Science Bots: Stanford’s Fruit Fly Vacuum

One of the things I’m most interested in in creating this blog is the the opportunity to look at all the different ways that advanced computing/A.I. are affecting the economy — mostly when people think robots they think “factory”, whether that’s giant scary robot arms bolting and welding car bodies, or little Amazon warehouse bots scurrying around concrete canyons. So I wanted to highlight this recent video out from Stamford — a fruit fly-handling bot.

This little bot has a lot of potential to impact research — fruit flies have been the mainstay of lab work for decades, but you usually have to at least knock ’em out if not kill them in order to get them to hold still long enough to examine them under a microscope and track the results of any particular experiment. The new Stanford bot is both precise and gentle enough to trap the flies alive and wriggling — allowing scientists to study their living, conscious brains as well as sex them and track mutations and other characteristics they wish to study.

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