Bernie Sanders And Italian Robots

Grind for January 29th, 2019
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

– William Shakespeare

Deja Vu

The Headline

Will Bernie Sanders run for election in 2020?

The Grind

Rumor has it Bernie Sanders is taking another shot at the White House.

“What the senator has this time that he didn’t have last time is he is the most popular elected official in the country right now,” an anonymous source told reporters at Yahoo. “That’s light years away from 2016, when very few people knew who he was.”

Based on name recognition alone, Sanders would do well in early polling. And his supporters are still sore from his loss to Hillary during the 2016 primaries.

According to a Harvard-Harris survey conducted late last year, Sanders is viewed favorably by 57% of registered voters. He has a particularly high view among African-Americans, a group he prioritized during his campaign in 2016.

“I haven’t heard anything, and I get mixed signals from the insiders I talk with,” said a second source to Yahoo. “But he has basically been doing everything he needs to do to prepare, so at this point, I expect he probably will.”

The Details

Bernie Sanders’s biggest accomplishment in 2016 was to fracture the Democratic Party to a point where it ended up helping the GOP come out on top.

“He’s already talking to staff and there are people he’s hiring,” said an ex-staffer. “They’re nailing down contracts with vendors…All the movement is there for him to run.”

And despite the damage his presidential campaign caused to the Democratic Party, I’m sure his supporters would be more than happy to see him try again.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t enlist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as his running mate.

Feed Me, Seymour

The Headline

New “soft robot” moves like creeping vine

The Grind

A team of researchers in Genoa, Italy have created the first “soft robot” capable of moving the way a vine might creep across the side of a building.

Future applications include:

— Wearable technology, including braces that can change shape

— Robots that can adapt to their environment

— Robots that can safely work with living material

The study was led by Barbara Mazzolai, a biologist with a Ph.D. in microsystems engineering. In 2015, she was listed as one of the top 25 most influential women in robotics.

The Details

In nature, vines control the direction of growth by altering the transport of water (osmosis) within their cells.

The movement process is similar for the soft robot, which uses a battery to control the movement of electrically-charged liquid inside its flexible plastic casing.

The robot can easily “unwind” by reversing the polarity of the charge.

“The possibility of exploiting osmosis to activate reversible movements has been demonstrated for the first time,” reads the report. “The fact of having succeeded by using a common battery and flexible fabrics, moreover, suggest the possibility of creating soft robots easily adaptable to the surrounding environment, thus with potential for enhanced and safe interactions with objects or living beings.”

Mazzolai’s team is currently involved in a project called “GrowBot,” which seeks to develop a robot that can control its growth, adapt to new environments, and distinguish between different surfaces.

Did you know… Most of the world’s people must walk at least 3 hours to fetch water!