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‘Robot scientist’ completes months-long research project in just three days

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Scientists may start to feel a little bit uneasy after it emerged an autonomous robot completed a months-long research project in just three days.

The £100,000 robot, which used to work in a car factory, was reprogrammed by British scientists to work in a chemistry lab. It was given enough intelligence to perform experiments without any additional input.

And the robot went on to perform up to 700 experiments in a single week – far outpacing its human counterparts.

The 400kg robot arm can work around the clock to perform experiments, never gets tired and never needs to stop to eat or sleep. All it requires is a pause to recharge, meaning it puts in a whopping 21.5-hour shift each day.

It uses the same scientific equipment as a human researcher and learns from its results in order to refine the process as it goes. And because it can work in the dark, it can carry out light-sensitive experiments much better than a human researcher.

The robot can work solidly for 21.5 hours each day (BBC)

University of Liverpool PhD student Dr Benjamin Burger, who built and programmed the robot, said the biggest challenge was making it robust.

‘To work autonomously over multiple days, making thousands of delicate manipulations, the failure rate for each task needs to be very low. But once this is done, the robot makes far fewer mistakes than a human operator.’

This robot is capable of moving around the lab and conducting a range of experiments that involve collecting samples and putting them in different types of equipment. It uses laser scanning and touch feedback in order to position itself correctly.

Robot Chemist uncleared grabs Credit: BBC

It could make science faster and safer in a post-Covid world (BBC)

The obvious application for the robot is to help fight the current Covid-19 pandemic. According to Professor Andy Cooper, who put the robot to work in his lab – the Department of Chemistry and Materials Innovation Factory in Liverpool – says enquiries have already been made.

‘We’ve had a lot of interest [in the robot] from labs that are doing Covid research,’ he told BBC News.

‘Covid, climate change – there are lots of problems that really need international co-operation. So our vision is we might have robots like this all across the world connected by a centralised brain which can be anywhere. We haven’t done that yet – this is the first example – but that’s absolutely what we’d like to do.’



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Proteus, the Shape-Shifting and Possibly Non-Cuttable Material

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How cool would it be if there was a material that couldn’t be cut or drilled into? You could make the baddest bike lock, the toughest-toed work boots, or the most secure door. Really, the list of possibilities just goes on and on.

Proteus chews through an angle grinder disc in seconds.

Researchers from the UK and Germany claim that they’ve created such a magical material. It can destroy angle grinder discs, resist drill bits, and widen the streams of water jet cutters.

The material is made of aluminium foam that’s embedded with a bunch of small ceramic spheres. It works by inducing retaliatory vibrations into the cutting tools, which turns the tools’ force back on themselves and quickly dulls their edges.

The creators have named the material Proteus after the elusive and shape-shifting prophet of Greek mythology who would only share his visions of the future with those who could get their arms around him and keep him still. It sounds like this material could give Proteus a run for his money.

The ceramic spheres themselves aren’t indestructible, but they’re not supposed to be. Abrading the spheres only makes Proteus stronger. As the cutting tool contacts them, they’re crushed into dust that fills the voids in the aluminium foam, strengthening the material’s destructive vibratory effect. The physical inspiration for Proteus comes from protective hierarchical structures in nature, like the impact-resistant rind of grapefruit and the tendency of abalone shells to resist fracture under the impact of shark teeth.

How It’s Made

Proteus recipe in pictures.

At this point, Proteus is a proof of concept. Adjustments would likely have to be made before it can be produced at any type of scale. Even so, the recipe seems pretty straightforward. First, an aluminium alloy powder is mixed with a foaming agent. Then the mixture is cold compacted in a compressor and extruded in dense rods. The rods are cut down to size and then arranged along with the ceramic spheres in a layered grid, like a metallurgical lasagna.

The grid is spot-welded into a steel box and then put into a furnace for 15-20 minutes. Inside the furnace, the foaming agent releases hydrogen gas, which introduces voids into the aluminium foam and gives it a cellular structure.

Effects of cutting into a cylinder of Proteus with an angle grinder.

According to their paper, the researchers tried to penetrate the material with an angle grinder, a water jet cutter, and a drill. Of these, the drill has the best chance of getting through because the small point of contact can find gaps more easily, so it’s less likely to hit a ceramic sphere. The researchers also made cylindrical samples without steel cladding which they used to test the compressive strength and prove Proteus’ utility as a structural material for beams and columns. It didn’t fare well initially, but became less compressible as the foam matrix collapsed.

