Chapter 692: Do You Need Help?
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
The day after the bidding conference.
That same auditorium.
Lu Zhou stood in the front of the auditorium and spoke in a loud and steady voice. He was giving a computational materials science lecture to some Harbin Institute of Technology students.
“The advantage of computational materials science is that we can avoid many unnecessary mistakes through calculation, and get rid of human scientific bias, and use a more pragmatic approach to find the answers we want.
“Take the Theoretical Model of the Electrochemical Interface Structure as an example. I will briefly explain the application of mathematical methods such as functional analysis into the field of computational materials science…”
The venue was fully packed, shoulder touching shoulder, and some people were even sitting on the ground.
After hearing about the conference, students from Harbin Institute of Technology and other nearby universities as well as some researchers who graduated years ago, who were working in nearby research institutes, all came to this seminar.
In order to maintain order at the venue, Harbin Institute of Technology placed almost half of their security guards around this venue. Even though this added a lot of trouble to the teachers at Harbin Institute of Technology, judging by Academician Zou’s face, he was quite happy.
In response to their enthusiasm, Lu Zhou gave his 110% into this lecture.
The Theoretical Model of the Electrochemical Interface Structure had caused a huge sensation in the fields of computational materials science and surface chemistry. Because of this theory, Lu Zhou was awarded the Hoffman Prize by the German Chemical Society and the joint nomination of several Nobel Prize laureates.
Both the theory itself and the mathematical methods he described in the report was inspiring, both for people in materials science and applied mathematics.
Therefore, everyone in the venue listened carefully.
Regardless of whether or not they understood what was going on, they all wrote their own notes.
Both the students and the professor.
Both people from the chemistry department and the mathematics department…
The lecture was held from 10 am to 1 pm.
The lecture was originally scheduled to end at 12:30 pm, but it was extended by half an hour. Less than ten people left the lecture before it was finished.
After the lecture was finished, the entire auditorium was filled with thunderous applause.
Lu Zhou looked at the teachers and students in the crowd. He nodded and began to walk off the stage.
He spent the entire morning lecturing, and by now, everyone in the venue was hungry and tired.
Lu Zhou followed the staff member and went to the school cafeteria.
The school prepared a table of food for him at the faculty dining floor.
“Professor Lu, on behalf of the students at Harbin Institute of Technology, I’d like to thank you! Thank you for bringing your wonderful lecture to our students!”
“Academician Zou, you’re too kind.” Lu Zhou toasted Academician Zou and humbly smiled. He said, “I wonder if you can give me a tour of your laboratory this afternoon?”
“Oh, I nearly forgot.” Academician Zou put down his cup and patted his forehead. He smiled and said, “No problem, I’m happy you’re so interested in my research! I’ll take you there after lunch!”
Lu Zhou smiled and said, “Thanks, you’re too kind.”
After eating lunch, the group of people left the cafeteria.
As Academician Zou walked along the tree-lined path leading to the laboratory, he smiled and asked, “What do you think of the campus of our Harbin Institute of Technology?”
Lu Zhou walked along the tree shade and saw the library nearby. He smiled and replied, “It has a strong engineering atmosphere.”
“That’s our specialty. We are training the future national defense talents, and engineering is the strongest field in our school.” Academician Zou paused for a second and smiled. He then said, “If you have the time, I hope you can give more lectures at our school.”
Lu Zhou smiled and nodded.
“I definitely will.”
Academician Zou didn’t invite Lu Zhou to stay as a staff member. After all, he knew this wasn’t realistic.
Even Yan University and Shuimu University weren’t able to poach Lu Zhou, much less Harbin Institute of Technology. Inviting Lu Zhou for a few lectures was already more than enough.
Even Academician Zou was able to learn a lot from Lu Zhou’s lecture.
Soon, the group of people came to a six-story tall building.
After they crossed the security gate, Academician Zou brought Lu Zhou into the laboratory.
“This is the thing I told you, the bionics prosthetic laboratory. My hydroxyapatite and titanium biocomposite project teams all work here. There is also a research team from Aurora University, and they would occasionally come here and collaborate with us. Of course, they are mainly responsible for the neural interface, and we are responsible for solving the material and mechanical problems… Right this way.”
