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A possible habitable planet is only 4 light-years away, astronomers discover

Proxima b's estimated temperature would allow for a liquid state on its surface, placing it within the "habitable zone" around the star (assuming water is present) --- Hawking's $100 million Breakthrough Starshot vindicated
August 24, 2016

Artist's impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right of the star Proxima. (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

A rocky planet called Proxima b — the closest exoplanet to us — is in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, a team of astronomers has found after painstaking observation and data analysis.

The new world orbits its cool red-dwarf parent star every 11.2 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. A paper describing… read more

Beyond Wi-Fi

Two low-energy innovations that promise to transform home and business data communications
August 22, 2016

A nanocrystal-based material converts blue laser emission to white light for combined illumination and data communication. (credit: KAUST 2016)

Researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have developed a system that uses high-speed visible light communications (VLC) to replace slower Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, allowing ceiling lights, for example, to provide an internet connection to laptops.

“VLC has many advantages compared with lower frequency communications approaches (including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), such as energy efficiency, an unregulated communication spectrum, environmental friendliness, greater security, and no… read more

Neuroscientists identify cortical links to adrenal medulla (mind-body connection)

May help explain why meditation and exercises such as yoga and Pilates can be helpful in dealing with stress
August 19, 2016

Cortical pathways to the adrenal medulla. Cortical areas on the lateral surface and the medial wall of the hemisphere are the source of neurons that influence the adrenal medulla. (credit: Richard P. Dum et al./PNAS)

Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have identified the neural networks that connect the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla — the inner part of the adrenal gland, located above each kidney, which is responsible for the body’s rapid response in stressful situations.

These findings, reported in the online Early Edition of the journal read more

Mayo Clinic, collaborators working to advance aging research via clinical trials

Aging is the largest risk factor for most chronic diseases, and care for the elderly currently accounts for 43 percent of the total health care spending in the U.S. --- about 1 trillion dollars a year
August 19, 2016

(credit: iStock)

Mayo Clinic and other members of the Geroscience Network* have developed strategies for taking new drugs to clinical trials — specifically, drugs that target processes underlying multiple age-related diseases and disabilities. And they’ve written six supporting articles that appeared Wednesday Aug. 17 in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A – Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

The Geroscience Network consists of 18 academic aging center, with the participation… read more

How to separate out semiconducting carbon nanotubes

August 17, 2016

Artistic rendition of a metallic carbon nanotube being pulled into solution, in analogy to the work described by the Adronov group. (credit: Alex Adronov, McMaster University)

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada have developed a radically improved way to purify single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) — flexible structures that are one nanometer in diameter and thousands of times longer, ­and that may revolutionize computers and electronics, replacing silicon.

To do that, we need to separate out semiconducting (sc-SWNTs) and metallic (m-SWNTs) nanotubes. That’s a challenging problem, because both are created simultaneously in the process*… read more

Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference to be live-streamed Aug. 16–17

August 16, 2016

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The Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference will be live-streamed Tuesday Aug. 16, starting at 1 PM PDT, and Wednesday Aug. 17.

The 2016 Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference is focused on taking the Rejuvenation Biotechnology Industry to the next level by addressing the question: what will it take to push emerging breakthroughs in regenerative medicine from proof-of-concept to implementation?

This year’s conference seeks to answer this critical inquiry by… read more

New cancer-drug delivery system uses magnetically guided bacteria to target cancerous tumors with high precision

August 15, 2016

The legions of nanorobotic agents are actually composed of more than 100 million flagellated bacteria -- and therefore self-propelled -- and loaded with drugs that moved by taking the most direct path between the drug's injection point and the area of the body to cure. (credit: Montréal Nanorobotics Laboratory)

Researchers from Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, and McGill University have designed a new cancer-drug-delivery nanotransporter system using more than 100 million flagellated, self-propelled bacteria that are capable of navigating through the bloodstream to administer a drug to tumors with precision.* The goal of the research is to avoid jeopardizing the integrity of organs and surrounding healthy tissues while reducing drug dosage.

