/ News


This wriggling worm-bot could be used for colonoscopies one day

Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel, but reinventing the colonoscope is definitely worth somebody’s time. Mark Rentschler, an associate professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, is one of those people. He and his team have been working on the wormy robot, above, as a replacement for the usual flexible-camera-tube colonoscope.


“Don’t get me wrong, the traditional methods work very well, but they’re not pleasant for the patient,” Rentschler tells The Verge. “You’re basically pushing a rope through a deformable tube and the rope only bends when you get enough force against a wall. That’s where a lot of the discomfort comes from.”

Removing that discomfort is about more than just patient happiness. If colon cancer is caught early, “you’re almost guaranteed survival,” says Rentschler. The problem is that people are so unnerved by the idea of a colonoscopy that they just don’t get checked.

To overcome this problem, scientists are working on a number of different colonoscope designs, all of which have a degree of autonomy. Some have caterpillar treads, some have wheels, but Rentschler and his team thought the best approach would be to mimic natural movements inside the body. That’s why they settled on peristalsis as their chosen form of locomotion. This is the constriction and relaxation of muscles, and is used to move food along the bowels. So why not use it to move robots, too?

Peristalsis in Rentschler’s bot is simulated using springs made from a shape-memory alloy — a material that “remembers” its shape, and returns to it when heated. The metal is heated by a small electric current and expands outward. Then, a combination of cooling air and a 3D-printed silicon sheath covering the exterior of the bots acts as a natural “restoring force” to push them back in. “With this we can drive along and steer about,” says Rentschler. “Then we just put a camera on the end.”

The new bot was shown off earlier this month at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation or ICRA. It’s still in the prototype stage, though, and a number of improvements will need to be made if it ever makes it into hospitals (and bodies).

“We definitely want to get a little bit smaller in diameter,” says Rentschler. “And then the other big challenge is speed.” Right now, the bot can squirm along at a rate of around six inches in 15 seconds. An average colonoscopy takes about 30 minutes, and Rentschler’s aim is to get this down to the 20-minute mark. “We're close, but we do want to increase our speed,” he says.

And with a better colonoscope, lives can be saved. Not bad for a wriggly, squiggly robot.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2017/6/16/15817710/colonoscopy-robot-biomimetic-boulder

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Founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the participation of leading Russian specialists in the field of neural interfaces, robotics, artificial organs and systems.

The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies. 

The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.

A large-scale transformation of humanity, comparable to some of the major spiritual and sci-tech revolutions in history, will require a new strategy. We believe this to be necessary to overcome existing crises, which threaten our planetary habitat and the continued existence of humanity as a species. With the 2045 Initiative, we hope to realize a new strategy for humanity's development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling, and satisfying future.

The "2045" team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.

An annual congress "The Global Future 2045" is organized by the Initiative to give platform for discussing mankind's evolutionary strategy based on technologies of cybernetic immortality as well as the possible impact of such technologies on global society, politics and economies of the future.


Future prospects of "2045" Initiative for society


The emergence and widespread use of affordable android "avatars" controlled by a "brain-computer" interface. Coupled with related technologies “avatars’ will give people a number of new features: ability to work in dangerous environments, perform rescue operations, travel in extreme situations etc.
Avatar components will be used in medicine for the rehabilitation of fully or partially disabled patients giving them prosthetic limbs or recover lost senses.


Creation of an autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot, ‘avatar’, will save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged. Any patient with an intact brain will be able to return to a fully functioning  bodily life. Such technologies will  greatly enlarge  the possibility of hybrid bio-electronic devices, thus creating a new IT revolution and will make  all  kinds of superimpositions of electronic and biological systems possible.


Creation of a computer model of the brain and human consciousness  with the subsequent development of means to transfer individual consciousness  onto an artificial carrier. This development will profoundly change the world, it will not only give everyone the possibility of  cybernetic immortality but will also create a friendly artificial intelligence,  expand human capabilities  and provide opportunities for ordinary people to restore or modify their own brain multiple times.  The final result  at this stage can be a real revolution in the understanding of human nature that will completely change the human and technical prospects for humanity.


This is the time when substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive!  Changes will occur in all spheres of human activity – energy generation, transportation, politics, medicine, psychology, sciences, and so on.

Today it is hard to imagine a future when bodies consisting of nanorobots  will become affordable  and capable of taking any form. It is also hard to imagine body holograms featuring controlled matter. One thing is clear however:  humanity, for the first time in its history, will make a fully managed evolutionary transition and eventually become a new species. Moreover,  prerequisites for a large-scale  expansion into outer space will be created as well.


Key elements of the project in the future

• International social movement
• social network immortal.me
• charitable foundation "Global Future 2045" (Foundation 2045)
• scientific research centre "Immortality"
• business incubator
• University of "Immortality"
• annual award for contribution to the realization of  the project of "Immortality”.

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