Hotspot Episode 46: Robot-Controlled Sperm: The Future of Fertilization

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:49am
Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development

This week on WDD's HotSpot:

LG is taking advantage of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to allow customers to communicate, control, monitor and share content with LG home appliances via the popular mobile messenger, LINE, and LG's HomeChat service. According to LG, smart appliance owners will be able to control their compatible appliances using HomeChat on a single device. So here is an example. When you text "I'm going on vacation" in HomeChat, the system will respond with" "Should I convert to vacation mode?" When you say yes, the refrigerator will switch over to power-saving mode, the robotic vacuum cleaner will be set to sweep the floor at 09:00 every day, and the washing machine will do a load of laundry right before you get home.

At the University of Texas Arlington, a micro-windmill has been designed to generate wind energy that could potentially charge cell phones, and replace large windmills used for home energy generation. The devices are about 1.8 mm at their widest point, and a single grain of rice could hold about 10 of these tiny windmills. Hundreds of them could be embedded in a sleeve for a cell phone, and consumers would just have to wave the cell phone in the air or hold it up to an open window on a windy day to generate the electricity collected by the phone's battery.

The Dresden Institute for Integrative Nanosciences have developed "spermbots" made up of live sperm cells in little tubes that can be magnetically controlled. Such technology can be utilized for the fertilization of eggs, providing an alternative to in-vitro fertilization. Of course there are some challenges and concerns when developing microbots that are intended for travel in human bodies. 

The University of Tasmania and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization are tagging 5,000 bees in Australia with tiny RFID sensors, and using a technique called swarm sensing to see how changes in the environment impact the behavior of bee colonies.

BeLuvv's GPS tracking device, Puppy, is a wireless unit that acts like an invisible safety leash for your pets. It connects with your family, friends and neighbors, so if you pet gets lost, everyone can join in on the search. If your pet's signal ever gets lost, then the Searching Network will automatically launch, and every active Puppy app user will anonymously participate the search.


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