In an experiment… read more

Seth Rogen plans FX TV comedy series on the Singularity

August 12, 2016

TheInterview

Seth Rogen (Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up, Superbad) and collaborator Evan Goldberg are writing the script for a pilot for a new “half-hour comedy television series about the Singularity for FX,” Rogen revealed Thursday (August 11) on Nerdist podcast: Seth Rogen Returns (at 55:20 mark), while promoting his latest film, Sausage Party (an animated movie that apparently sets a new world record for f-bombs, based on… read more

Seeing the invisible: visible-light metamaterial superlens made from nanobeads

Adds 5x magnification to existing microscopes
August 12, 2016

mSIL

A team of British and Chinese scientists has developed a new “metamaterial-based solid immersion lens” (mSIL) microscope lens design that can extend the magnification of an optical microscope to see objects smaller than the approximately 200 nanometers Abbe diffraction limit, the smallest size of bacteria.

Led by Zengbo Wang, PhD, at Bangor University UK and Prof Limin Wu at… read more

Anti-inflammatory drug reverses memory loss in Alzheimer’s-disease-model mice

August 12, 2016

(credit: NIH National Institute on Aging)

Anti-inflammatory drug mefenamic acid completely reversed memory loss and brain inflammation in mice genetically engineered to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and amyloid beta-induced memory loss, a team led by David Brough, PhD, from the University of Manchester has discovered.

The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) drug targets an important inflammatory pathway called the NLRP3 inflammasome, which damages brain cells, according to Brough. This is the first time… read more

Harvard, Caltech design mechanical signaling, diodes, logic gates for soft robots

August 10, 2016

The SEAS/Caltech system for transmitting a mechanical signal consists of a series of bistable elements (the vertical beam, d, shown here) connected by soft coupling elements (wiggly lines), with two stable states. (Top) When a beam is displaced (by amount x), it stores energy. (Bottom) When it snaps back, it releases that stored energy into the coupling element on the right, which continues down the line. (Scale bars represent 5 mm.) (credit: Jordan R. Raney/PNAS)

A new way to send mechanical signals through soft robots and other autonomous soft systems has been developed by researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in collaboration with colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Soft autonomous systems, just like the human body, can perform delicate movements that… read more

Self-propelling liquid metals: the future of soft electronics?

"May be possible to build a [T-1000-style] 3D liquid metal humanoid on demand”
August 10, 2016

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Imagine a soft liquid-metal material right out of  the T-1000 Terminator movie character. One that can morph itself into different self-propelling soft electronic circuits that act like live cells, communicating with each other.

Using a liquid metallic core* and semiconducting skin, such a soft material might be used to make instant flexible 3D electronic displays. Or morph into self-propelled biomedical diagnostic sensors, for example, reconfiguring themselves on demand, say… read more

Ultrasonic wireless ‘neural dust’ sensors monitor nerves, muscles in real time

DARPA-funded "electroceutical" devices are designed to monitor and treat patients; may also enable wireless prosthetic control
August 5, 2016

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University of California, Berkeley engineers have designed and built millimeter-scale device wireless, batteryless “neural dust” sensors and implanted them in muscles and peripheral nerves of rats to make in vivo electrophysiological recordings.

The new technology opens the door to “electroceuticals” — bioelectronic methods to monitor and record wireless electromyogram (EMG) signals from muscle membranes and electroneurogram (ENG) signals from local neuron electrical activity, and… read more

No, exercise does not wipe out previous memories

It also enlarges your brain and lowers dementia risk --- and why fidgeting helps prevent arterial dysfunction from sitting and improves learning
August 5, 2016

(credit: NBC --- Opening Ceremony)

A week ago on KurzweilAI, we learned that prolonged sitting may increase risk of death, but that an hour of moderate exercise a day is enough to counter health risks. Now new research suggests that such exercise results in larger brain size and lowered dementia risk, while other new research suggests that the new neurons created in that exercise preserve old memories, contrary to previous research.

