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Scientists discover key driver of human aging

Salk Institute findings on premature aging syndrome could lead to way of slowing or reversing aging process
May 1, 2015

Salk Institute researchers discovered that a protein mutated in the premature aging disorder, Werner syndrome, plays a key role in stabilizing heterochromatin, a tightly packaged form of DNA. More generally, the findings suggest that heterochromatin disorganization may be a key driver of aging. This image shows normal human cells (left) and genetically modified cells developed by the Salk scientists to model Werner syndrome (right), which showed signs of aging, including their large size. (Credit: Salk Institute for Biological Studies)

A study tying the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA could lead to methods of preventing and treating age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, scientists at the Salk Institute and the Chinese Academy of Science note in a paper published Thursday, April 30 in the journal Science.

They found that the genetic mutations underlying… read more

Printing silicon on paper with lasers

May 1, 2015

silicon on paper

Researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have pioneered a method that allows silicon, in the polycrystalline form used in circuitry, to be produced directly on a substrate from liquid silicon ink with a single laser pulse.

The capacity for printing silicon ink onto substrates has existed for some time, but necessitated a 350° C thermal annealing step — far too hot for paper and other common… read more

A whiteboard of the future

May 1, 2015

Handwriting with a magnet-ft

Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed an inexpensive handwriting-enabled e-paper suited to large displays like whiteboards.

The display is made from black-and-white microparticles about 0.1 millimeter in diameter. One hemisphere of each particle is black and carries a negative charge, while the other is white and carries a positive charge. The particles are sandwiched between two electrodes. By switching the direction of the voltage across the electrodes… read more

Artificial photosynthesis could help make fuels, plastics, and medicine

New process using semiconductor nanodevices and bacterium-based biocatalysts could cut our reliance on fossil fuels
April 30, 2015

solar powered artificial photosynthetic approach-ft

A team of scientists has invented a new artificial photosynthetic system that could one day reduce industry’s dependence on fossil fuel-derived energy by powering it with solar energy and bacteria.

In the ACS journal Nano Letters, they describe a novel system that converts light and carbon dioxide into building blocks for plastics, pharmaceuticals and fuels — all without electricity.

Plants use photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide… read more

New tool can switch neural behavior ‘on’ and ‘off’

A BRAIN initiative first
April 30, 2015

updated DREADD-ft

University of North Carolina (UNC) scientists have perfected a noninvasive “chemogenetic” technique that allows them to switch off a specific behavior in mice — such as voracious eating — and then switch it back on. This unique tool — the first to result from the NIH BRAIN Initiative — will help scientists understand how to modulate neurons to more effectively treat diseases.

The method works… read more

IBM demonstrates superconducting quantum computer

New design detects both types of quantum errors and can be scalable to larger systems
April 30, 2015

IBM four qubit square circuit

IBM scientists Wednesday April 29 unveiled two critical advances towards creating a practical quantum computer by detecting and measuring both kinds of quantum errors simultaneously. They also demonstrated a new, square quantum bit circuit design that they suggest is the only physical architecture that could successfully scale to larger dimensions.

Quantum computers promise to open up new capabilities in the fields of optimization and simulation… read more

Making robots more human by detecting human emotions

Stretchable, ultrasensitive strain sensors could provide a simple, low-cost way for robots to detect emotions
April 30, 2015

Schematic illustration of stretchable transparent ultrasensitive strain sensors attached to the forehead, near the mouth, under the eye, and on the neck to sense skin strains induced by muscle movements during expression of emotions and daily activities (credit: Eun Roh et al./ACS Nano)

If robots could detect human emotions, it might make them more “human.” That’s the premise of new research by Korean scientists, who have developed simple, low-cost, ultra-sensitive wearable strain sensors that can detect facial expressions.

This kind if detection is normally done with vision sensors connected to a computer, with facial-analysis algorithms, but such systems are expensive and have low mobility and high complexity, the researchers note in a… read more

The most comprehensive 3-D map of the universe

April 29, 2015

A slice through the 3D map of the nearby universe. Our Milky Way galaxy is in the centre, marked by a cross.  The map spans nearly two billion light years from side to side. Regions with many galaxies are shown in white or red, whereas regions with fewer galaxies are dark blue.  (Credit: University of Waterloo)

Astrophysicists have created a 3D map of the universe that spans nearly two billion light years and is the most complete picture of our cosmic neighborhood to date.

