Here's a recap of what made news in the world of science and technology this week.
Amazon called off a deal to buy Roomba vacuum maker iRobot earlier this week. According to an AP report, Amazon blamed “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles" after the European Union signaled its objection to the deal. The companies said in a joint statement that they were disappointed but mutually agreed to terminate the acquisition. The deal faced antitrust scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic, but most strongly in Europe, where regulators investigating competition concerns had been expected to issue a final decision by 14 February, the AP report explains. It added: “Amazon will pay the maker of the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum a previously agreed termination fee of $94 million, iRobot said in a separate announcement, which also disclosed that it would lay off about 31% of its staff and see its CEO depart.”
Elon Musk-led company Neuralink successfully completed its first human brain chip implant earlier this week. Musk, who also owns Tesla and SpaceX, announced on X that the brain implant showed "promising" initial results. In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Musk said: “The first human received an implant from @Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well... Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.” Musk, who acquired Twitter in 2022 through a $44-billion buyout, also gave a name to the implant. “The first @Neuralink product is called Telepathy,” Musk posted on X. You can read more about the implant and what Neuralink is aiming to do with this technology here.
The International Space Station – a hub for some fascinating science and technology tools – now has its first metal 3D printer on board. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the European-made metal 3D printer was launched to the ISS on the Cygnus NG-20 resupply mission on 30 January. The resupply mission rendezvoused with the ISS on 1 February. According to the ESA, after installation, the printer will be controlled and monitored from Earth. The Metal 3D Printer technology demonstrator has been developed by an industrial team led by Airbus Defence and Space SAS – also co-funding the project – under contract to ESA’s Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration. The printer will be printing using a type of stainless-steel commonly used in medical implants and water treatment due to its good resistance to corrosion, ESA said on its website.
(Compiled by Nitin Sreedhar, with inputs from agencies)