Academician Zou opened a door and brought Lu Zhou into the laboratory.
The two researchers standing next to some experiment equipment noticed the door opening.
The two researchers were about to say hello to Academician Zou when they noticed Lu Zhou. The researcher who was wearing a pair of glasses instantly looked surprised, and he excitedly took two steps forward and asked, “You… You are Lu Zhou?”
“Oh… yeah.” Lu Zhou was a little embarrassed. He smiled and said, “I’m not disturbing your work, am I?”
“No, you’re not, please sit down, I’ll make a cup of coffee.”
“No, it’s fine, Academician Zou is just giving me a visit, I’m not staying for long.”
The researcher finally calmed down, and Lu Zhou followed Academician Zou around the laboratory. They arrived at a transparent container around one or two meters long. Inside the container was a pair of mechanical arms, which were mounted on a metal base.
Lu Zhou looked at the robotic arms.
“Can this thing move?”
Academician Zou smiled.
“Of course it can! Some things have to be adjusted, but it’s basically functional… Do you want to try?”
“Please, I’d be glad to.”
The device used to control this robotic arm was a separate hollow metal ring. Lu Zhou placed his real arm through the metal ring, like a fencing guard.
After the researcher who was wearing glasses did some adjustments, Lu Zhou felt a slight tingling feeling in his elbow, but soon, the feeling disappeared. Two tiny probes were penetrated into his muscles, collecting neural signals transmitted from his arm.
“Is it done?”
“Should be fine.” The researcher tapped a few buttons on the computer and a fluctuating electrocardiogram-like line appeared on the screen. He smiled at Lu Zhou and said, “Try to punch something.”
Lu Zhou tried to punch the air.
Then, a miracle happened.
His real arm didn’t move; it only slightly jittered forward. Instead, the robotic arm inside the container punched forward awkwardly.
Lu Zhou was intrigued. He looked at his “dead arm”.
“Did it block my neutral signal?”
He pinched the palm of his right hand with his left hand.
I still feel pain.
The researcher standing next to them said, “Actually, it’s not blocking anything. After all, this is only used to collect experimental data, so it’s not a fully-developed technology… In fact, as long as your nerve cells are healthy enough, you should be able to lift your hand. At most, they would feel a little weak, like you just finished weightlifting.”
“I never weightlift… But this is an interesting invention,” Lu Zhou said as he moved his arm, but only some of the movements were able to be replicated by the robotic arm.
Just like the researcher had said, this technology was in its early stages.
Even so, this technology was full of potential.
Unlike exoskeletons that amplified human movements, this kind of device allowed one to operate machinery that was far away from one’s human body just by relying on transferring neural electrical signals into digital signals.
If this technology could be fully developed, not only would it be applied in the medical equipment field, but it would also play an unexpected role in many other fields!
Academician Zou shook his head and said, “Not really an invention. The neural bypass system appeared in Nature as early as April 2016. Our project is only a sub-branch of this technology. From what I understand, MIT is at the forefront of this technology, and they’ve already achieved some amazing results. We’re just trying to catch up to them.”
“It doesn’t matter who’s at the forefront.” Lu Zhou took off the ring and touched the two tiny holes in his arm as he said, “If only it can be connected painlessly… This needle is quite long.”
The researcher standing next to them made a helpless gesture.
“There’s no need for that since this thing is originally intended for amputees. It generally won’t be taken off.”
Lu Zhou smiled and said, “I think this technology is applicable beyond amputees. If someone installs this on their spine, could they remotely control an entire robot?”
Academician Zou smiled and said, “That’s an interesting idea, but probably too difficult to implement. The spinal neural signal is 100 times more complicated than limbic neural signals. Also, this is related to the overall health and comfort of the nervous center, it’s not something we can do experiments on easily.”
Lu Zhou nodded thoughtfully.
Lu Zhou returned the equipment to the researcher and walked around the laboratory.
Lu Zhou was at the entrance of the research institute, and he was about to leave. He suddenly stopped and looked at Academician Zou.
“Oh yeah, Academician Zou, I have something else I want to ask you.”
Academician Zou asked, “What?”
Lu Zhou smiled awkwardly.
“Do you need help with this project?”