any electronics at all. Instead it runs on a lightweight pneumatic system that uses pressurized air for movement and power, giving it potential for spots where traditional robots don’t work, like mineshafts and MRI machines.
Source: Engadget


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that half the adult U.S. population has diabetes or pre-diabetes, and one startup is taking a high-tech approach to managing the condition. January AI recently raised $8.8 million for its platform that predicts diabetics’ responses to certain foods. Among the funding round’s investors were Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
Source: Venture Beat


In February, Baltimore officials voted to end a contract with Persistent Surveillance Systems, the company that ran the controversial Aerial Investigation Research program for the city’s police department. The pilot program began in 2020 and monitored 90 percent of Baltimore with planes equipped with high-resolution cameras, intended to help law enforcement target crime. The ACLU challenged the program as unconstitutional and in violation of citizen privacy..
Source: The Verge


Ford reports that by the beginning of the next decade it will only sell electric vehicles in Europe, and plans to spend $1 billion to convert its factory in Cologne, Germany, to produce the cars. The carmaker also recently announced it would more than double its investment in EVs and autonomous vehicles to $29 billion by 2025.
Source: The Verge

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.
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