Robot ants are here to terrify and impress you



‘BionicANTs’ by Festo are cooperative robotic ants that work together under set rules.

The ants have a 3D stereo camera in their heads to identify nearby objects and contextualize the environment.

The opto-electrical sensor in their abdomen can also recognize floor structure and its movement in relation to the ground.

Festo claims the ants demonstrate how autonomous components can work together to solve complex tasks. Read more…

More about Tech, Science, Robots, Mashable Video, and Robot

from Mashable!

This 15 Pound Blanket Helped Rewire My Brain


Anxiety is like an incredibly annoying little brother. It is antagonistic, frustrating, and overwhelming 90% of the time. The other 10%, you forget it exists until you’re reminded of it with a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you walk through your front door.

Like a lot of people right now, anxiety is a daily ritual I go through, because apparently, if you’re not anxious, you’re not doing it right. Until my boyfriend brought home this weighted blanket, I thought I’d spend the end of every day attempting to get a grip on my anxiety.

From the moment I was under the blanket, I felt my heartbeat slow and my brain ease on the gas pedal. Imagine this: it’s a cold morning and you’re awake before your alarm. Your bed is freezing cold, except for the part where you slept, an invisible boundary of heat. You feel heavy and warm and contained. That’s what this blanket feels like, except no matter how many times you change positions, that feeling stays with you. It’s like laying under a pile of freshly dried laundry, like a hug that never gets awkward now matter how long you hold on.

Weighted blankets have been around for a while and the idea is the same across the board: sewn-in compartments are filled with a weighted material (usually sand or silicone pellets). It’s as simple as approximating 10% of your body weight to find the correct size blanket. My only gripe would be that if you’re someone who moves around a lot at night, don’t sleep with it. You don’t want to attempt to move 15 pounds of sand pellets while half asleep.


There are studies that back up why this works, but all I really know is that it worked, immediately, for me. To anyone that just needs an extra dose of calm when they’re winding down (or are having a really shitty time dealing with basically everything that’s happening in the world right now), invest in one of these.

from Lifehacker

The science of why sitting all day is bad for your health


Is sitting all day at work slowly killing you? The simple answer is yes. Staying in a fixed position for extended durations can have serious adverse effects on your health.

In this episode of the Facebook series, "Science the $#!* out of it," Joe Avella and Jessica Orwig talk about what happens inside your body when you sit or stand all day.

Sitting in a stationary position every day can increase your risk of high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels. It may even cause premature death due to cardiovascular disease or certain types of cancer.

Also, it turns out that standing all day isn’t that much healthier than sitting all day and can cause similar health effects. But there is a silver lining: it’s not that hard to counteract.

Learn more on how to combat sitting or standing all day on this episode of "Science the $#!* out of it." Following is a transcript of the video.

Jessica Orwig: Joe, do you sit all day?

Joe Avella: Of course I sit all day. What, am I gonna have a standing desk like a psycho?

Orwig: Sitting all day might actually be killing you.

Avella: *Speechless*

Orwig: Guess I’ll have to science the $#!* out of this one myself.

Avella: Time to do a little sitting.

Orwig: Joe, what are you doing?

Avella: Sitting down. Feels great. Sitting totally rocks.

Orwig: Yeah, that’s not a good thing.

Avella: So why don’t you explain to me these alleged health effects that I might experience from sitting all day.

Orwig: Numerous studies over the years have linked too much sitting to a greater risk of obesity, higher blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, or even ultimately premature death due to stroke, cardiovascular disease, or certain types of cancer.

Avella: Death? I hate death. Oh, sitting. Now, maybe I haven’t done as much research as you have but standing all day is bull I’ve had jobs where I’ve stood all day and that really is uncomfortable too.

Orwig: I mean, it’s not that much better for you.

Avella: Ah, I knew it.

Orwig: One of the differences between standing and sitting is that standing burns a few more calories. One study showed that it was about nine more calories per hour. Multiply that by an eight hour day. That’s about 72 calories. Or, a quarter of a candy bar, which is not very much. As far as your overall health is concerned, standing in one place for extended periods of time versus sitting in one place for that same amount of time isn’t going to make much of a difference.

Avella: Just by virtue of sitting in this building, I am going to get some sort of cancer or have a stroke?

Orwig: Well, not necessarily.

Avella: The working stiff can’t win in this country, am I right?

Orwig: Not necessarily. So, there are ways you can combat this. One message is clear: movement is the key. Experts at Cornell suggest getting up and moving every 20 to 30 minutes. It can be as simple as getting up and walking around for a few minutes. But, the key here is getting your muscles working and getting that blood flowing.

