in weekly



  • Japan Unleashes a Robot Revolution, Its domination of the industry is challenged by Korea and China
    At the opening of Japan’s Robot Revolution Initiative Council on May 15, Abe urged companies to “spread the use of robotics from large-scale factories to every corner of our economy and society.” Backed by 200 companies and universities, the five-year, government-led push aims to deepen the use of intelligent machines in manufacturing, supply chains, construction, and health care, while expanding robotics sales from 600 billion yen ($4.9 billion) annually to 2.4 trillion yen by 2020.

    Yet the government says Japan’s premier position is at risk. China has 530 robotic companies, and its market share on the mainland grew from 4 percent in 2012 to 13 percent in 2014, a worrisome trend for Japanese companies that have enjoyed solid profits there.

    South Korea has doubled the size of its robot sales since 2009 to 2.4 trillion won ($2.2 billion) in 2013.

    Cheaper sensors, motors, and computing power have driven the cost of some industrial robots to as low as $25,000, down from $100,000 just a few years ago. That means small and midsize companies can afford advanced machines. With Japan’s declining workforce, job displacement won’t be as much of a barrier to rolling out more machines as it would in the U.S. By 2025, Japan’s robots could shave 25 percent off factory labor costs, says BCG.


  • South Koreans win Darpa robotics challengeThe contest is a battle of robots on an obstacle course meant to simulate conditions similar to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.
    Team Kaist’s DRC-Hubo humanoid robot defeated 22 others to win the top $2m prize from the US Department of Defense’s Darpa research unit.
    The robots had an hour to complete a series of tasks, such as a driving a car and walking up steps.
    The challenge involved a series of tasks for the robots to complete, somewhat autonomously, with intermittent connectivity with their operators to simulate real disaster conditions. (BBC)


  • Why Gene-Editing Technology Has Scientists Excited
    Researchers explore the idea of treating disease by replacing defective genesA new technology for “editing” defective genes has raised hopes for a future generation of medicines treating intractable diseases like cancer, cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anemia.Drugs of this type wouldn’t hit the mass market for years, if ever; pharmaceutical firms are only now exploring how to make drugs using the gene-editing technology, called Crispr-Cas9. But the approach offers tremendous potential for developing new treatments for diseases caused by a mutated gene. (WSJ)


  • UK plans world’s first artificial blood transfusions by 2017
    Specialists from NHS Blood and Transplant will work with scientists from the Universities of Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge to create lab-produced red blood cells using stem cells from adult and umbilical cord blood. The manufactured cells will then be transfused into 20 volunteers, who will be given between 5 and 10 milliliters of artificial blood. The results will then be compared transfusions via normal donations. (Engadget)


  • Health-Data Donors Aim to Aid Science
    One of the newest ways for people to use their medical information is offering it to researchers studying health problems that affect them or their loved ones. The concept started with rare diseases and is spreading fast to more common conditions like epilepsy and depression (WSJ)


  • Swedish scientists create an artificial neuron that mimicks an organic one (Kurzweilai)