Scientists create a ‘lifelike’ material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

PAUL RATNER18 April, 2019

Scientists create a 'lifelike' material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material’s DNA.

Cornell University engineers have created an artificial material that has three key traits of life — metabolism, self-assembly and organization. The engineers were able to pull off such a feat by using DNA in order to make machines from biomaterials that would have characteristics of alive things.

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Eucalipto arco-íris: a árvore mais bonita do mundo

O eucalipto deglupta é comumente conhecido como o eucalipto arco-íris por causa de sua maneira única de derramar sua casca. Uma vez derramada, a casca interna que é revelada é verde brilhante, mas eventualmente amadurece para azul, roxo, laranja e, eventualmente, marrom. O eucalipto arco-íris não perde sua casca de uma só vez, mas em seções ao longo do ano, permitindo o incrível efeito do arco-íris.

Também conhecida como ‘goma de Mindanao’, ou ‘goma de arco-íris’, esta bela árvore é nativa das Filipinas, Indonésia e Papua Nova Guiné. É a única espécie de eucalipto que geralmente vive na floresta tropical – com uma extensão natural que se estende até o hemisfério norte

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How we transport water in our bodies inspires new water filtration method

A multidisciplinary group of engineers and scientists has discovered a new method for water filtration that could have implications for a variety of technologies, such as desalination plants, breathable and protective fabrics, and carbon capture in gas separations. The research team, led by Manish Kumar in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, published their findings in the latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

The study, which brought together researchers from UT Austin, Penn State University, the University of Tennessee, Fudan University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was initially inspired by the way our cells transport water throughout the body and began as an attempt to develop artificial channels for transporting water across membranes. The aim was to mimic aquaporins, essential membrane proteins that serve as water channels and are found in certain cells. Aquaporins are fast and efficient water filtration systems. They form pores in the membranes of cells in various parts of the body—eyes, kidneys and lungs—where water is in greatest demand.

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A Power Law Keeps the Brain’s Perceptions Balanced

Researchers have discovered a surprising mathematical relationship in the brain’s representations of sensory information, with possible applications to AI research.

The human brain is often described in the language of tipping points: It toes a careful line between high and low activity, between dense and sparse networks, between order and disorder. Now, by analyzing firing patterns from a record number of neurons, researchers have uncovered yet another tipping point — this time, in the neural code, the mathematical relationship between incoming sensory information and the brain’s neural representation of that information. Their findings, published in Nature in June, suggest that the brain strikes a balance between encoding as much information as possible and responding flexibly to noise, which allows it to prioritize the most significant features of a stimulus rather than endlessly cataloging smaller details. The way it accomplishes this feat could offer fresh insights into how artificial intelligence systems might work, too.

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