By Amie SannehSome members of the National Assembly have expressed their dissatisfaction over the budget allocated for youth in the 2018 draft budget estimates. The budget allocated for the Ministry of Youth and Sport is D53, 110,784.Members described youth as important; that they form the chunk of the population and thus the need to invest in them by empowering them to acquire skills and be independent or get employment. They said the reason why youth are leaving the country for Europe through the ‘back way’, is because there is nothing in store for them at home.Responding to these concerns, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs explained that youth have been taken care of adequately; that youth are also going to benefit from the programs under education and agriculture. These institutions he went on, should develop skills and training geared towards youth development. Finance Minister Sanneh further said that their focus is on private sector development to create employment and generate growth in the economy, noting that government cannot employ everybody. This, he added, is the reason why they want the private sector to grow and improve which is why they have reduced the company tax rate and they are also trying to bring down the income tax rate and provide the conducive environment for them. “All these are efforts to lay the ground for youth empowerment,” he said.
Advanced robots like AlphaDog and SpotMini can move pretty well, but their gait tends to have a telltale robotic look. This skeletal salamander robot moves eerily like the real thing.How do you make a robot move just like the animal you’re copying? By studying its inner workings as closely as possible. The team from the Ecole Polytecnique Federale in Lausanne, Switzerland used X-ray video footage of a salamander to examine how its bones moved in three dimensions. They tracked movement along 64 different points, Kinect-style.By studying those movements — and 3D printing components that closely mimic a real salamander’s skeletal structure — they were able to reproduce its trademark jerky locomotion with amazing accuracy. Salamanders are amphibians, of course, so claiming that this robot moves like the real thing without making it swim just wouldn’t do. The EPFL team covered all the bases, though, slipping a sort of wetsuit over their ‘bot before turning it loose in a pool of water.Engineer Kostas Karakasilliotis says that “animal locomotion is an inherently complex process,” but notes that today’s super-powerful computers and advancements like cineradiography and 3D printing are making it easier to give robotic creations more lifelike movements.The EPFL biorobotics lab has actually been painstakingly refining the design of their salamander for several years now. The build team believes that creations like it will help us gain a better understanding of how the spinal cord impacts movement not just in salamanders but in vertebrates of all shapes and sizes.But hey, even if it doesn’t, maybe you’ll be able to own your very own pet salamander that looks and moves just like a real one… and you won’t need a fancy terrarium to keep it healthy and happy.