The secret to an elephant’s trunk is skin deep

The elephant has a secret hiding right on its nose.

Its famous trunk, full of muscle and devoid of bone, can move in a virtually infinite number of directions and is capable of performing an array of tasks, such as tearing up foliage and suctioning up water and tortilla chips. These abilities have inspired nature lovers as well as engineers working to build robots capable of similar feats of flexibility and force.

But the trunk is more than mere muscle, and its abilities may also depend on something obvious but often ignored: the appendage’s skin.

In a study published Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that because of key differences in the pliability of the skin in different zones, an elephant’s trunk stretches more at the topside that faces outward than at the underside closer to the mouth.

The trunk is “a muscular multitool that can do all these things, but one of the tools that it has in its back pocket is all of this different skin,” said Andrew Schulz, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and an author of the new study.

As part of a continuing collaboration with Zoo Atlanta, Schulz and his colleagues challenged two African elephants — one male and one female — to horizontally elongate their trunks to grab food placed far away.

The simplicity of this reaching movement belies the complexity of what the trunk needs to do.

When viewed on a high-speed camera, the elephant trunk does not stretch uniformly as do other muscular appendages, such as octopus arms or your tongue. Instead, the trunk telescopes outward, with the tip extending first, followed by the front half of the trunk.

The researchers hypothesize this telescoping behavior may be more energy efficient than moving the entire trunk. If the trunk were divided into quarters, there is about 1 liter of muscle at the tip but a whopping 22 liters of muscle at the base, which would be heavy and energy intensive if the movement were more uniform.

And with even more detailed analysis, the researchers noticed “weird asymmetries popping up everywhere, like things were different on the top and the bottom,” Schulz said. As the elephant trunk elongated, the outward-facing half was stretching 15% farther than the half facing the ground was.

“I still remember literally running to my adviser’s office being an idiot with my laptop in my hand to show him some of these results because it’s so surprising,” Schulz said.

Initially, the researchers thought this top-bottom difference in trunk stretching was an error, but further mechanical testing put those doubts to rest.

In an undated image provided by Andrew Schulz and Adam Thompson/Zoo Atlanta, an elephant uses its trunk. An elephant trunk, full of muscle and devoid of bone, can move in a virtually infinite number of directions and is capable of performing an array of tasks, such as tearing up foliage and suctioning up water and tortilla

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Israel to establish quantum computing R&D heart, construct quantum personal computer

Israel is transferring forward with strategies to lay the foundation for quantum computational potential, which it has stated would direct to upcoming developments in economics, engineering, security, engineering, and science.

This week, the Israel Innovation Authority introduced a budget of NIS 100 million ($29 million) to construct a quantum computing exploration centre, headed by Israeli startup Quantum Devices, which will also help make a quantum computer.

Quantum Machines, launched in 2018, has developed a components and computer software remedy — Quantum Orchestration System (QOP) — for operating quantum techniques to aid investigation and permit future breakthroughs. It also designed the QUA, a standard common language for quantum personal computers that the startup suggests will let researchers and experts to write programs for various quantum computers with a single unified code.

The company already provides quantum computing solutions to clients in above a dozen international locations, such as multinational corporations, government laboratories, educational establishments, and quantum development startups. Quantum Machines lately introduced a partnership with Toyota Tsusho Corporation, the buying and selling arm of automotive huge Toyota, to develop foreseeable future quantum abilities and give the multinational’s Japanese consumers access to quantum technologies.

Israel’s new quantum computing center is part of the NIS 1.25 billion ($390 million) Israel Nationwide Quantum Initiative, released in 2018 to aid appropriate quantum investigation, develop human funds in the area, inspire industrial tasks, and invite international cooperation on R&D.

In February, the Israel Innovation Authority and the Protection Ministry declared that they planned to commit roughly NIS 200 million ($62 million) to acquire a condition quantum computer and lay the foundation for Israeli computational potential in the subject. The NIS 100 million spending budget is aspect of this plan.

The Protection Ministry’s Directorate of Protection Analysis and Growth (DDR&D) will challenge a separate tender to finance the growth of quantum technologies for navy use for a further NIS 100 million, the innovation authority stated.

Quantum Equipment, jointly with a consortium of Israeli and international quantum tech corporations at the centre, will create a quantum personal computer to be produced offered to the industrial and study communities.

The center will supply accessibility to exploration and advancement on a few quantum processing systems — superconducting qubits, chilly ions, and optic computes — and provide products and services to the Israeli quantum computing community, the Israel Innovation Authority claimed Sunday.

Itamar Sivan, co-founder and CEO of Quantum Equipment, said in a firm assertion the objective of the challenge was “to give Israeli businesses entry to the most advanced quantum systems and solutions so that they can develop deep quantum abilities throughout industry and academia. This abilities will enable Israeli companies across a broad range of sectors and industries to acquire a foremost world wide placement.”

Ami Appelbaum, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, reported the new centre was “the answer to an

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Snowflake is likely huge on a person of the world’s most popular programming languages

Snowflake has declared designs to bring Python “to the forefront” of its Information Cloud platform with upgrades that increase support for the programming language.

At its yearly person conference, Snowflake Summit, the databases organization declared an enlargement of its Snowpark developer framework that will give users easy entry to a bounty of open up resource Python packages and libraries.

Now relocating from personal beta to general public preview, Snowpark for Python guarantees to “strengthen programmability for knowledge scientists, data engineers and application builders”, Snowflake suggests.

Snowpark for Python

Snowflake initial released Snowpark in preview back in January 2021, ahead of pushing the services to basic availability before this yr. Broadly, the aim was to give builders a uncomplicated and effective way to method info in their language of alternative.

“Our objective was to remove inefficient details pipelines and improve processes and duties that organizations may be utilizing just to get all people on the exact (info) website page,” explained the organization, at the time of the launch. 

“Ultimately, Snowpark enables groups with distinct ability sets to collaborate and operate on the very same facts, procedure data a lot quicker and more simply, and make info protection and governance a prime priority.”

When it 1st went stay, the Snowpark sandbox available guidance for Java and Scala only, but the most up-to-date update now delivers a further of the world’s most preferred programming languages into the fray.

To health supplement the rollout of Snowpark for Python, Snowflake also lifted the lid on a series of relevant updates that are at present under development. These include things like a indigenous integration with Streamlit and other services developed to support the progress and deployment of machine understanding solutions published in Python.

Individually, the firm introduced a personal preview for a new assistance that will enable customers to obtain facts stored in on-premise servers from within just the Snowflake ecosystem, affording corporations the positive aspects of the cloud-primarily based platform with out the trouble of details migration.

“We are investing in Python to make it less difficult for knowledge scientists, data engineers and software builders to create even more in the Info Cloud, without the need of governance trade-offs,” stated Christian Kleinerman, SVP Product at Snowflake.

“Our most up-to-date improvements lengthen the value of our customers’ info-driven ecosystems, enabling them with extra obtain to facts and new watts to create with it in Snowflake. [These capabilities] are transforming the way groups experiment, iterate and collaborate with info to generate benefit.”

Disclaimer: Our flights and lodging for Snowflake Summit 2022 had been funded by Snowflake, but the organization experienced no editorial regulate over the information of this short article.

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