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How to get the entire immune system to attack cancer

Stimulating both major branches of the immune system halts tumor growth more effectively
April 16, 2015

Two T lymphocyte cells (orange) attack a cancer cell (blue), using special receptors to zero in on the cancer. (credit: Science Source)

The human immune system is poised to spring into action at the first sign of a foreign invader, but it often fails to eliminate tumors that arise from the body’s own cells.

Orchestrating a successful immune attack against tumors has proven difficult so far, but a new study from MIT suggests that immune attack against tumors could be improved with cancer immunotherapy — simultaneously activating… read more

A thumbnail track pad

Unobtrusive wearable sensor could operate digital devices or augment other device interfaces
April 17, 2015

NailO

Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory are developing a new wearable device that turns the user’s thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad (for controlling the position of a cursor on a screen, for example).

They envision that the technology could let users control wireless devices when their hands are full — answering the phone while cooking, for instance.

It could also augment other interfaces, allowing someone texting… read more

Double-walled carbon nanotubes can be tuned for specific electronic properties

Could lead to nanotube transistors
April 17, 2015

nanotube with two zigzag components-ft

Using atomic-level models of double-walled carbon nanotubes, Rice University scientists have found that it may someday be possible to tune double-walled tubes for specific electronic properties by controlling their configuration, chiral angles, and distance between walls.

The open-access research reported in Nanotechnology was chosen as the journal’s “publisher’s pick” this month. The journal also published an interview with the study’s lead author, Rice graduate student Matías Soto.… read more

Alpha-rhythm brain stimulation shown to boost creativity

Sets stage to potentially treat depression
April 17, 2015

TACS ft

By applying weak 10-Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) to the scalp to alter the brain’s alpha-wave oscillations, University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine researchers have increased creativity in healthy adults by an average of 7.4 percent.

Now they’re testing the same experimental protocol to alleviate symptoms in people with depression.

This research, published in the journal Cortex, showed that sending a  current through electrodes attached to the… read more

NASA’s Mars Rover-like autonomous vehicle for Earth

April 17, 2015

MRV

NASA has released a video of their electric “extreme dexterity” Modular Robotic Vehicle (MRV) in operation at the Johnson Space Center, emulating NASA’s self-driving Rover.

The vehicle is designed to be driven autonomously, by a human, or teleoperated, according to a NASA document.

NASA | Modular Robotic Vehicle (MRV) created by NASA at the Johnson Space Center

Nissan teams up with NASA forread more

Are populations aging more slowly than we think?

60 is the new middle age
April 16, 2015

(credit: iStock)

Increases in life expectancy do not necessarily produce faster overall population aging, according to new open-access research published in the journal PLOS ONE.

This counterintuitive finding was the result of applying new measures of aging, developed at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) to future population projections for Europe up to the year 2050.

IIASA World Population Program Deputy Director Sergei Scherbov led… read more

Steering the epigenome to turn specific genes on

Could provide a new avenue for gene therapies and guiding stem cell differentiation
April 16, 2015

(credit: Human Epigenome Project)

Duke University researchers have developed a new method to precisely control when genes are turned on and active: by manipulating the epigenome — the web of proteins that supports and controls gene activity and a current hot topic in cancer research.

The researchers say having the ability to steer the epigenome will help them explore the roles that particular promoters and enhancers play in cell fate or the… read more

Electrically controlling quantum bits in silicon may lead to large quantum computers

April 15, 2015

This is an electron wave in a phosphorus atom, distorted by a local electric field. (credit: Dr. Arne Laucht)

A UNSW-led research team has encoded quantum information in silicon using simple electrical pulses for the first time, bringing the construction of affordable large-scale quantum computers one step closer to reality.

The idea is to exploit the advanced fabrication methods developed in semiconductor nanoelectronics and create quantum bits (qubits) that are both highly coherent and easy to control and couple to each other — a challenging task.… read more

Graphene photodetector speeds up light-to-electricity conversion

May result in faster data transmission and broadband photodetectors
April 15, 2015

90016_web

Researchers at MIT, UC Riverside, and ICFO have demonstrated a graphene-based photodetector that converts absorbed light into an electrical voltage in an extremely short time*.

The finding opens up a new path to ultra-fast optoelectronic (light to electricity and vice versa) conversion, which is essential for faster data transmission, and to photodetectors that operate over a broad range of frequencies.

To demonstrate… read more

How to use patent-award data to forecast technological change

Fastest-developing technologies include optical and wireless communications, 3-D printing, and MRI technology
April 15, 2015

(credit:  Christopher L. Benson, Christopher L. Magee/PLoS ONE)

MIT engineers have devised a formula for estimating how fast a technology is advancing, based on information gleaned from relevant patents.

The researchers determined the improvement rates of 28 different technologies, including solar photovoltaics, 3D printing, fuel-cell technology, and genome sequencing.

They searched through the U.S. Patent Office database for patents associated with each domain — more than 500,000 total — by developing a novel method to quickly… read more

A video camera that powers itself

Could lead to a future self-powered digital watch with camera?
April 15, 2015

The complete self-powered camera system with sensor array powered by supercapacitor recharged using just energy harvested from pixels (credit: Columbia University)

A prototype self-powered video camera that can produce an image every second of a well-lit indoor scene has been invented by a research team led by Shree K. Nayar, T.C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering.

“We are in the middle of a digital imaging revolution,” says Nayar, who directs the Computer Vision Laboratory at Columbia Engineering. “A camera that can function as… read more

‘Spin-orbitronics’ could ‘revolutionize the electronics industry’ by manipulating magnetic domains

April 14, 2015

magnetic-domain switching ft.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found a new way of manipulating the walls that define magnetic domains (uniform areas in magnetic materials) and the results could one day revolutionize the electronics industry, they say.

Gong Chen and Andreas Schmid, experts in electron microscopy with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, led the… read more

How to make objects invisible without metamaterial cloaking

April 14, 2015

This is the radio-frequency anechoic chamber used for the experiment (credit: ITMO University)

Physicists from ITMO University, Ioffe Institute and Australian National University have managed to make homogenous cylindrical objects completely invisible in the microwave range — without adding coating layers.

KurzweilAI has covered a wide variety of discoveries in metamaterals (“cloaking”); this method is based on a new understanding of electromagnetic wave scattering. The results of the open-access study were published… read more

Metamaterials that harvest energy almost perfectly from electromagnetic waves

Could help ease the world’s energy shortage in the future
April 14, 2015

The metasurface used for collecting electromagnetic energy. (credit: O.Ramahi/U.Waterloo)

Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada have developed a novel design for electromagnetic energy harvesting, using metamaterials.

The metamaterials that can be designed so that they don’t reflect or re-transmit power  — enabling almost full absorption of incident waves at a specific range of frequencies and polarizations.

Metasurface-based antennas

KurzweilAI has reported a variety of schemes for harvesting electromagnetic… read more

Smartphone-based device could provide rapid, low-cost molecular tumor diagnosis

April 14, 2015

SmartphoneDiagnosis-ft

A smartphone-based device developed by Harvard Medical School investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital could bring rapid, accurate molecular diagnosis of cancer and other diseases to locations lacking the latest medical technology.

The device uses technology for making holograms to collect detailed microscopic images for digital analysis of the molecular composition of cells and tissues.

“The global burden of cancer, limited access to prompt pathology… 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 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 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 | 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

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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