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Patrice Loiez/CERN
Patrice Loiez/CERN

CERN’s Particle Detector Now Has Robot Inspectors

Patrice Loiez/CERN
Patrice Loiez/CERN

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, the world’s premier particle detector, has a couple of new employees—both named TIM. The robotic inspectors can make their way around the detector’s almost 17 miles of tunnel autonomously, according to Engadget. The two TIMs—short for Train Inspection Monorail—will check the system’s oxygen levels, temperature, structure, and communication bandwidth, ensuring the world’s largest and most powerful particle detector is operating at its best.

The robotic inspectors move around the tunnel on a monorail suspended from the ceiling, and carry the instruments that provide feedback on the tunnel’s status in small wagons. Each device moves at a speed of slightly less than 4 miles per hour and uses infrared and visual imaging to allow scientists to monitor the tunnel. The inspectors can also pull other wagons with specific instruments as needed.

Right now, the TIMs are still located in a service tunnel awaiting their marching orders, but the duo should be chugging along pretty soon.

[h/t Engadget]

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Boston Dynamics
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technology
SpotMini, Boston Dynamics's Highly Capable Robo-Dog, Will Go on Sale Soon
Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics

Remember the Boston Dynamics robot that gripped the internet in collective terror earlier in 2018? The four-legged, headless 'bot was featured in a series of videos that displayed its ability to open doors, navigate stairs, and even challenge a human armed with a hockey stick.

Now, our dystopian nightmare is one step closer to becoming a reality. Boston Dynamics announced that SpotMini, their name for this practical-function puppy-bot, will see a limited release in 2018 and full-scale production in 2019. The company is eyeing commercial functions for the device, which can trot around office environments as a surveillance presence or assist in construction tasks that might prove dangerous for humans, like bounding up to the top of an unfinished skyscraper. With its optional, rather freakish arm attachment, it can pick up nearly 9 pounds—that’s roughly the size of a newborn infant.

The model does have one failsafe—it can only operate for 90 minutes before needing to charge its battery.

SpotMini will function through apps and human-controlled commands. By mapping out its environment using sensors, it will be able to locomote autonomously. No price has been announced.

[h/t Dezeen]

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Nixie Rhie, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Food
The Secret to Costco's Delicious Pizza Is a Sauce-Dispensing Robot
Nixie Rhie, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Nixie Rhie, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Deliciousness often comes from unexpected sources. Take the food court at Costco, for example: No matter which location you're shopping in, you can always count on the pizza there to taste better than food served at a big box store has any right to be. Reader's Digest recently revealed the secret behind the chain's confounding culinary consistency: pizza-making robots.

Rather than relying solely on human employees to assemble the ingredients, Costco has perfected the art of pizza preparation with a machine that makes each pie identical to the one that came before it. Each Costco pizza starts with dough that's had sufficient time to rise and achieve chewy, pillowy goodness. From there, an automated nozzle dispenses an even layer of pizza sauce over a spinning, uncooked crust, and then the cheese and toppings are added with painstaking precision. "Every Costco pizza you get should have the same amount of sauce, cheese, and toppings,” Costco employee Kaiwen Zhao told Reader's Digest.

The final step takes place in the oven: The pie is blasted with heat from all angles and emerges from the oven exactly six minutes later. If the pizza isn't purchased within the hour, it gets tossed and replaced with a fresh one.

Surprisingly, Costco is one of the biggest pizza franchises in the country, with nearly 500 stores serving up the famous pies. But pizza isn't the only menu item that keeps customers coming back to the food court: Costco's rotisserie chicken is so popular that it has its own Facebook fan page.

[h/t Reader's Digest]

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