Avella: Oh, I like this. So, something healthy like get up, go to the kitchen, grab a doughnut.

Orwig: No.

Avella: Get a soda.

Orwig: No.

Avella: Alright. So at this point in the video, I think we can both agree exercise totally sucks. But, hypothetically speaking, if I wanted to exercise to offset the damages done by glorious sitting, what would I have to do?

Orwig: 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week has been shown to reduce your overall mortality rate by seven percent compared to if you were just sitting around all day and not exercising at all. Now, if you increase that amount of time to 300 minutes of moderate exercise a week, that can actually reduce your overall mortality rate by 14 percent. Not bad. Joe!

Avella: What?

Orwig: What are you doing? I just explained to you why sitting is so bad.

Avella: Yeah I know, I’m taking a break.

Orwig: No, that’s not what I said. You need to be moving with your break. You know, if you’re sitting all day, it’s going to be bad for your heart, it’s bad for your brain, it’s bad for your arteries, it’s bad for your overall health. It will make you die sooner.

Avella: Ohh…

Orwig: Get the (bleep) up.

Avella: Alright. Geez. You’re starting to sound like me.

Orwig: Now move.

Avella: Okay, alright, I’m moving, I’m moving, I’m moving, I’m leaving, I’m leaving, goodbye.

Orwig: Bye, Joe.

Avella: See ya. Bye guys.

Join the conversation about this story »

from SAI

The ex-Tesla engineer who created an FDA-compliant hangover cure made $1 million in 3 months and was almost thrown out of the country by Trump’s immigration rules


Morning Recovery Sisun Lee

  • It’s been three months since Sisun Lee accidentally wound up with a hot startup that makes a hangover prevention drink called Morning Recovery.
  • Lee says sales have gone crazy and he’s generated $1 million in revenue in three months. 
  • Just as his company took off, Lee, a Canadian who was working at Tesla, was almost deported when a new rule for immigrants who start businesses in the US was put on hold by the Trump administration.


Imagine accidentally creating a startup that makes a cure for hangovers. The startup turns out to be so successful, raking in $1 million in three months, that you need to quit your high-paying job at Tesla, only to then find yourself nearly kicked out of the country by the Trump administration because of your Canadian nationality. 

Welcome to the extraordinary life of Sisun Lee and another crazy chapter of his hangover prevention drink company, Morning Recovery.

As we previously reported, back in July, Lee had just quit the job he loved at Tesla to try his hand as a startup founder. He had never intended to be a founder. He was really on a personal quest to get a regular supply of the hangover prevention drinks he discovered while visiting Korea, a country that loves to party.

"A lot has happened," Lee told Business Insider when we caught up with him this week.

The story goes: after some failed attempts to import the Korean drinks, Lee discovered the work of Dr. Jing Liang, a USC scientist who had published papers on herbal hangover remedies. She agreed to become his advisor and helped him create his own hangover remedy, using all FDA-compliant ingredients, based on the main ingredient used on the Korean drinks. 

Lee tested the resulting potion on his friends at Tesla as well as on friends at his former haunt, Facebook. They loved it so much that Lee contracted a Korean factory, with the idea of producing enough to supply his ecosystem of bibulous buddies. Someone got wind of the project, posted it to Product Hunt and it blew up. Suddenly, thousands of people were contacting Lee trying to get his drink.

He raised some seed money from Slow Ventures and 500 Startups to fund a production run, added a wait list to his nothing-special website about the drink and 30,000 people signed up.

His side project was now taking over his life. So he quit his job and, knowing nothing about the food and beverage industry, went full time at his startup, Morning Recovery.

The Trump administration kicks him out 

Quitting his day job to plunge into the startup life had one big wrinkle though: Lee is from Canada, and had been working at Facebook and Tesla under a work Visa.

Morning Recovery hangover cureThe seed funding he got was about $450,000, enough for him to qualify for a visa created by a proposed immigration rule under the Obama administration called the "international entrepreneur rule." 

This rule allowed, "non-US citizens like myself to build businesses in the US. The requirement is you raise $250,000 minimum from an institutional US venture capital firm. Which makes it very simple. So I did that in June. I had already raised $450,000 total and [the rule] was supposed to go into effect in July," Lee recounted.

In the meantime, he launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to sell the drink he had ordered from the factory and to help raise money for future batches. His Indiegogo goal was $25,000 and he blew by it. Morning Recovery raised $100,000 in just 10 days. It finished the month at over $250,000.

