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Delphi completes first coast-to-coast automated drive

March 31, 2015

(credit: Delphi)

A self-driving car equipped by GM spinoff Delphi Automotive completed today a historic, 3,500-mile journey across the U.S. from San Franscisco to New York.

The trip demonstrated the full capabilities of its active safety technologies with the longest automated drive ever attempted in North America. The coast-to-coast trip, launched in San Francisco on March 22, covered approximately 3,500 miles.

Demonstrated on the streets of Las Vegas at… read more

‘Google Maps’ for the body

March 31, 2015

The imaging technique showing early and advanced osteoporosis. Image: Supplied (Credit: UNSW Australia)

UNSWTV | Google Maps for the Body

Biomedical engineer Melissa Knothe Tate at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia is using previously proprietary semiconductor technology to zoom through organs of the human body, down to the level of a single cell.

The imaging technology, developed by high-tech German optical and industrial measurement manufacturer Zeiss, was originally developed to scan silicon wafers for defects.… read more

Researchers build brain-machine interface to control prosthetic hand

Non-invasive technique allows amputee to power hand by his thoughts
March 31, 2015

New UH research has demonstrated that an amputee can grasp with a bionic hand, powered only by his thoughts (credit: University of Houston)

A research team from the University of Houston has created an algorithm that allowed a man to grasp a bottle and other objects with a prosthetic hand, powered only by his thoughts.

The technique, demonstrated with a 56-year-old man whose right hand had been amputated, uses non-invasive brain monitoring, capturing brain activity to determine what parts of the brain are involved in grasping an object.

With that information,… read more

A ‘Wikipedia’ for neurons

March 31, 2015

neuron types

Carnegie Mellon University | NeuroElectro.org description

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have used data mining to create neuroelectro.org, a publicly available website that acts like Wikipedia, indexing the decades worth of physiological data collected about the billions of neurons in the brain.

The site aims to help accelerate the advance of neuroscience research by providing a centralized resource for collecting and comparing this “brain big… read more

‘Nanoneedles’ generate new blood vessels in mice, paving the way for new regenerative medicine

March 30, 2015

Electron microscope image of a single human cell (brown) on a bed of nanoneedles (blue) (credit: Imperial College London)

Scientists have developed “nanoneedles” that have successfully prompted parts of the body to generate new blood vessels, in a trial in mice.

The researchers, from Imperial College London and Houston Methodist Research Institute in the USA, hope their nanoneedle technique could ultimately help damaged organs and nerves repair themselves and help transplanted organs  thrive.

In a trial described in Nature Materials, the team showed they could deliver nucleic… read more

High-resolution biosensor can report conditions from deep in the body

Going where no light has gone before
March 30, 2015

Geometrically encoded magnetic biosensors (credit: Kelley/NIST PML)

A new microscopic shape-shifting probe capable of sensitive, high-resolution remote biological sensing has been developed by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

If eventually put into widespread use, the design could have a major impact on research in medicine, chemistry, biology, and engineering and ultimately used in clinical diagnostics, according to the researchers.

To date, most efforts… read more

How bacteria can use magnetic particles to create a ‘natural battery’

Could help clean up environmental pollution
March 30, 2015

Rhodopseudomonas palustris bacteria (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Iron-metabolizing bacteria can load electrons from microscopic particles of magnetite (magnetic iron oxides) and later, discharge electrons to the microparticles, which could lead to a new way to clean up environmental pollution and other bioengineering applications, an international team of researchers have found.

For example, using light energy, magnetite can reduce (gain electrons from) the toxic form of chromium, chromium VI, converting it to the less toxic… read more

A nanolaser and a bendable-light material promise to speed up microelectronic devices

March 27, 2015

nanolaser-honeycomb ft.

University of Washington (UW) scientists have built a new nanometer-sized laser — using the thinnest semiconductor available today — that is energy efficient, easy to build, and compatible with existing electronics.

The UW nanolaser, developed in collaboration with Stanford University, uses a tungsten-based semiconductor only three atoms thick as light emitter.

The technology is described in a paper published in the March 16 online edition of read more

Engineers create stretchable structures tougher than bulletproof vests

March 27, 2015

coil fabricated from aligned nanofibers1 ft

Researchers at University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) have created a material made from nanofibers that can stretch to up to seven times its length while remaining tougher than Kevlar.

These structures absorb up to 98 joules per gram. Kevlar, often used to make bulletproof vests, can absorb up to 80 joules per gram. The researchers hope the structures will one day form material that can… read more

Photosynthesis hack needed to feed the world by 2050

March 27, 2015

transforming crops ft.

High-performance computing and genetic engineering could boost crop photosynthetic efficiency enough to feed a planet expected to have 9.5 billion people on it by 2050, researchers report in an open-access paper in the journal Cell.

