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Harvard Scientists Invent Cigarette-Smoking Robot For Better Lung Disease Research ( 46

the_newsbeagle writes: Harvard scientists have invented a nifty lab robot that can smoke 10 cigarettes at a time, lighting up for the benefit of medical research on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The bot channels smoke into a "lung on a chip," a small device with microfluidic channels lined by human lung cells. This setup enables researchers to realistically replicate the action of taking regular pulls from a cigarette, and to watch the effects on the lung cells. Researchers can't achieve the same realism with cells cultured in a petri dish or with lab mice -- which, interestingly, are "obligate nasal breathers" that typically take in air through their noses. The invention was announced yesterday by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
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Harvard Scientists Invent Cigarette-Smoking Robot For Better Lung Disease Research

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  • OK they invented a robot that will smoke cigarettes but will it also walk by coworkers to gather fellow smokers every 30 min during the work day?

    • And it has to smoke outside by the back door.
      • The machine involves real human lung cells, so it's inside of some type of air-controlled incubator. I had a labmate who used to smoke in a fume hood. Kind of stupid given the toxic and flammable chems we had in there. Probably stupid also that we didn't dispose of them properly, but no one died, so... meh...
  • And, once again, real life is striving to catch up to Futurama.

  • But they have to wait 18 years until it is legally allowed to smoke.
    • Why don't they just pass out cigarettes to kids at school? The kids who want to smoke will be delighted, the researcher will get real useful data they need. No need for expensive robots. win-win.

  • Uh, OK. I think everybody already knows that smoking is bad for humans, and can lead to all kinds of maladies. Do we really need this research?
    • The research isn't to determine how bad smoking is for humans. With the Singularity just around the corner (as it has been ever since Vernor Vinge coined the phrase), we need to determine how bad smoking is for robots.
  • A colleague of mine was working on cigarette particulates for her PhD research about 10 years ago, and used the smoking machines from Labstat, Canada: []

    • by mridoni ( 228377 )

      This idea dates back to the '60s, I watched a documentary that demonstrated dozens of cigarettes being "smoked" at the same time through some cloth filter that was then analyzed (it was still the time when tobacco companies pretended to be interested about your health). It was a simple timed vacuum pump, they were not replicating patterns, but the basic idea has been there for decades.

  • Well shit there goes another career path which from what I can gather many Europeans and Americans seem to be aspiring towards.

  • I call it 'Dad'.

  • vape-bot!
  • Surely they named it Bender?
  • With this breakthrough, robots are cool again!

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs