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Have scientists invented living skin for robots? 🤖

ALSO: AI Model Simulates 500 Million Years of Evolution, AI Blood Test Predicts Parkinson’s Years in Advance, Robots Help Put Brakes On Inflammatory Diseases

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Welcome to this week’s edition of Supermedic, where we explore the latest developments in artificial intelligence and its transformative impact on healthcare.

Let’s get into it!

Victor

TODAY’S MENU

  • Scientists Create Smiling Robot Face From Living Human Skin Cells

  • AI Model Simulates 500 Million Years of Evolution

  • AI Blood Test Predicts Parkinson’s Years in Advance

  • Robots Help Put Brakes On Inflammatory Diseases

  • Can Therapist GPT Replace Traditional Therapy? (Testimonial)

Read time: under 7 minutes

ROBOTICS

Scientists Create Smiling Robot Face From Living Human Skin Cells

Illustration: Ameca humanoid-robot (credit: Engineered Arts)

Ever wondered if robots could have facial expressions as realistic as those in "Blade Runner"? Japanese researchers have developed a new method to attach living skin tissue to robots, potentially making them more human-like.

How It Works

Led by Professor Shoji Takeuchi at the University of Tokyo, the team created "anchors" using collagen gel applied to V-shaped holes on the robot's surface, inspired by human skin ligaments. The new technique aims to overcome the challenges of traditional synthetic skin, which often detaches easily.

Why it Matters: The living skin could enhance robots' ability to express emotions and interact naturally with humans, which is crucial for applications in healthcare and other people-facing roles. Future research aims to add sensory functions to the skin, making it responsive to environmental stimuli.

Takeuchi’s team is also developing a vascular system for the robotic skin to maintain its health and durability over time. This development marks a significant step towards creating robots that can both look and feel more human-like.

BIOLOGY

AI Model Simulates 500 Million Years of Evolution

Crédit: EvolutionaryScale

Biotech startup EvolutionaryScale has introduced ESM3, an AI biology model capable of simulating 500 million years of evolution. This model, designed to replicate natural evolutionary processes, offers unprecedented insights into biological development and evolutionary patterns.

Key Features:

  • ESM3 can analyze protein sequences, structures, and functions simultaneously.

  • The AI mimics natural selection, mutations, and other evolutionary mechanisms over extensive timescales, using advanced algorithms to simulate complex biological processes.

  • In tests, ESM3 generated a new fluorescent protein 58% different from other known structures — a leap that typically takes nature 500M years of evolution.

  • Founded by former META researchers, EvolutionaryScale has secured $142M in seed funding from Amazon and Nvidia.

Why It Matters: This technology could revolutionize our understanding of evolution and biological systems, leading to breakthroughs in healthcare, genetics, and environmental conservation. By providing a detailed simulation of evolutionary processes, it allows scientists to explore new hypotheses and develop innovative solutions to biological challenges.

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NEUROLOGY

AI Blood Test Predicts Parkinson’s Years in Advance

Credit: Neuro-central

Researchers from UCL and University Medical Center Goettingen have developed an AI-powered blood test capable of predicting Parkinson’s disease up to seven years before symptoms appear.

How It Works

The AI analyzes eight blood biomarkers associated with inflammation and protein degradation. In a 10-year study, it accurately identified 79% of patients who later developed Parkinson's. The team tested 72 patients with Rapid Eye Movement Behavior Disorder, known to lead to Parkinson's, with successful early predictions.

Why It Matters: Parkinson’s disease, affecting nearly 10 million people globally, currently lacks early diagnostic tools. This new blood test can identify the disease years before symptoms, allowing for earlier intervention and treatment to protect dopamine-producing brain cells. The researchers aim to develop a simple finger-prick test for widespread screenings, making early detection accessible.

BIOTECH

Robots Help Put Brakes On Inflammatory Diseases

WEHI researchers Professor James Murphy, Dr Aysha Al-Ani, Dr Andre Samson and Shene Chiou. Credit: WEHI

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) have developed new automated techniques using advanced robotic systems to detect necroptosis, a type of cell death linked to inflammatory diseases like psoriasis, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

The Study

  • The team utilized liquid handling robots and advanced imaging to create an "atlas of necroptosis," providing a precise map of where this process occurs in the body.

  • By optimizing over 300 experimental conditions, they ensured the robotic methods are reliable and can be replicated in various clinical settings.

  • These techniques allow for high-throughput analysis, enabling detailed studies on patient samples with high accuracy and consistency.

Why It Matters: This breakthrough could lead to better diagnosis and personalized treatments for millions worldwide. Researchers aim to extend their work to other inflammatory conditions, potentially leading to new medicines targeting necroptosis.

AI THERAPY

Can Therapist GPT Replace Traditional Therapy?

A millennial journalist, skeptical of AI, decided to try Therapist GPT for a week as a potential alternative to traditional therapy. Despite initial apprehensions, the writer found the AI surprisingly effective and easy to use, offering practical advice and emotional support.

The experiment revealed both pros (convenience, cost-effectiveness) and cons (generic advice, privacy concerns) of AI therapy. Ultimately, the author concluded that while AI therapy can't replace human therapists yet, it could serve as a useful supplement between sessions.

Have you ever used an AI tool like TherapistGPT?

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Must-Read AI Healthcare News This Week

  • Clinical Automation: Oracle's new digital assistant with GenAI aims to reduce documentation time for ambulatory clinics by up to 40%. Announced last year, this solution is now available accross the USA.

  • Digital Health: Eureka Health introduced Eureka, an “AI doctor” that delivers rapid, insurance-covered care for thyroid patients in the US.

  • Neuroscience: First Neuralink patient was invited to Joe Rogan podcast to share his experience and how he developped amazing gaming skills thanks to his brain implant.

  • Joint Venture: SoftBank is teaming up with health tech company Tempus to build AI-powered medical services that will recommend personalized cancer treatments based on patient data.

  • Medical Imaging: Deep learning application detects acute ischemic stroke on MRI in under 30 seconds with high accuracy.

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