Headlines at 21st Century Tech for May 25, 2012

Because I continually run across interesting inventions and discoveries that I cannot give my full attention to I thought I would create a weekly summary of items that have caught my eye. I’ll publish these headlines every Friday and hope, you,  my readers find them as interesting as I do. Let me know if you find something worth posting here and I’ll make it happen.

Here goes……


This story bridges two subject areas, both agriculture and robotics. A robotics team at Kansas State University has built a prototype robotic tractor that when scaled up can be used by farmers for managing planting. A limited release of the first robotic planting systems is scheduled to go on sale this fall.

Robotic planting systems will soon be commercially available. Source: Harvest Public Media


This story appeared in April in Nature. Nanomaterials are playing a larger role in producing biomedical breakthroughs particularly in targeting treatment of conditions that have not responded well to traditional drug therapies or invasive procedures. In this case nanotechnology is making it possible to deliver drugs across the blood-brain barrier to treat cerebral palsy with the hope that animal studies will soon progress to human clinical trials.


Biofuels are increasingly appearing at local gas stations, in the wing tanks of commercial aircraft, and in diesel-powered ships. Bio refineries are springing up in both the Developed and Developing World. This article appeared in Aol Energy on May 22 and is an interesting read about biofuels, the food versus fuel debate and the technological advances being made.

The airbus in this picture is being filled with biofuel.                Source: Getty Images

The  Environment

Kudos to the City of Los Angeles, the largest city in the United States to ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores. If you need a bag you’ll be able to get paper at 10 cents per bag.

Outer Space

It would be hard to ignore the accomplishments this week of SpaceX with their successful launch of the Dragon spacecraft and its docking today with the International Space Station. We’ll be paying a lot more attention to commercial enterprises in space in future blogs.

The first commercial spacecraft to be used as a resupply vessel for the International Space Station, docked with it today. Source: NASA TV

Robotics/Artificial Intelligence

Creating robots that are anthropomimetic, that is they mimic humans in appearance, function and movement, is the goal of  The Robot Studio. Read this article and look at the YouTube video that was posted in April about ECCEROBOT.

The Eccerobot project is designed to look like a human on the outside and mechanically work the same way on the inside. Source: The Robot Studio

Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...