Tech developed to make lunar rover capable of operating in extreme environments

A research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology showcases a prototype of a lunar rover, which will be used for moon exploration in 2020.
A research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology showcases a prototype of a lunar rover, which will be used for moon exploration in 2020.

On Feb. 16, a research team led by Dr. Gang Sung-cheol at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) unveiled a prototype of a lunar rover, which is planned to be on the moon roving by 2020. What is notable is that a lunar rover has been developed with local technology.

The machine is able to carry out its mission in extreme conditions. Since it is designed to control heat easily, it can operate in a huge daily temperature range from 170 degrees below zero to 130 degrees above zero. It can perform its tasks on rough terrain as well.

The most notable characteristic of the newly-developed rover is that it is composed of two bodies. The passive double tracks of ROBHAZ, a robot designed to perform dangerous work, were used. The passive double tracks with two separate bodies connected with chains help the robot operate in a smooth manner, while maintaining its contact with the ground even in rugged terrain. The rover can move steadily up 30 degree slopes and even get over a 5-cm-tall fence. It can move up to 4 cm per second.

For full article, see Business Korea.

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Tech developed to for non-invasive microscopic brainwave measurements

The principle of forming a conductive nanomesh and the material structure.
The principle of forming a conductive nanomesh and the material structure.

Korean research team has successfully developed a technique to make a new material that can measure brainwaves without making an incision into a patient’s scalp. A research team headed by Dr. Lee Hyung-jung from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) announced on Feb. 11 that they have succeeded in developing a new material with a mesh structure capable of detecting even weak biosignals when attached to a human skull. It was done by combining a single-layer carbon nanotube and a substance that the team calls P8GB#1.

Biosignals from a brain, a heart, and muscles are usually delivered in the form of ions. It is possible to get various kinds of information by changing ion signals into electronic signals and analyzing the result using electronic devices. The research team discovered P8GB#1, a substance with a tendency to stick to single-layer carbon nanotubes, producing a highly-conductive nanomesh. The material with a minute mesh structure can detect electronic signals owing to the large contact surface.

For full article, see Business Korea.

Robot scientist pushes limits of virtual reality

2014_01_mahruEight years ago, You developed the world’s first network-based humanoid called Mahru, whose latest version, unveiled in 2010, can recognize items and tasks such as house cleaning, operating a microwave and performing other household chores. You, 50, has been leading the research to push the boundaries of virtual reality, focusing on technologies that enable people to interact without space or time constraints.

More than 200 researchers from KIST, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, KAIST, GIST, Hanyang University and Sangmyung University are taking part in the nine-year project. “The purpose of our research is to enable people to experience virtual and remote worlds as if they were the real world,” the director of the Center of Human-Centered Interaction for Coexistence told The Korea Herald in a recent interview.

You and his colleagues are now working on a three-dimensional teleconferencing system. Part of the research is to create a “coexistence space” where people can not only see and talk to each other, but also touch and feel, he explained.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Scientists identify a source of neural disorders

A group of South Korean scientists have discovered what could be a significant source of neurological disorders, such as depression, and may lead to the development of better treatment for such illnesses, the science ministry said Saturday.

The team led by Lee Chang-joon, a researcher from the Korea Institute of Science & Technology, confirmed for the first time in the world that non-neuronal cells can secrete glutamate, a neurotransmitter that is important for learning and memory, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Abnormal secretion of glutamate can cause an imbalance between substances in the human nervous system that stimulate or depress and could lead to neurological disorders, according to the research team, which also included Prof. Park Jae-yong of the Gyeongsang National University and Prof. Bae Yong-cheol of Kyungpook National University.

For full article see Korea Herald.