Whether it be DARPA's Pet-Proto robot, the skin cell gun, or Microsoft's Holodeck, there's no denying that 2012 was a great year for both technological and scientific breakthroughs. We've rounded up five of the most interesting stories for your viewing enjoyment. Continue reading to see them all.
5. DARPA's Pet-Proto Robot
DARPA's Pet-Proto is basically a predecessor to DARPA's Atlas robot. In this video, the robot is confronted with obstacles similar to those robots might face in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). To maneuver over and around the obstacles, the robot exercises capabilities including autonomous decision-making, dismounted mobility and dexterity. The DARPA Robotics Challenge will test these and other capabilities in a series of tasks that will simulate conditions in a dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environment.
4. Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm
After coping with years of paralysis, there was one thing that Jan Scheuermann wanted: to feed herself. Thanks to a mind-controlled robotic arm, she is able to do just that. Scientists accomplished this by implanting two quarter-inch-by-quarter-inch electrodes in her brain and then connecting them to a sophisticated robotic arm. Now she is able to manipulate objects by using only her thoughts through a brain-computer interface, or BCI.
3. Diamond Planet
According to National Geographic, diamond planet 55 Cancri e is about as twice as large as Earth and is eight times heaver. It's known as a "Super Earth" and orbits a star 40 light years away in the constellation Cancer. Its temperature is estimated to be around 3900 degrees Fahrenheit (2149 degrees Celsius). The planet has a very close relationship with its star - it orbits about 25 times closer to it than Mercury does to our sun).
2. Microsoft's Holodeck
Microsoft plans to transform the players' room into an immersive gaming environment. That's right, details of an immersive video games display system that projects images of the title's environment around a player's room have been revealed in a US patent belonging to Microsoft.
1. The Skin Gun
The skin cell gun is an experimental device for the treatment of second degree burns developed by Jorg C. Gerlach and colleagues at Stem Cell Systems GmbH in Berlin. With this technique, individual adult stem cells from the patient's uninjured skin are applied to the wound site, where they differentiate into normal skin. The hope is that with the skin cell gun, damaged skin tissue can be regenerated more quickly than with traditional methods.