Best of Last Week – New species of insects, a super-fast 3D printer, link between vitamin D and autoimmune diseases

In tech news, a group at the Technical University of Denmark has invented a new super-fast 3D printer that works like an inverted scanner. It combines the principles of a CT scanner with light modeling of materials. And a team at Johns Hopkins University has designed and built an intelligent autonomous robot that performed the first-ever unaided laparoscopic surgery on a pig. In addition, a team from TCS Research has developed a model capable of creating realistic animations of talking faces. They suggest it could be used to create more compelling virtual avatars, digital assistants and animated films. And a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence group has developed a new language for quantum computing.

Separately, a team from the University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center has discovered that pancreatic cancer cells feed on hyaluronic acid, which could lead to improved treatments for one of the deadliest forms of cancer. And Michael Simkin, a Harvard mathematician, answered a 150-year-old chess problem. He found that there are about 0.143nnot ways queens can be placed so that none are attacking on a giant n-by-n chess board.

And finally, a combined team from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School found that taking vitamin D supplements, whether or not they contain omega-3s, decreased the risk of autoimmune disease.

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