The creation process lends some leeway for customization, because the porosity of the aluminium foam can be varied by changing the bake time. As for the drill bit problem, tightening up security is as easy as adjusting the size and/or density of the ceramic spheres.

In the video after the break, you can watch a chunk of Proteus eat up an angle grinder disc in under a minute. Some may argue about the tool wielder’s technique, but we think there’s something to be said for any material that can destroy a cutting disc that fast. They don’t claim that Proteus is completely impenetrable, but it does look impressive. We wish they would have tried more cutting tools like a gas torch, or experimented with other destructive techniques, like plastic explosives, but we suppose that research budgets only go so far.

Images via Nature



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Online Shopping Websites | 6 Best Online Stores For All Your Needs

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Online shopping websites have emerged as one of the most essential parts of our lives. Especially now when Coronavirus lockdown is still in force in India, a lot of people depend on online shopping for all their necessary to other needs.

There are several apps available that offer various products, including electronic gadgets, household products, home decor stuff, and a lot more to list. Nowadays, online shopping websites try to offer a full-fledged package of everything you need from on-demand movies to all the accessories you want.

However, finding the best and the most authentic online shopping websites is a task in itself as there are thousands of them available on the internet. To enhance your experience, we have curated a list of best online shopping websites for all your needs.

Also Read: Shein Alternatives | Best Online Clothing Stores In India

6 Best Online Shopping Websites For All Your Needs

  1. Flipkart
  2. Amazon
  3. Paytm Mall
  4. Snapdeal
  5. Shopclues
  6. Tata Cliq

1. Flipkart

Flipkart can be said to be one of the most trusted and used online shopping websites. It offers a broad range of products, including gadgets, home decor products, personal care products, and others. Flipkart also promises next day delivery for selected products.

You get massive discounts in the festive seasons on different products and Flipkart’s online clothing store. Apart from that, Flipkart has a Super Coins feature that makes it different from other online shopping apps on the list. The Super Coins can be used to get an additional discount on Flipkart purchases and even to buy a subscription of other apps or services.

Not only this, but Flipkart also offers you different EMI options for all sorts of purchases. The app also provides a video section in which you can enjoy various shows and movies. The Flipkart app also offers a games section in which you can play mini-games to win different rewards. The video and the games section is only available in the Android and iOS version of Flipkart.

2. Amazon

Amazon

Amazon is another e-commerce site that has a range of products, including gadgets, home decor stuff, online clothing store, and a lot more. The website has different sections, including Amazon Sale, Today’s deals, Computers, Mobiles, Pantry, and Books from where you can hop into the store of your choice.

This online shopping platform also provides mind-blowing cashback rewards and has a grocery mart too where you can grab anything from dairy products to noodles and then add it to your Amazon shopping cart. The unique aspect of Amazon is that it offers a service named Amazon Pay that allows the user to make transactions like paying electricity bills, phone recharge, flight, and train ticket bookings.

Amazon Pay is one of a kind feature that makes the platform stand out of the crowd. Apart from that, Amazon also offers a Prime membership at affordable rates via which you can get faster deliveries, better discounts. You also get access to the Amazon Prime Video that is a streaming vertical of the platform where you get original shows, movies, and a lot more to binge-watch.

3. Paytm Mall

online shopping websites

If you are looking for an online shopping website that can offer the most unbelievable discounts, then Paytm Mall is the best fit for you. From clothing accessories, laptops, headphones, home decor to your day to day grocery and household, Paytm mall has everything for you.

You can start with the shopping app by selecting the categories and sub-categories in the online store. You can also get customized gifts for different festive occasions. Paytm mall has a large number of refurbished products too that are tried and tested.

Paytm mall has the best customer support, and it even offers a 100% refund in case of any issues regarding your order. The platform also provides newly launched products at an exclusive price. Moreover, you can also access the Paytm mall via Paytm app on your Android smartphone or iPhone.

4. Snapdeal

online shopping websites

Snapdeal, one of the household names when it comes to online shopping, can be said to be a cheap clothing website available on the list. Apart from that, it has an extensive collection of products, including home appliances, gadgets, clothing, and refurbished products too.

However, Snapdeal was unable to leave a mark in the online shopping vertical like Flipkart and Amazon as it has a limited number of products. Moreover, the platform lacks interactive offers that make might want you to visit it less.

Google Play Store reviews of the app said it has an average customer care service. The representatives are unable to solve the queries most of the time. Moreover, the delivery performance of the app is not that good as compared to other online stores.

