3D Printed Soft Robo-Hand Can Play Nintendo Super Mario Bros. And Win

3D Printed Soft Robo-Hand Can Play Nintendo Super Mario Bros. And Win

What if Americans become too obese and lazy that they had robots play video games for them one day? 

University of Maryland researchers have 3D printed a soft robotic hand capable of playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The soft robotic hand is flexible and powered by air rather than electricity. 

The breakthrough in soft robotics is led by University of Maryland assistant professor of mechanical engineering Ryan D. Sochol and his team, who 3D print a fully functional soft robotic hand with “integrated fluidic circuits” that allowed it to be programmed and play NES. 

“Previously, each finger of a soft robotic hand would typically need its own control line, which can limit portability and usefulness,” said co-first author Joshua Hubbard. “But by 3D printing the soft robotic hand with our integrated fluidic transistors, it can play Nintendo based on just one pressure input.”

During a session of Super Mario Bros., various types of air pressure control each of the robot’s fingers. For example, the first finger is controlled by low pressure, and the second finger is controlled by medium pressure, and so forth. In total, three fingers can control the NES remote and are programmed to beat the first level of the game in under 90 seconds. 

Sochol and his team aren’t satisfied with using soft robotics technology for just video games. They’re exploring ways to use this technology in the biomedical field. 

Watch the robot play the first level of the game and win. 

Tyler Durden
Sat, 07/31/2021 – 22:30

California Parents Are Pulling Children From Public Schools

California Parents Are Pulling Children From Public Schools

Authored by Vanessa Serna via The Epoch Times,

Faced with contentious changes within the public school sector—including the introduction of ethnic studies in some districts—some California parents are searching for alternative options.

“I don’t want my daughter exposed to any type of sex education at any grade level, and I don’t want her introduced to any type of critical race theory at any grade level,” Denise Ramirez told The Epoch Times.

Ramirez is a mother of three children, with two enrolled in the Tustin Unified School District and another recently enrolled in private school.

With concerns mounting over critical race theory (CRT) being taught in classrooms—coupled with mask mandates for public schools leading into the coming curricular year—Ramirez began to seek other options for her children.

She enrolled her daughter at a private Christian school to attend kindergarten. The facility remained open during the pandemic, and did not require kindergarteners to wear masks.

Ramirez said she wants her daughter to have an education that doesn’t involve sex education and critical race theory. She said her boys were exposed to a “comprehensive sex education” in Grade 7.

“What we want for her education to look like is that she can go in person, and there won’t be any interruption,” she said.

Increasing Private School Enrollments 

At Aliso Christian Academy, principal Kaelyn Peterson said she is witnessing an increase in enrollments.

Before enrolling families into the school, Peterson provides them with a tour of the facility. Based on information she’s gleaned on the tours she’s led, parents are reaching for more in-person instruction as they see it more suitable for their kids, she said.

She also said that more conservative families are searching for alternative education options as different ideas and agendas that go against beliefs are being “pushed down” into the public education spectrum.

“The majority of them say is they want their kids in-person and they also want them in an environment where they feel like what’s being taught to them aligns with their values,” Peterson said.

The school took safety precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, but remained open.

As some families turn toward private schools, others decide to stay put and wait for their children to finish out their public education.

Jon Schank, whose son is an incoming high school senior at Tustin Unified School District (TUSD), said that he disagrees with the decisions being made in public schools but doesn’t intend to move his son.

“I do not like the direction of education…the introduction of ethnic studies,” he told The Epoch Times.

“I think the school board does not act in the best interest of the students.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 07/31/2021 – 22:00

Google Play Store To Ban “Sugar Daddy” Apps

Google Play Store To Ban “Sugar Daddy” Apps

Google published several changes to its Google Play Store policy on Wednesday, including banning “sugar dating” apps. 

The policy change in question reads, “We’re updating the inappropriate content policy to institute new restrictions on sexual content, specifically prohibiting compensated sexual relationships (i.e. sugar dating).”

Those who aren’t familiar with “sugar dating” involve older, wealthier individuals dating young partners and showering them in gifts or money, often in exchange for sexual favors. 

Play’s policies already forbid apps that promote “services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation.” The updated policy change kicks in on Sept. 1. 

A search shows plenty of sugar daddy-style apps on Play, including “Sugar Daddy Dating,” “Elite Millionaire Singles,” and “SeekingArrangement.”