Exerciseread more

IBM scientists emulate neurons with phase-change technology

Could lead to high-speed, energy-efficient neuromorphic computers for accelerated cognitive computing
August 3, 2016

An artistic rendering of a population of stochastic phase-change neurons that appears on the cover of Nature Nanotechnology, August 3, 2016. (credit: IBM Research)

Scientists at IBM Research in Zurich have developed artificial neurons that emulate how neurons spike (fire). The goal is to create energy-efficient, high-speed, ultra-dense integrated neuromorphic (brain-like) technologies for applications in cognitive computing, such as unsupervised learning for detecting and analyzing patterns.

Applications could include internet of things sensors that collect and analyze volumes of weather data for faster forecasts and detecting patterns in financial transactions, for… read more

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Lo And Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World

August 19, 2016 by Amara D. Angelica

LO AND BEHOLD

In the movie “Lo and Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World,” released today, legendary documentarian Werner Herzog discovers and explores the internet in a series of ten impressionistic vignettes.

These range from internet pioneers (Leonard Kleinrock, Robert Kahn,  Danny Hillis), AI/roboticists (Sebastian Thrun, Tom Mitchell, “Raj” Rajkumar, Joydeep Biswas), and Mars explorers (with Elon Musk — Herzog volunteered to go) to dystopians — how a solar flare could… read more

Clear and present danger to your life as of now from cyberblitzkrieg

August 18, 2016

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By Paul Werbos, PhD

This week (starting August 15), the immediate risk to our lives through cyberblitzkrieg has suddenly risen dramatically, due to new events in cyberspace. If a cyberblitzkrieg on electric power and other critical infrastructure does occur, the level of damage would be comparable in general to the kind of damage we feared at the height of the Cold War, when something like half the world could… read more

The First Church of the Singularity: Roko’s Basilik

A thought experiment at Burning Man. Hint: take the red pill.
August 17, 2016

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By Jodi Schiller

For those of us working in virtual and augmented reality, our days are spent thinking of better and better ways to create more lifelike virtual worlds. It’s easy for us to believe that one day we will be living in a sim indecipherable from “base” reality — or even more likely, that we’re already living in one.

This year at Burning Man, the… read more

Code of Ethics on Human Augmentation: the three ‘Laws’

Why? To protect us, future consumers and adopters, and society from machines of malice --- whether eventually by AI superintelligence, or right now by corrupt human intelligence. --- Steve Mann
July 5, 2016

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By Steve Mann, Brett Leonard, David Brin, Ana Serrano, Robin Ingle, Ken Nickerson, Caitlin Fisher, Samantha Mathews, Ryan Janzen, Mir Adnan Ali, Ken Yang, Pete Scourboutakos, Dan Braverman, Sarang Nerkar, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Zack P. Harris, Zach A. Harris, Jesse Damiani, Edward Button

The Human Augmentation Code was presented at the VRTO Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference + Expo, June 25–27, 2016 by Steve Mann,read more

The Laws of Mixed Reality — without the rose-colored glasses

June 3, 2016

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By John Rousseau

The future of human consciousness will be a hybrid affair. We will live and work in a ubiquitous computing environment, where physical reality and a pervasive digital layer mix seamlessly according to the logic of software and the richness of highly contextual data. This is mixed reality (MR) — and it will soon simply be reality: projected onto our mind’s eye, always on, always connected, and… read more

The trillion dollar question nobody is asking the presidential candidates

May 24, 2016

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By , /The Conversation

As it seeks to modernize its nuclear arsenal, the United States faces a big choice, one which Barack Obama should ponder before his upcoming Hiroshima speech.

Should we spend a trillion dollars to replace each of our thousands of nuclear warheads with a more sophisticated substitute attached to a more lethal delivery system? Or… read more

By the year 2040, embryo selection could replace sex as the way most of us make babies

May 9, 2016

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By Jamie Metzl (@JamieMetzl)

(Gattaca 1997)

Human reproduction is about to undergo a radical shift. Embryo selection, in connection with in-vitro fertilization (IVF), will help our species eliminate many genetic diseases, extend healthy lifespans, and enhance people’s overall well-being. Within 20 years, I predict that it will supplant sex as the way large numbers of us conceive of our children.

But while the embryo… read more

Robert Scoble: Life and Tech #48: A New Life 

May 5, 2016

Scoble

By Robert Scoble May 5, 2016

What a month it’s been since I wrote to you last.

I’ve been on a world tour, doing my homework, meeting influencers at conferences and startups. Since I last wrote you I’ve been to Pittsburgh, Quebec City, Napa, London, Palm Springs, New York, Mumbai, New Delhi and New Orleans. Next week I’ll be in Paris. Whew.… read more

Garage Biotech: New drugs using only a computer, the internet and free online data

May 5, 2016

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By
Director of UWA Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia

Pharmaceutical companies typically develop new drugs with thousands of staff and budgets that run into the billions of dollars. One estimate puts the cost of bringing a new drug to market at $2.6 billion with others suggesting that it could be double that cost at $5 billion.

One man, Professor Atulread more

In memory of Marvin Minsky [updated]

Originally published Jan. 25, 2016 --- AAAI/Sentient video tribute Mar. 22, 2016 added
April 27, 2016

Marvin Minsky 2008 (Wikimedia Commons)

Ray Kurzweil, January 25, 2016

When I was fourteen I wrote Marvin Minsky a letter asking to meet with him. He invited me to visit him at MIT and he spent hours with me as if he had nothing else to do.

When my daughter Amy was about eleven and we went out for a meal at the Harvest Restaurant in Cambridge with my wife Sonya and his… read more

The Science of Consciousness: Final 2016 conference program

March 25, 2016

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April 25–30, 2016, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson, Arizona

“To have a glimpse of what consciousness is would be the scientific achievement before which all others would pale.” – William James

After 23 years, the seminal conference “Toward a Science of Consciousness” is now simply “The Science of Consciousness.” But as consciousness cannot be observed, scientifically explained, nor commonly defined, is there now truly a science of consciousness’? Are we… read more

The Problem of AI Consciousness

March 18, 2016

(credit: Susan Schneider)

Some things in life cannot be offset by a mere net gain in intelligence.

The last few years have seen the widespread recognition that sophisticated AI is under development. Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and others warn of the rise of “superintelligent” machines: AIs that outthink the smartest humans in every domain, including common sense reasoning and social skills. Superintelligence could destroy us, they caution. In contrast, Ray Kurzweil, a… read more

Will this new ‘socially assistive robot’ from MIT Media Lab (or its progeny) replace teachers?

This impressive research raises troubling questions about possible future effects on children (and society) when combined with deep learning and immersive media
March 15, 2016 by Amara D. Angelica

Tega ft

Researchers in the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, led by Cynthia Breazeal, PhD, have developed a powerful new “socially assistive” robot called Tega that senses the affective (emotional/feeling) state of a learner, and based on those cues, creates a personalized motivational strategy.

But what are the implications for the future of education … and society? (To be addressed in questions below.)

A… read more

Ray Kurzweil talks with host Neal deGrasse Tyson, PhD: on invention & immortality

part of the week long event series 7 Days of Genius at 92 Street Y
March 9, 2016

92 Street Y - A4

92 Street Y | 7 Days of Genius
Conversation on stage during the week long event series, held at the historic community center.

featured talk | Ray Kurzweil with host Neil DeGrasse Tyson, PhD — on Invention & Immortality

Inventor, author and futurist Ray Kurzweil is joined by astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, PhD for a discussion of some of the biggest topics of our time. They explore… read more

Here’s how we could build a colony on an alien world

March 2, 2016

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By /The Conversation

If the human race is to survive in the long-run, we will probably have to colonise other planets. Whether we make the Earth uninhabitable ourselves or it simply reaches the natural end of its ability to support life, one day we will have to look for a new home.

Hollywood films such as The Martian and Interstellar give us a… read more

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