5. Shopclues

Shopclues

We can’t miss mentioning ShopClues while talking about online shopping and cheap clothing websites. It is a made in India site that offers a wide range of products with the best offers. From grocery to the latest gadgets, you can purchase anything from Shopclues on unmatchable prices.

You get different categories and sub-categories on the homepage of the website. You can head towards the section of your choice and add the products to your cart or purchase them instantly. The app also offers a section named Budget Bazaar that offers deals starting from INR 89. In addition to that, Budget Bazaar provides products at 50% to 80% discount rates.

The online store offers up to 80% discount on selected gadgets occasionally and an additional discount on selected payment methods. The best part about the app is that it promises and delivers the products at a rapid speed.

6. Tata Cliq

online shopping websites

Tata Cliq can be said to be the most sorted online shopping website available on the list. It comes with a user-friendly interface, and the categories and brands are placed individually. This allows you to shop without messing around with hundred of sub-categories.

The major categories include Fashion, TV and Appliances, Electronics, Jewellery, and home furnishing. You can choose between the popular and the featured brands’ section to get the best deals and high discounts.

The filters offered by Tata Cliq for purchases are very convenient as you can select the exact price range, size, and even color of the product you want to buy.

Online Shopping Websites: Choosing The Best

The above mentioned online shopping websites can provide you the best shopping experience along with unmatchable service and interactive interface. All the sites have something unique and different to offer to their customers. We will update our lists in case of any new website launch or if a major feature is introduced. So, don’t forget to check the list out after a while.

The post Online Shopping Websites | 6 Best Online Stores For All Your Needs appeared first on Fossbytes.



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Google leak reveals the Pixel 5’s unfortunate launch date

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  • The Pixel 5 release date has leaked from the most unexpected place, Google’s Pixel 4a announcement for France.
  • The Pixel 5 should hit preorders on October 8th, which means the phone would ship to buyers a few weeks later.
  • Apple confirmed a few days ago that the iPhone 12 launch had been delayed by a few weeks, so the iPhone 12 preorders might start in October as well.

Google soft-launched the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G a few days ago alongside the delayed Pixel 4a. The company confirmed the existence of the other two Pixel handsets, which were spotted in leaked Google code recently. Google revealed the Pixel 4a 5G price at the time, saying the 5G phone will cost $499, but wasn’t as forthcoming about the Pixel 5. The new premium Pixel will not feature top of the line hardware this year, several leaks have shown. The handset is expected to rock a 120Hz display like many Android flagships, but not the same processor as those handsets. The Pixel 5 will have the same Snapdragon 765G chip as the OnePlus Nord, a mid-range 5G phone that sells for less than $500 in Europe.

That’s all the US announcement of the Pixel 4a said. But move over to France, and Google’s local team revealed the launch day of the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. And it’s not good news for Google, given the current context.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed everything about ordinary life, and that includes smartphone buying decisions. Buyers may be paying more attention than ever to what they get for their money, and the fact is that at $699 Pixel 5 can’t match an equally priced iPhone 12 version. Even if the Pixel 5 manages to offer a much better camera experience than the iPhone, that’s still not good enough. The iPhone SE, iPhone 11, and iPhone 12 would be much better choices for consumers who don’t want a phone that can last three to four years.

The health crisis did alter Apple’s iPhone 12 launch plans, and the company confirmed a few days ago that the handsets would launch a few weeks after the usual late September launch window for the latest iPhone. The iPhone 12 delay means the handset will be available for preorder at some point in October, and ship to consumers later that month.

Now, Google has always launched new Pixel flagships in October, a few weeks after Apple would sell millions of units of the latest iPhone. This year, Google won’t have that luxury, and the revelation comes from Google France.

A now-removed Pixel 4a announcement contained the following paragraph, via 9to5Google:

Pixel 5 Launch Date
Pixel 5 launch date leaked via Pixel 4a announcement for France. Image source: Cached Google France blog post

Here’s a Google translation of it from the cached version.

Pixel 5 Launch Date
Pixel 5 launch date leaked via Pixel 4a announcement for France (English translation). Image source: Cached Google France blog post

Google France told buyers that the Pixel 5 would be available for preorder on October 8th, so that’s when we’d expect Google to hold a new Made by Google press event. The Pixel 5 would ship to buyers a few weeks later.

But the iPhone 12 preorders could start right around the same time. This could hurt Pixel 5 sales significantly. After all, Google is bringing a knife to a gunfight this year.



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