ACEE Princeton News: Princeton researchers have developed a flexible, lightweight and energy efficient soft robot that moves without the use of any legs or rotary parts. Instead, the device uses actuators that convert electrical energy into vibrations that allow it to wiggle from point to point using only a single watt.

The device marks a new approach to fabricating and powering soft robots, which rely on flexible rather than rigid bodies to move and carry out tasks. Scientists believe soft robots will be useful in everything from surgery to space exploration, but designing and controlling soft bodies comes with its own engineering challenges that differ from rigid-body robotics.

“Future robotic systems need high energy efficiency,” said Minjie Chen, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and one of the project’s principal investigators. “The eViper platform enables us to explore electrical, mechanical and power co-design to maximize the energy efficiency.” DTI Principal Investigator Minjie Chen worked on Machine Learning for power electronics-enabled power systems for his awarded DTI project.

Read the story here and watch the video below.

Video by Bumper DeJesus and Scott Lyon; cover close-up of eViper soft robot by Bumper DeJesus, for Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University

UIUC Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment News: Increased government investment in climate change mitigation is prompting agricultural sectors to find reliable methods for measuring their contribution to climate change. With that in mind, a team led by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign proposed a supercomputing solution to help measure individual farm field-level greenhouse gas emissions.

Although locally tested in the Midwest, the new approach can be scaled up to national and global levels and help the industry grasp the best practices for reducing emissions.

The new study, directed by natural resources and environmental sciences professor Kaiyu Guan, synthesized more than 25 of the group’s previous studies to quantify greenhouse gas emissions produced by U.S. farmland. The findings – completed in collaboration with partners from the University of Minnesota, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Project Drawdown, a climate solutions nonprofit organization – are published in the journal Earth Science Reviews.

Read the full story here. Hear Professor Guan, who also investigated AI-driven agricultural climate solutions as a DTI Principal Investigator, describe the team’s research in this video below.

DTI consortium partners Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, also participated in the research.

August 31, 2023

Forbes: In some ways, virology and pathology have implications for how we are going to benefit from the fruits of AI. For example, the accumulated data can be useful in any number of ways. Adding to what we have already seen on medical applications, there’s more from David K. Gifford, an MIT professor and CEO of a company called Think Therapeutics, which pioneers some of the types of research he’s talking about, including both genetics and immunology. Or rather, the intersection of those two disciplines.

“What drug has saved the most lives throughout history?” Gifford asks. “Now, you might think, penicillin or an antibiotic, right? That’s obvious. Not so. Vaccines as a drug class have saved more lives throughout history than any other drug class: A billion lives and counting.” DTI COVID P.I. David Gifford of MIT in a Forbes video about his groundbreaking T-cell vaccine.

Referring to “killer T-cells,” he shows us a video of one attacking some other cell by stabbing wildly at its surface, while also introducing models for working with an epitope, the part of an antigen molecule that an antibody attaches to, and alleles, variations in the sequencing of nucleotides in a long DNA molecule.

“The design system,” says Gifford, “introduces methods for designing new peptide vaccines, evaluating existing vaccines, and augmenting existing vaccine designs. In this system, peptides are scored through machine learning by their ability to be displayed to elicit an immune response, and are then selected to maximize population coverage of who could benefit from the vaccine.”

Closing out the presentation, Gifford brings the focus to a broader use of AI in this field:

“AI provides novel medical solutions,” he says. “It’s just beginning, not only for vaccines, but for other kinds of therapeutic modalities… it’s a very exciting time.”

Read the complete Forbes article here.

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Tom Siebel, CEO, joins “Squawk Alley” to talk about U.S. political unrest and the future of AI in business. Source