Archive for the ‘biological’ category: Page 3

Jun 23, 2023

In a first, scientists use AI to create brand new enzymes

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, robotics/AI

In a scientific first, researchers have used machine learning-powered AI to design de novo enzymes — never-before-existing proteins that accelerate biochemical reactions in living organisms. Enzymes drive a wide range of critical processes, from digestion to building muscle to breathing.

A team led by the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design, along with colleagues at UCLA and China’s Xi’an Jiaotong University, used their AI engine to create new enzymes of a kind called luciferases. Luciferases — as their name implies — catalyze chemical reactions that emit light; they’re what give fireflies their flare.

“Living organisms are remarkable chemists,” David Baker, a professor of biochemistry at UW and the study’s senior author, said.

Jun 21, 2023

“Hydration Solids”: The New Class of Matter Shaking Up Science

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, particle physics, science

For many years, the fields of physics and chemistry have held the belief that the properties of solid materials are fundamentally determined by the atoms and molecules they consist of. For instance, the crystalline nature of salt is credited to the ionic bond formed between sodium and chloride ions. Similarly, metals such as iron or copper owe their robustness to the metallic bonds between their respective atoms, and the elasticity of rubbers stems from the flexible bonds in the polymers that form them. This principle also applies to substances like fungi, bacteria, and wood.

Or so the story goes.

A new paper recently published in Nature upends that paradigm, and argues that the character of many biological materials is actually created by the water that permeates these materials. Water gives rise to a solid and goes on to define the properties of that solid, all the while maintaining its liquid characteristics.

Jun 19, 2023

Resurrection — Scientists Discover It Is Not Due to a “Miracle Gene”

Posted by in category: biological

Certain plant species.

A species is a group of living organisms that share a set of common characteristics and are able to breed and produce fertile offspring. The concept of a species is important in biology as it is used to classify and organize the diversity of life. There are different ways to define a species, but the most widely accepted one is the biological species concept, which defines a species as a group of organisms that can interbreed and produce viable offspring in nature. This definition is widely used in evolutionary biology and ecology to identify and classify living organisms.

Jun 16, 2023

We Finally Know How Photosynthesis Starts: It Takes Just a Single Photon

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, quantum physics

During photosynthesis, a symphony of chemicals transforms light into the energy required for plant, algal, and some bacterial life. Scientists now know that this remarkable reaction requires the smallest possible amount of light – just one single photon – to begin.

A US team of researchers in quantum optics and biology showed that a lone photon can start photosynthesis in the purple bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides, and they are confident it works in plants and algae since all photosynthetic organisms share an evolutionary ancestor and similar processes.

The team says their findings bolster our knowledge of photosynthesis and will lead to a better understanding of the intersection of quantum physics in a wide range of complex biological, chemical, and physical systems, including renewable fuels.

Jun 15, 2023

Aging — what it is and how to measure it

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

The current understanding of the biology of aging is largely based on research aimed at identifying factors that influence lifespan. However, lifespan as a sole proxy measure of aging has limitations because it can be influenced by specific pathologies (not generalized physiological deterioration in old age). Hence, there is a great need to discuss and design experimental approaches that are well-suited for studies targeting the biology of aging, rather than the biology of specific pathologies that restrict the lifespan of a given species. For this purpose, we here review various perspectives on aging, discuss agreement and disagreement among researchers on the definition of aging, and show that while slightly different aspects are emphasized, a widely accepted feature, shared across many definitions, is that aging is accompanied by phenotypic changes that occur in a population over the course of an average lifespan. We then discuss experimental approaches that are in line with these considerations, including multidimensional analytical frameworks as well as designs that facilitate the proper assessment of intervention effects on aging rate. The proposed framework can guide discovery approaches to aging mechanisms in all key model organisms (e.g., mouse, fish models, D. melanogaster, C. elegans) as well as in humans.

Keywords: Aging; experimental design; lifespan; models; phenotypes.

Copyright © 2023 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Jun 14, 2023

Mean-shift exploration in shape assembly of robot swarms Communications

Posted by in categories: biological, information science, robotics/AI, transportation

The fascinating collective behaviors of biological systems have inspired extensive studies on shape assembly of robot swarms6,7,8,9. One class of strategies widely studied in the literature are based on goal assignment in either centralized or distributed ways10,11,12. Once a swarm of robots are assigned unique goal locations in a desired shape, the consequent task is simply to plan collision-free trajectories for the robots to reach their goal locations10 or conduct distributed formation control based on locally sensed information6,13,14. It is notable that centralized goal assignment is inefficient to support large-scale swarms since the computational complexity increases rapidly as the number of robots increases15,16. Moreover, when robots fail to function normally, additional algorithms for fault-tolerant detection and goal re-assignment are required to handle such situations17. As a comparison, distributed goal assignment can support large-scale swarms by decomposing the centralized assignment into multiple local ones11,12. It also exhibits better robustness to robot faults. However, since distributed goal assignments are based on locally sensed information, conflicts among local assignments are inevitable and must be resolved by sophisticated algorithms such as local task swapping11,12.