“We now know every step in the processes that drive photosynthesis in plants such as soybeans and maize,” said University of Illinois plant biology professor Stephen P. Long, who wrote… read more

New kind of ‘tandem’ solar cell developed

Researchers combine two types of photovoltaic material to make a cell that harnesses more sunlight
March 26, 2015

Test sample of a monolithic perovskite-silicon multijunction solar cell produced by the MIT-Stanford University team (credit: Felice Frankel)

Researchers at MIT and Stanford University have developed a new kind of solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material to harvest a broader range of the sun’s energy. The development could lead to photovoltaic cells that are more efficient than those currently used in solar-power installations, the researchers say.

The new cell uses a layer of silicon — which forms the basis for most of today’s… read more

Promising pathways for solar photovoltaic power

A broad new assessment of the status and prospects of solar photovoltaic technology by MIT
March 26, 2015

comparing different photovoltaic materials ft

In a broad new assessment of the status and prospects of solar photovoltaic technology, MIT researchers say that it is “one of the few renewable, low-carbon resources with both the scalability and the technological maturity to meet ever-growing global demand for electricity.”

Use of solar photovoltaics has been growing at a phenomenal rate: Worldwide installed capacity has seen sustained growth averaging 43 percent per year since 2000. To evaluate… read more

Why carbon-nanotube fibers make ideal implantable brain electrodes

March 26, 2015

Pairs of carbon nanotube fibers have been tested for potential use as implantable electrodes to treat patients with neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease. The fibers invented at Rice University proved to be far better than metallic wires now used to stimulate neurons in the brain. (Credit: the Pasquali Lab)

Rice University scientists have found that the carbon nanotube fibers they developed for aerospace are superior to metal and plain-carbon electrodes for deep brain stimulation for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and for brain-machine interfaces to neural circuits in the brain.

The individual nanotubes measure only a few nanometers across, but when millions are bundled in a process called wet spinning, they become thread-like fibers about a… read more

U.S. engineering schools to educate 20,000 students to meet grand challenges

March 25, 2015

(credit: National Academy of Engineering)

In a letter of commitment presented to President Barack Obama at the White House Science Fair Monday, more than 120 U.S. engineering schools announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century.

These “Grand Challenges,” identified through initiatives such as the White House Strategy for American Innovation, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges… read more

What is 5G and when can I get it?

March 25, 2015

(credit: Huawei)

Imagine being able to download a full-length 8GB HD movie to your phone in six seconds (versus seven minutes over 4G or more than an hour on 3G) and video chats so immersive that it will feel like you can reach out and touch the other person right through the screen.

That’s the vision for the 5G concept — the next generation of wireless networks — presented at the… read more

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Latest blog posts

Internet radio without the Internet

New high-quality music service to offer 40 million songs, using caching instead of streaming; launches Tuesday on Kickstarter
March 23, 2015 by Amara D. Angelica

AIVVY headset (credit: AIVVY)

I got this G+ post today from Martine Rothblatt, CEO of United Therapeutics:
Very excited. Tomorrow [Tuesday March 24] 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 data streaming radio, but withread 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’s music-tech breakthroughs: the 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 Percolate 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

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

Stephen Hawking, the pre-eminent physicist, recently warned that artificial intelligence (AI), once it sur­passes human intelligence, could pose… 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

Ask Ray | Living in virtual worlds as an avatar

November 19, 2014

Second Life - 1

Dear Mr. Kurzweil,

I’m in seventh grade, taking a research class called Da Vinci. I have to produce a 10 page annotated paper. I will produce a multimedia presentation on my topic.

My topic is immortality through genetics, nanotechnology and robotics with a special emphasis on artificial intelligence, such as living in a virtual world as an avatar.

Our teacher encouraged us to reach out to experts.… read more

Ask Ray | Potential for elitization of the singularity

November 18, 2014 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: stock image)

Dear Professor Kurzweil,

I was hoping for your views on the potential elitization of singularity that could lead to exacerbation of class, opportunity and economic division.

The ongoing quest for extending human life and artificially enhancing its quality testifies to our instincts for permanence and survival at all cost.

Technologically acquired supremacy breaks the well accepted paradigm that improved life span, physical and cognitive performance is possible only with practice, studious effort… read more

Who blew up the rocket?

What happens when you mix space pork, greedy megacorporations, and recycled Russian rocket engines?
November 6, 2014 by Howard Bloom

Antares launch failure, (credit: NASA)

Exactly what exploded in a ball of flame over Wallops Island, Virginia, on Tuesday October 28 at 6:22 pm? And what brought down Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo over the Mojave Desert Friday morning just after ten am?

Was the vehicle that exploded above the launch pad in Virginia, as some headlines have proclaimed, a NASA rocket? Was it, as others have said, a commercial rocket? Or were both… read more

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