Then the Trump administration did an about-face on the Obama era rule and wouldn’t issue the visas.

"I had quit Tesla because I didn’t have a visa to start a business and I couldn’t get one because I couldn’t have both visas," Lee said. When the Trump folks changed their mind, "I was visa-less," he said. He had to leave the country and go back to Canada.

Fortunately, he found a lawyer that specialized in entrepreneur visas. Also fortunately, his Indiegogo campaign was going so well that it could prove his business had revenue.

After an intense interview at the US embassy in Canada where he was questioned about whether he was making an illegal product, Lee got a different visa, one called the E-2 visa (the "e" stands for entrepreneur).

And one week later he, and Morning Recovery, were back in the US.

"So now I’m here legally," he smiles.

Can’t order enough

His first big decision was to move the company from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles, closer to his scientific research team at USC and to the stars that can turn his hangover remedy into a "lifestyle brand," he said.

Morning Recovery Korean factoryHis LA-based investor, Slow Ventures, has been helping him with office space. It threw him a launch party, too, which helped him immediately recruit employees.

At first, he was weary to out-and-out hire people, as he didn’t have job titles, or cash flow.

"I offered them a six-month a contract with a half of it up front and told them if it works out, we’ll hire you," he said. "Now our team is actually six full-time people."

His team raced to build its own ecommerce website using Shopify. He thought that demand might die down after the hype of Indiegogo died, but it didn’t.

It stayed steady through August and in September. Some people were starting to come back to order more, and orders soon doubled. He sold $500,000 that month. All told, from July through September, he sold $1 million worth, he said. That revenue number was verified to us by one of his angel investors.

At this pace, he’ll bring in $5 million his first year, he said.

While his company is "absolutely paying for itself," Lee noted that cash "is something that we’re very careful of.  Because of the [production] lead time, all profits we make goes to future production. In terms of money in the bank, it’s not like we’re rich," he said. 

For December, he’s biting his nails and doing a 500,000-bottle production run, more than double the biggest batch he’s done so far. He’s looking for warehouse space in case he doesn’t sell it all instantly. And if demand drops, he’ll be hurting.

"We’ll get hit if demand doesn’t grow as externally. We’ll have an excess amount of bottles and have pay for warehousing fees. We’ve been trying to be very lean," he said because he hasn’t been doing this long enough to know if it will continue or drop off. "I have no idea what the demand is. It’s all so new."

In the meantime, more VCs have gotten wind of Morning Recovery and the offers are rolling in. He’s not ready to sell a stake yet, he said, particularly not to a VC. He’d rather bring in a strategic partner that could help him get his drink into retail stores or bars.

But he’s still shocked at the terms these VCs are offering him. "We’re getting crazy valuations, like at $50 million. They are putting a 10X multiple on our revenue. That’s what you do as a software company," Lee said. A $50 million valuation for a $3 month company seems "absurd," he said.Morning Recovery sold out

How does it work?

So what is it about this drink that has everyone so excited? It turns out the cure to a hangover is never to get one. The secret to that is an herbal ingredient called dihydromyricetin (DHM) found in the Oriental raisin tree and rattan tea, Lee said.

This tree has been used as a hangover remedy in Asia for thousands of years, Lee discovered.

Hangovers are caused when we drink more alcohol than our livers can handle, and a type of toxic acid builds up, he said. Too much of that acid causes inflammation like a headache. Too much too fast can cause vomiting. When you drink DHM right after consuming alcohol, like before you go to bed, it helps the body remove this toxic acid, he said. 

Oriental raisin treeLee is not the only US startup selling a DHM hangover prevention either. Flyby is another one, which offers its remedy in the form of pills.

That’s to be expected. 

"We really do think the hangover market is gigantic," Lee said.

However Liang’s work found that other ingredients matter, too, like Vitamin B and Vitamin C, Lee said, which his Morning Recovery drink incorporates.

And while he figures out how to run this company and better estimate orders, he’s offering people old-fashioned deals for ordering in advance and sometimes waiting for their order. A six pack, paid in advance, runs $27, instead of the retail price of $30. A 12-pack runs $48 and so on, with bigger discounts the more you order.

Here’s a link to a more technical explanation from Morning Recovery of how DHM works.

SEE ALSO: How a woman took on a Twitter harasser who threatened her with rape — and won

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: People on Twitter can’t tell if these shoes are pink or grey — here’s the right answer

from SAI