Another class of strategies for shape assembly that have also attracted extensive research attention are free of goal assignment18,19,20,21. For instance, the method proposed in ref. 18 can assemble complex shapes using thousands of homogeneous robots. An interesting feature of this method is that it does not rely on external global positioning systems. Instead, it establishes a local positioning system based on a small number of pre-localized seed robots. As a consequence of the local positioning system, the proposed edge-following control method requires that only the robots on the edge of a swarm can move while those inside must stay stationary. The method in ref. 19 can generate swarm shapes spontaneously from a reaction-diffusion network similar to embryogenesis in nature. However, this method is not able to generate user-specified shapes precisely. The method in ref. 21 can aggregate robots on the frontier of shapes based on saliency detection. The user-defined shape is specified by a digital light projector. An interesting feature of this method is that it does not require centralized edge detectors. Instead, edge detection is realized in a distributed manner by fusing the beliefs of a robot with its neighbors. However, since the robots cannot self-localize themselves relative to the desired shape, they make use of random walks to search for the edges, which would lead to random trajectories. Another class of methods that do not require goal assignment is based on artificial potential fields22,23,24,25. One limitation of this class of methods is that robots may easily get trapped in local minima, making it difficult to assemble nonconvex complex shapes.

Here, we propose a strategy for shape assembly of robot swarms based on the idea of mean-shift exploration: when a robot is surrounded by neighboring robots and unoccupied locations, it would actively give up its current location by exploring the highest density of nearby unoccupied locations in the desired shape. This idea does not rely on goal assignment. It is realized by adapting the mean-shift algorithm26,27,28, which is an optimization technique widely used in machine learning for locating the maxima of a density function. Moreover, a distributed negotiation mechanism is designed to allow robots to negotiate the final desired shape with their neighbors in a distributed manner. This negotiation mechanism enables the swarm to maneuver while maintaining a desired shape based on a small number of informed robots. The proposed strategy empowers robot swarms to assemble nonconvex complex shapes with strong adaptability and high efficiency, as verified by numerical simulation results and real-world experiments with swarms of 50 ground robots. The strategy can be adapted to generate interesting behaviors including shape regeneration, cooperative cargo transportation, and complex environment exploration.

Jun 14, 2023

Death as a Flaw in Biological Code

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

More apologism for aging and death.

Jun 10, 2023

Liquid Metal Breakthrough Can Transform Everyday Materials Into Electronic “Smart Devices”

Posted by in categories: biological, materials

Chinese scientists have devised a technique to coat everyday materials like paper and plastic with liquid metal, potentially creating “smart devices.” The method, which involves adjusting pressure rather than using a binding material, successfully enables the liquid metal to adhere to surfaces, a previously challenging task due to high surface tension.

Everyday materials such as paper and plastic could be transformed into electronic “smart devices” by using a simple new method to apply liquid metal to surfaces, according to scientists in Beijing, China. The study, published June 9 in the journal Cell Reports.

<em>Cell Reports</em> is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that published research papers that report new biological insight across a broad range of disciplines within the life sciences. Established in 2012, it is the first open access journal published by Cell Press, an imprint of Elsevier.

Jun 10, 2023

Scientists Reveal the Secret to Creating “Living and Breathing” Buildings That Use Less Energy

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology

The characteristics of the “egress complex” found in termite mounds can be replicated to enhance the optimize interior climate of buildings.

Of the approximately 2,000 recognized termite species.

A species is a group of living organisms that share a set of common characteristics and are able to breed and produce fertile offspring. The concept of a species is important in biology as it is used to classify and organize the diversity of life. There are different ways to define a species, but the most widely accepted one is the biological species concept, which defines a species as a group of organisms that can interbreed and produce viable offspring in nature. This definition is widely used in evolutionary biology and ecology to identify and classify living organisms.

Jun 9, 2023

Bioinspired robotics class offers intriguing surprises

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension, robotics/AI

Enter Kim’s class, 2.74 (Bio-Inspired Robotics).

According to Kim, researchers need to understand this cognitive bias, this tendency toward anthropomorphism, in order to even begin developing robots that can help humans with their physical movements. While Kim’s research interest is in building robots that could help people, such as the elderly in an aging population with fewer young people to perform services, such advancement is not even possible without understanding biology, biomechanics, and how much we don’t understand about our own everyday movements.

“One big thing students should learn in this class is not necessarily to understand how we move our body but the fact that we don’t understand how we move,” Kim says. “One of our ultimate goals in robotics is to develop robots that help elderly people by mimicking how we use our arms and legs, but if you don’t realize how little we know about how we move, we cannot even start tackling this problem.”

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