The spherical map of galaxy superclusters will lead to a greater understanding of how matter is distributed in the universe and provide key insights into dark matter, one of physics’ greatest mysteries, the astronomers say.

“The galaxy distribution isn’t uniform… read more

A new material for creating artificial blood vessels

Human trials expected in a few years
April 29, 2015

The artificial material (left) combines well with the biomaterial (right) (montage). (Credit: TU Wien)

Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) and Vienna Medical University (MedUni Vienna) researchers have developed artificial blood vessels made from a special elastomer material (thermoplastic polyurethanes) with excellent mechanical properties.

The artificial blood vessels are designed to be broken down by the body and replaced with its own tissue. At the end of this restorative process, a natural, fully functional vessel will be… read more

Three babies given 3-D printed custom-designed airway splints found healthy in follow-up study

April 29, 2015

A baby’s life was saved with this groundbreaking 3-D printed device that restored his breathing (credit: University of Michigan Health System)

Three babies who received groundbreaking 3-D-printed devices that helped keep their airways open are today healthy, off of ventilators, and no longer need paralytics, narcotics and sedation, say researchers have closely followed their cases to see how well the bioresorable splints implanted in all three patients have worked.

The promising results were published in today’s (April 29) issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Kaiba was just a newborn when he… read more

New insight into how the brain makes memories

Linked to autism and Alzheimer’s disease
April 28, 2015

filapodia

Every time you make a memory, somewhere in your brain a tiny filament called a dendritic spine reaches out from one neuron and forms an electrochemical connection to a neighboring neuron. Now a team of biologists at Vanderbilt University has discovered more about how these connections are formed at the molecular and cellular level.

In a series of experiments described in the April 17 issue of the Journalread more

Neurons constantly rewrite their DNA to store information

May be a key to brain disorders
April 28, 2015

Images of mouse neurons from the hippocampal region of the brain. Levels of the surface receptor GluR1, orange, are shown in unmodified neurons, left, and in those with increased levels of Tet3, right (credit: Huimei Yu, Johns Hopkins Medicine)

Johns Hopkins and UCLA scientists have discovered that neurons use minor “DNA surgeries” to control their activity levels all day, every day. Since these activity levels are important in learning, memory and brain disorders, the researchers think their finding will shed light on a range of important questions.

“We used to think that once a cell reaches full maturation, its DNA is totally stable, including the molecular… read more

DARPA aims to improve memory skills

Research may also help civilians deal with an increasingly information-dense world
April 28, 2015

RAM graphic (credit: DARPA)

A new DARPA research program called Restoring Active Memory Replay (RAM Replay) aims to investigate the role of neural “replay” in the formation and recall of memory.

The goal is to help individuals better remember specific episodic events and learned skills. The military application is to improve rehabilitation and recovery for injured warfighters challenged by impaired memory.

The program is designed to develop “novel,… read more

Novel polarization forms promise to radically increase data speeds

New technique allows data transmitted on a single laser beam to be scaled to terabits or even petabits
April 26, 2015

Light's polarization is manipulated into novel shapes carrying additional data, according to the CCNY research (credit: CCNY)

As the world’s exponentially growing demand for digital data slows down the Internet and cell phone communication, City College of New York researchers may have just figured out a dramatic new way to increase transmission speed.

“Conventional methods of data transmission [that] use light … are being exhausted by data-hungry technologies, such as smart phones and cloud computing,” said Giovanni Milione, a PhD student under City… read more

’4-D printing’ objects that morph based on stimuli like water and heat

"3D printing is so last year --- we're onto 4D printing now," say Australian researchers
April 26, 2015

Another dimension: Professor Marc in het Panhuis and PhD student Shannon Bakarich are building objects using 4-D printing, where time is the fourth dimension (credit: University of Wollongong/Paul Jones)

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong (UOW) are developing 3-D printed materials that morph into new structures under the influence of external stimuli such as water or heat. They refer to this process as “4-D printing,” where the fourth dimension is time.

The researchers are currently exploring a use in manufacturing a valve that actuates… 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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