There was no mention of which apps would be banned, but there are workarounds such as manually entering the website on an Android web browser or sideloading the dating app. 

So much for some millennials who traded sexual favors to older partners to pay off their student debt. 

Tyler Durden
Sat, 07/31/2021 – 21:30

California Biggest Public Sector Union Opposes Newsom’s Vaccine Order

California Biggest Public Sector Union Opposes Newsom’s Vaccine Order

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times,

California’s biggest public sector union has come out in opposition to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order requiring state workers to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing.

Richard Louis Brown, president of SEIU Local 1000, which represents some 96,000 employees of the State of California, on Wednesday shared a letter from the union to the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) objecting to Newsom’s vaccine mandate.

“The new policy constitutes a unilateral change in violation of the obligation to give notice and the opportunity to meet and confer prior to implementation,” reads the letter, signed by SEIU Local 1000 chief counsel Anne Giese.

Giese called on CalHR and the State of California to “cease and desist enforcing this requirement or imposing an immediate deadline” until the union has had the chance to meet and confer.

The move came in response to the Democrat governor’s order, issued on Monday, requiring all of California’s state employees, some 246,000 people, to get vaccinated starting Aug. 2 or be subjected to weekly COVID-19 testing.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

In announcing the vaccine mandate, Newsom pointed to the spread of the Delta variant of the CCP virus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists as a “variant of concern” and considers to be more transmissible and potentially more resistant to vaccines.

“We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant,” Newsom said in a statement.

“As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly.”

So far, opposition by SEIU Local 1000 marks the only union objection to Newsom’s order.

On Friday, Newsom’s office shared statements in support of his order issued by a number of local leaders and associations.

“Newsom’s new vaccine policy is a reasonable compromise that we can get behind,” said Glen Stailey, president of the Correctional Peace Officers Association.

“It provides for regular testing at work for those who have chosen not to get vaccinated—this will prevent the spread of the virus among correctional officers and incarcerated individuals alike.”

Denise Duncan, president of the United Nurses Association of California said in a statement that, “COVID-19 transmissions are high, we’re in a fourth surge, and we know that unvaccinated people are suffering the most. This is a forward-thinking order from Governor Newsom which will save lives by protecting patients and caregivers both.”

Federal, state, and local government officials have pushed vaccinations harder as cases linked to the Delta variant have risen.

Just under half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Vaccine mandates have become a hot-button issue, with advocates welcoming them as a measure to help stem the spread of the CCP virus and protect vulnerable populations, while opponents object on a range of grounds, including concerns about side effects, that the COVID-19 vaccines are currently under emergency use authorization, and that mandates infringe on personal liberties.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 07/31/2021 – 21:00

Air Force’s Second Attempt To Air-Launch Hypersonic Weapon Fails 

Air Force’s Second Attempt To Air-Launch Hypersonic Weapon Fails 

For the second time in months, the US Air Force has unsuccessfully tested a prototype hypersonic weapon. 

The Air Force’s AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, separated from the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber during an air-launch test on July 28 when the rocket motors failed to ignite. This test follows the first unsuccessful flight test in April

Testing was conducted over Point Mugu Sea Range in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California. The Air Force explains what went wrong this time:

The missile cleanly separated from the aircraft and successfully demonstrated the full release sequence, including GPS acquisition, umbilical disconnect and power transfer from the aircraft to the missile. The missile also demonstrated fin operation and de-confliction maneuvers which ensures a safe operation for the aircrew.

Following the safe separation maneuvers, the rocket motor did not ignite. The ARRW team continues to progress through the rapid prototyping effort with a steadfast commitment to the well-being of Airmen and equipment, striking a balance between prudent risk and rapid advancement of the program. 

The test failure is a significant blow for the US locked in a hypersonic weapons race against China and Russia. Hypersonic weapons, like the ARRW, can travel at Mach 5, or about 3,836 mph. The missiles are designed to travel at super-fast speeds and penetrate the world’s most advanced air defense shields.

The push for hypersonic weapons occurred under the Trump administration where America was reasserting its military dominance across the world. 

Here’s our recent coverage on the ARRW program: 

The US is attempting to field the ARRW in the early 2020s, but the latest setbacks could delay fielding the super-fast new weapons. 

Tyler Durden
Sat, 07/31/2021 – 20:30

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