DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE: Where's a doctor when you need one? Patients in hospitals may gain better access to doctors via iRobot's RP-VITA Telemedicine Robot. The roughly person sized robot can be operated by an iPad touchscreen and access clinical data in real time. A nurse may work directly with a patient while the doctor can consult form a distance. The robot can also connect with diagnostic devices such as otoscopes and ultrasound, and an electronic stethoscope. The robot can find its own way around the hospital with mapping and obstacle avoidance features. That's really useful if it can let doctors see more patients more effectively. iRobot elaborates. Video here.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN: Need a gun? Perhaps you could print your own. One US gunsmith did just that, with a .22-caliber pistol partly made out of plastic, 3D-printed parts. The main body of the pistol was made of plastic, though the chamber was made of solid metal.
It's a scary thought that anyone who can download a plan could create a gun of their own. Legislators, are you ready to amend the gun laws? ExtremeTech details.
SPACE PRINTING: Astronauts travelling even to Mars will have to take with them everything they need. So maybe it would make sense to include a manufacturing plant of some kind. A 3D printer may be part of the answer. On recent multiple zero-gravity flights 2 modified off-the-shelf 3D printers were tested, printing a scaled down wrench and various other objects. Since 3D printing works at least to some extent in zero G this does seem promising. Made In Space explains.
SHIELD IN THE BOX: NASA's Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator is a heat shield for spacecraft. Unlike the current huge rigid structures though this aeroshell, made of kevlar and other heat resistant materials, is packed a little like a parachute. That means more space is available for the main payload. When it's needed for re-entry the aeroshell is inflated by nitrogen gas and forms a cone ahead of the craft. Tests so far have been successful. That's some impressive heat resistance. NASA has more. Check out the video.
DON'T TOUCH: Many public toilets can flush without you needing to press a button, dispense soap, water and paper towels all with the wave of a hand. And that helps prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Now Japanese firm Shikoku has developed a toilet paper dispenser that issues a folded length of paper without needing to be touched. The Camitool dispenses paper in fixed lengths and cuts it like scissors. It's easy to take the paper without actually touching the device too, so no germ sharing there. How much does it all really matter if you wash your hands at the end? DigInfo TV has further details. Check out the vid here.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz