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Autonomous taxis could be cheaper and improve the environment, says Berkeley Lab study

July 6, 2015

Self-driving car concept (credit: Google)

It’s the year 2030. A fleet of driverless taxis roams throughout your city, ready to pick you up and take you to your destination at a moment’s notice. As a result, greenhouse gases are now 63 to 82 percent lower than with a privately owned hybrid car and 90 percent lower than a 2014 gasoline-powered private vehicle. …

Those numbers are from a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory… read more

Surfing the light fantastic

Researchers observe and control light wakes for the first time; could lead to new optical discoveries such as plasmonic holograms
July 6, 2015

Artistic rendition of the superluminal running wave of charge that excites the surface plasmon wakes  (credit: Daniel Wintz, Patrice Genevet, and Antonio Ambrosio)

Harvard researchers have created surface plasmons (wakes of light-like waves moving on a metallic surface) and demonstrated that they can be controlled and steered. Their demonstration was based on the Cherenkov effect, in which a charged particle moving with a velocity faster than the phase velocity of light in the medium radiates light that forms a cone with a half angle determined by the ratio of… read more

Major drug company to market implantable microchips that deliver drugs inside the body

"Artificial gland" replaces injections and pills now needed to treat chronic diseases
July 6, 2015

Microchip-based drug delivery device (credit: Robert Farra et al./Science Translational Medicine)

MIT spinoff Microchips Biotech has partnered with Teva Pharmaceutical, the world’s largest producer of generic drugs, to commercialize its wirelessly controlled, implantable, microchip-based devices that store and release drugs inside the body over a period of years.

Invented by Microchips Biotech co-founders Michael Cima, the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering, and Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor, the… read more

Hidden supermassive black holes revealed

July 6, 2015

An artist’s illustration of a supermassive black hole, actively feasting on its surroundings. The central black hole is hidden from direct view by a thick layer of encircling gas and dust. (credit: NASA/ESA)

Astronomers have found high-energy x-ray evidence for five hidden supermassive black holes in the Universe that were previously clouded from direct view by dust and gas.

The research, led by astronomers at the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at Durham University, UK, supports the theory that potentially millions more supermassive black holes exist in the Universe, but are hidden from view, according to the astronomers.… read more

This is how the universe will end: not with a bang but a rip

First the galaxies are destroyed. Then the solar system breaks apart and the Earth explodes. Finally, the atoms themselves are ripped apart.
July 3, 2015

This is a time line of life of the universe that ends in a Big Rip. (credit: Jeremy Teaford, Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University mathematicians have come up with a new theory of “cosmological viscosity” (how sticky the universe is) that challenges current theories.

For decades, cosmologists have had trouble reconciling the classic notion of viscosity based on the laws of thermodynamics with Einstein’s general theory of relativity, according the the team, which has now come up with a fundamentally new mathematical formulation of the problem that appears to… read more

A solar-energy storage cell that works at night

July 3, 2015

The UT Arlington team developed a new solar cell that is more efficient and can store solar energy even at night (credit: UT Arlington)

A University of Texas at Arlington materials science and engineering team has developed a new “photoelectrochemical” energy cell that can efficiently store solar energy and deliver electrical power 24 hours a day. It can also be scaled up to provide large amounts of energy, limited only by the size of its chemical storage tanks, according to Fuqiang Liu, an assistant professor in the Materialsread more

Long-term memories in mice are maintained by prion-like proteins

July 3, 2015

CPEB3 Protein Is a Functional Prion that Interacts with the Actin Cytoskeleton (credit: Joseph S. Stephan et al./Cell Reports)

Columbia University Medical Center | Long-term Memories Are Maintained by Prion-like Proteins

The molecules that maintain long-term memories in mice are a normal version of prion* proteins and work the same way as mechanisms in prions that cause mad cow disease, Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans, and other degenerative brain diseases. That’s the conclusion of research from the lab of Nobel-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel, MD, of… read more

First spin-entangled electrons on a chip

July 2, 2015

False colour scanning image-ft

A team from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science, along with collaborators from the University of Tokyo and University of Osaka, have successfully produced pairs of spin-entangled electrons and demonstrated, for the first time, that these electrons remain entangled even when they are separated from one another on a chip.

This research could allow information contained in quantum bits (qubits) to be shared between… read more

Oops, the universe may have ten to 100 times fewer galaxies than we thought

July 2, 2015

There may be far fewer galaxies further out in the universe then might be expected, according to a new study led by MSU (credit: NASA/CXC/STSci/DSS/Magellan)

There may be far fewer galaxies further out in the universe then might be expected, according to a new study led by Michigan State University.

Over the years, the Hubble Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to look deep into the universe. The long view stirred theories of untold thousands of distant, faint galaxies. But new research appearing in the current issue of the Astrophysical Journalread more

New printing technology for depositing silver at room temperature may lead to electronics advances

July 2, 2015

silver-line-ft

Engineers at Oregon State University (OSU) have invented a way to use silver at room temperature for printed electronics, with broad applications in microelectronics, sensors, energy devices, low emissivity coatings and even transparent displays.

Silver offers advantages in electronic devices because of its conductive and other properties. But the process for using it has required high heat and organic stablizers, followed by post-heating treatments that are required… read more

Freezing single atoms to near absolute zero with microwaves brings practical quantum technology closer

July 2, 2015

Winfried Hensinger (right) and Dr. Seb Weidt are freezing individual atoms using microwaves (credit: University of Sussex)

Physicists at the University of Sussex have frozen single ytterbium ions (charged atoms) to within a millionth of a degree of absolute zero (minus 273.15°C), using 12.6 GHz microwave radiation combined with a large static magnetic field gradient. Temperatures near absolute zero are required to hold ions stationary for quantum computing and other applications.

The physicists measured a reduction of almost two orders of magnitude in the… read more

Wait, some stem cells use nanotubes to communicate with other cells? Seriously?

Ask postdoc Mayu Inaba, who discovered something biologists have mistaken for a speck of dust
July 1, 2015

Confocal microscope image showing stem cells (blue) clustering around a hub in the stem cell niche (pink). One stem cell extends a nanotube into the hub. (credit: Mayu Inaba, University of Michigan)

Certain types of stem cells use microscopic, threadlike nanotubes to communicate with neighboring cells, rather than sending a broadcast signal, researchers at University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have discovered.

The fruit-fly research findings, published today (July 1) in Nature, suggest that short-range, cell-to-cell communication may rely on this type of direct connection more than was previously understood, said… read more

Future of Life Institute awards $7M to explore artificial intelligence risks

Terminator Genisys film will distract from the real issues posed by future AI, says Tegmark
July 1, 2015

Elon Musk (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Future of Life Institute (FLI) announced today (July 1) the selection of 37 research teams around the world to which it plans to award about $7 million from Elon Musk and the Open Philanthropy Project for a global research program aimed at keeping AI beneficial to humanity.

The grants were funded by part of Musk’s $10 million donation to the group in January and $1.2 million from the… read more

Pulsed electric field technology may rejuvenate skin function and appearance

June 30, 2015

electrodes used for PEF-ft

A team of Tel Aviv University and Harvard Medical School researchers has devised a novel non-invasive tissue-stimulation technique using pulsed electric fields (PEF) to generate new skin tissue growth.

The technique produces scarless skin rejuvenation and may revolutionize the treatment of degenerative skin diseases, according to research team leader Alexander Golberg of TAU’s Porter School of Environmental Studies and the Center for Engineering in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical… read more

How to form 3-D shapes from flat sheets of graphene

Could lead to highly sensitive 3D sensors, graphene-coated atomic force microscope (AFM) probes, electrode arrays, and new biosensing devices
June 30, 2015

Credit: University of Illinois College of Engineering

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new approach for forming 3D shapes from flat, 2D sheets of graphene, paving the way for future integrated systems of graphene-MEMS hybrid devices and flexible electronics.

Reported methods of using graphene transfer have been mostly limited to planar or curvilinear surfaces due to the challenges associated with fractures from local stress during transfer onto… read more

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Latest blog posts

HUMANS

June 26, 2015 by Amara D. Angelica

HUMANS robots

A reminder: HUMANS premieres in the U.S. Sunday June 28, 2015 at 9PM EDT on AMC.

This eight-part drama series takes place in a parallel present, featuring the Synth — a highly developed, artificially intelligent android servant.

Having seen the first two episodes, I’m totally hooked. I found the show surprisingly believable. It (almost) fills the void left after Almost Human and Fringe.

The Atlanticread more

Ask Ray | Health technologies to support sleep apnea and snoring

June 22, 2015

credit | Airing

Dear readers,

Obstructive sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder caused by periodic obstruction of the upper airway. A sleep apnea is literally a pause in breathing. It can happen many times each hour while the individual is asleep. It leads to reduced oxygen saturation and is a risk factor for heart disease.

Most sufferers are unaware that they have this syndrome. It is often first noticed… read more

Ask Ray | Future artificial intelligence acceptance or fear

May 5, 2015

The future of the human experience connects people and data. -- credit | iStock

Dear Ray,

Take a look at this article in Russia Today. In our film The Singularity Is Near — that we produced and wrote together — the “Jerry Garcia” character is wailing about cyberconscious citizenship.

I’m not sure what part of “we are merging together” these people don’t get! To me it is as obvious as the nose on my face. Funny how well we predicted and depicted… read more

Internet radio without the internet

High quality music service on Kickstarter to offer 40 million songs, using caching instead of streaming
March 23, 2015 by Amara D. Angelica

AIVVY headset (credit: AIVVY)

I got this post today from Martine Rothblatt, PhD, CEO of United Therapeutics:

” I am very excited. March 24, 2015 is Kickstarter launch for AIVVY — CEO in pictures showing me smartphone control interface.  I’m in! It is best audio streaming interface I’ve ever experienced, and compatible with Sirius XM.

“Lets you run/bike and listen to great audio without getting RF power across your skin from cellular… read more

Transhumanist position on human germline genetic modification

March 22, 2015 by James Hughes

(credit: pixabay)

Recently a group of scientists and an industry group have issued statements calling for a moratorium on human heritable or germline genetic modifications (see herehere and here), now that we have the powerful CRISPR technique to pursue such modifications.

These statements have been greeted rapturously by bioconservatives, who want to see a global ban on germline and enhancement genetic therapies.

Of… read more

Ask Ray | Futurist Martine Rothblatt, PhD discusses cyber consciousness

March 19, 2015

brain - A1

Dear readers,

I want to recommend this article in USA Today profiling Martine Rothblatt, PhD’s keynote at South by Southwest.

USA Today | Sirius founder envisions world of cyber clones, tech med

Her talk featured a roundup of concepts about the future of the human brain and the potential for people to interact through virtual avatars and recreations of an individual.

USA Todayread more

Ray Kurzweil music technology breakthroughs – inside story

Background on Kurzweil's Technical Grammy Award
February 8, 2015 by Amara D. Angelica

Kurzweil 250 prototype boards (credit: Kurzweil Music Systems/Young Chang)

In Fall 1983, visitors crammed into a packed demo on the fifth floor of the New York Hilton Hotel during the New York AES convention and marveled at the Kurzweil K250, noted Electronic Musician magazine in its March 2015 issue.

“The first ROM-based sampling keyboard to successfully reproduce the full complexity of acoustic instruments, the 250 offered natural-sounding pianos, thick drums, lush strings, and more, and its… read more

Ray Kurzweil receives 2015 Technical Grammy Award for outstanding achievements in music technology

February 7, 2015

Grammy Awards - 57th - logo

Ray Kurzweil received the 2015 Technical Grammy Award on February 7, 2015 for his outstanding achievements in the field of music technology.

One of his primary inventions paved the way for re-creating acoustic instruments with electronic equivalents.

The Technical Grammy Award is a Special Merit Award presented by vote of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Trustees, for contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording… read more

Machine Cognition and AI Ethics at AAAI 2015

February 4, 2015 by Melanie Swan

robot brain chip

The AAAI’s Twenty-Ninth Conference on Artificial Intelligence was held January 25–30, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Machine cognition was an important focal area covered in two workshops on AI and Ethics, and Beyond the Turing Test, and in a special track on Cognitive Systems.

Some of the most interesting emergent themes are discussed in this article.

Computational Ethicsread more

Ask Ray | Immortality via the singularity

February 3, 2015

(credit: iStock)

Dear Dr. Kurzweil,

Thank you so much for all your help, time, and encouragement throughout my paper and presentation. It was really exciting that you could be in my 7th grade presentation.

I realize as a Director of Engineering at Google you are very busy. I would love to visit Google. I really appreciate everything you have done and all the resources that you sent.

— Lucyread more

The future of the newsletter and e-mail

December 31, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

Oculus Rift: millions sold in 2015? (credit: Samsung)

In “The return of the newsletter,” Wired notes today that with better spam filters and other tools, non-stop overload from Facebook and Twitter, and the death of RSS, newsletters are “making something of a comeback.”

The article mentions KurzweilAI News and nine other newsletters, including mini-AIR, the newsletter of the hilarious Annals of Improbable Research magazine, noted for its annual Ig Nobel Prizes (such as one earlier this… read more

Don’t fear artificial intelligence | by Ray Kurzweil

December 30, 2014 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil responds to concerns from Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, Phd, on the future possibility of dangers from developments in artificial intelligence. This was also published in Time magazine’s Ideas section.

related reading:
Time | “Don’t fear artificial intelligence” by Ray Kurzweil

Don’t fear artificial intelligence
by Ray Kurzweil

Stephen Hawking, the pre-eminent physicist, recently warned that artificial intelligence… read more

We could get to the singularity in ten years

December 26, 2014 by Ben Goertzel

10 to Singuarlity

It would require a different way of thinking about the timing of the Singularity, says AGI pioneer Ben Goertzel, PhD. Rather than a predictive exercise, it would require thinking about it the way an athlete thinks about a game when going into it, or the way the Manhattan Project scientists thought at the start of the project.

This article, written in 2010, is excerpted with permission from Goertzel’s newread more

Explainer: what is 4D printing?

December 19, 2014 by Dan Raviv

Shapeshifting: 3D printed materials that change shape over time. (Credit: Dan Raviv/Scientific Reports)

Additive manufacturing — or 3D printing — is 30 years old this year. Today, it’s found not just in industry but in households, as the price of 3D printers has fallen below US$1,000. Knowing you can print almost anything, not just marks on paper, opens up unlimited opportunities for us to manufacture toys, household appliances and tools in our living rooms.

But there’s more that can be done with… read more

Ray Kurzweil receives IEEE Eta Kappa Nu honor society’s top honor

November 30, 2014

Saurabh Sinha, PhD, Chair of the IEEE Educational Activities Board; Ray Kurzweil, IEEE Eta Kappa Nu “Eminent Member” honoree; Karen Panetta, PhD, Chair of the IEEE Education Activities Board and Recognition Committee; John Orr, PhD, President of Eta Kappa Nu, the IEEE Honor Society. (credit: IEEE)

Ray Kurzweil was presented with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Eta Kappa Nu honor society top honor, Eminent Member, at the 2014 IEEE Educational Activities Board Awards Ceremony. He received the honor for technical attainments and contributions to society through outstanding leadership in the profession of electrical and computer engineering.

The Induction and Awards presentation took place during the week of IEEE’s Meeting Series. Members of the… read more

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