Art/Aesthetics · Performativity · Technology

Calligraphy robot uses a Motion Copy System to reproduce detailed brushwork

A research group at Keio University, led by Seiichiro Katsura, has developed the Motion Copy System. This system can identify and store detailed brush strokes, based on information about movement in calligraphy. This enables a robot to faithfully reproduce the detailed brush strokes.

This system stores calligraphy movements by using a brush where the handle and tip are separate. The two parts are connected, with the head as the master system and the tip as the slave system. Characters can be written by handling the device in the same way as an ordinary brush.

Unlike conventional motion capture systems, a feature of this one is, it can record and reproduce the force applied to the brush as well as the sensation when you touch something. Until now, passing on traditional skills has depended on intuition and experience. It’s hoped that this new system will enable skills to be learned more efficiently.

Text via <strong>DigiInfo

Bio · Design · Human-ities · Science · Social/Politics · Vital-Edible-Health

How Science Constructs Contraceptive Users and Women’s Bodies

Chikako Takeshita’s The Global Biopolitics of the IUD traces the scientific and political history of the intrauterine device (IUD) from the 1960s through today. This birth control device, Takeshita writes in this contribution to The MIT Press’s Inside Technology series, may have been employed to reinforce patriarchal ideals that deny women agency—but even in these cases, women have often converted it into an instrument of individual power, in part because the IUD can allow a woman to keep her birth control method hidden. The device thus has at times been associated with efforts to inflict control on the womb, but women also have used it as a method of exerting control in cultural or personal milieus that otherwise may not allow it. Given the current political climate, a book about how a “simple” piece of plastic both controls women and allows them control is timely.

Social context, Takeshita says, not only influences the design of IUDs themselves and how they are marketed and used, but also shapes the conduct of scientific work about them. She begins with the assumption that any such technology will involve “webs of state and nonstate investments” in the bodies, health, sexuality and reproduction of women. The medical researchers who have developed IUDs, along with the organizations that back them, she argues, grasp these varying interests and have made and marketed IUDs based on prevailing social climate, ultimately centering on the white, middle-class Western woman as a target user.

Excerpt from a review written by Emily Willingham, at American Scientist. Continue HERE

Image via the History of Medicine (NLM): The History of Contraception Museum

Bio · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

Scientists rewrite rules of human reproduction: Lab-grown egg cells could revolutionize fertility – and even banish menopause

The first human egg cells that have been grown entirely in the laboratory from stem cells could be fertilized later this year in a development that will revolutionize fertility treatment and might even lead to a reversal of the menopause in older women.

Scientists are about to request a license from the UK fertility watchdog to fertilize the eggs as part of a series of tests to generate an unlimited supply of human eggs, a breakthrough that could help infertile women to have babies as well as making women as fertile in later life as men.

Producing human eggs from stem cells would also open up the possibility of replenishing the ovaries of older women so that they do not suffer the age-related health problems associated with the menopause, from osteoporosis to heart disease.

Excerpt of an article written by Steve Connor at the Independent. Continue HERE

Bio · Science · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Sonicating sperm — the future of male contraception. Confirmed to work

Imagine a contraceptive that could, with one or two painless 15-minute non-surgical treatments, provide months of protection from pregnancy. And imagine that the equipment needed were already in physical therapists’ offices around the world.

Sound too good to be true? For years, scientists thought so too. But new research headed by Dr. James Tsuruta in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, published Monday in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, is gaining the contraceptive method increased respect. The kicker: This treatment would be for men—giving them the first new option since condoms and vasectomy were introduced more than a century ago.

HOW IT WORKS

The testes need to be slightly cooler than the rest of the body to properly produce sperm—the subject of countless jokes and warnings about hot tubs, laptops, and tight pants. But although hot tub or laptop use can push a man’s sperm count over the edge if he’s already low, it’s not reliable enough for contraception. What if this heat effect could be enhanced?

That’s where ultrasound comes in. Relatively inexpensive and already in use in physical therapists’ offices around the world, therapeutic ultrasound (as opposed to diagnostic ultrasound) heats deeply and increases circulation to injured joints. The physical therapist applies lubricating gel to the joint, turns on the machine, and runs the wand back and forth over the joint for 5 or 10 minutes, creating a pleasant warming sensation.

It turns out, though, that ultrasound can be used on other body parts as well. That includes the testes, and it would be for contraception rather than healing. In the current study, researchers got more than 2 1/2 months—and possibly long-lasting—contraception in rats with two 15-minute sessions of ultrasound, two days apart. And their study is the first to provide detailed insight into how ultrasound might be working, using modern equipment. But the published evidence that it works has been in plain sight for more than 35 years—not taken seriously until recently.

Via Medical Xpress. Continue HERE

Image above taken from the film “Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex” by Woody Allen.