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Improving memory with transcranial magnetic stimulation

August 29, 2014

Using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to indirectly stimulate the hippocampus (credit: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)

Northwestern Medicine researchers have discovered that using high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to indirectly stimulate the hippocampus portion of the brain (which is involved in forming memories) improves long-term memory.

The discovery opens up interesting new possibilities for treating memory impairments caused by conditions such as stroke, early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and cardiac arrest — along with the memory problems… [ Discovery may help treat memory disorders resulting from stroke, Alzheimer's, and brain injury ] read more

Children with autism learn imitative behavior from socially assistive robot

August 29, 2014

copycat-game

Humanoid robots could help autistic children practice imitation behavior, according to USC Viterbi School of Engineering researchers, based on a new study.

They examined how children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) react to humanoid robots that provide “graded cueing” — an occupational therapy technique that shapes behavior by providing increasingly specific cues, or prompts, to help a person learn new or lost skills.

An imitation gameread more

Atoms to product: aiming to make nanoscale benefits life-sized

August 28, 2014

Assembly Gap

DARPA has created the Atoms to Product (A2P) program to develop enhanced technologies for assembling atomic-scale components and integrate them into materials and systems from nanoscale up to product scale — in ways that preserve and exploit distinctive nanoscale properties.

The new program also seeks to develop revolutionary miniaturization and assembly methods that would work at scales 100,000 times smaller than current state-of-the-art technology.

Many common… read more

Tissue regeneration using anti-inflammatory nanomolecules

August 28, 2014

Innate immune cell distribution in regenerating bladder tissue. Elevated levels of CD68+ macrophages (green) and MPO+ neutrophils (red). (Credit: Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute)

The research group of Arun K. Sharma*, PhD has developed a system for patients with urinary bladder dysfunction that may protect them against an inflammatory reaction** resulting from tissue regeneration, which can negatively impact tissue growth, development and function.

The researchers treated a highly pro-inflammatory biologic scaffold with anti-inflammatory peptide amphiphiles (AIF-PAs). (Self-assembling peptide amphiphiles, or PAs, are biocompatible and biodegradable nanomaterials used in a wide range of… read more

Sorting out circulating tumor cells in the blood with sound waves

Could help assess cancer’s spread
August 28, 2014

sorting out

A research team has developed a device that could be used to detect the extremely rare tumor cells that circulate in cancer patients’ blood, helping doctors predict whether a tumor is going to spread.

Developed by researchers from MIT, Pennsylvania State University, and Carnegie Mellon University, the dime-sized device separates out tumor cells from white blood cells by exposing the cells to sound… read more

Helping researchers cope with the medical literature knowledge explosion

IBM Watson, other tools to provide automated reasoning and hypothesis generation from the complete medical literature
August 27, 2014

(Credit: IBM)

Computational biologists at Baylor College of Medicine and analytics experts at IBM research are developing a powerful new tool called the Knowledge Integration Toolkit (KnIT) that promises to help research scientists deal with the more than 50 million scientific papers available in public databases — with a new one publishing nearly every 30 seconds.

The goal: allow researchers pursuing new scientific studies to mine all available medical… read more

Stanford bioengineers close to brewing opioid painkillers

A decade-long effort in genetic engineering is close to re-programming yeast cells to make palliative medicines
August 27, 2014

tanford Bioengineer Christina Smolke has been on a decade-long quest to genetically alter yeast so they can "brew" opioid medicines in stainless steel vats, eliminating the need to raise poppies and then industrially refine derivatives of opium into pain pills. (Credit: Poppy image created by Rachel Sakai)

Stanford bioengineers have hacked the DNA of yeast, reprograming these simple cells to make opioid-based medicines* via a sophisticated extension of the basic brewing process that makes beer.

Led by Associate Professor of Bioengineering Christina Smolke, the Stanford team has already spent a decade genetically engineering yeast cells to reproduce the biochemistry of poppies, with the ultimate goal of producing opium-based medicines, from start to… read more

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain

May be possible to prune synapses with a future drug after diagnosis
August 26, 2014

A neuron from the brain of young person with autism. A new study finds that young people with autism have excess synapses. (Credit: Guomei Tang and Mark S. Sonders/CUMC)

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The… read more

Functional thymus organ grown in mice from lab-created cells

August 26, 2014

Fibroblasts transformed into induced thymic epithelial cells (iTEC) in vitro (left, iTEC in green). iTEC transplanted onto the mouse kidney form an organised and functional mini-thymus (right, kidney cells in pink, thymus cells in dark blue) (credit: MRC)

Scientists have for the first time grown a complex, fully functional organ from scratch in a living animal by transplanting cells that were originally created in a laboratory to form a replacement thymus*, a vital organ of the immune system.

The advance could in the future aid the development of “lab-grown” replacement organs.

Researchers from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, at the University ofread more

A fully transparent solar concentrator for windows

August 26, 2014

Solar power with a view: MSU doctoral student Yimu Zhao holds up a transparent luminescent solar concentrator module. (Credit: Yimu Zhao)

Michigan State University researchers have developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to see through the window.

It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC) and can be used on buildings, cell phones, and any other device that has a clear surface.

Research in the production of energy from solar cells placed around… read more

‘Robo Brain’ will teach robots everything from the Internet

August 26, 2014

Robo Brain (credit: Saxena Lab)

Robo Brain is currently downloading and processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals, all being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format.

The reason: to serve as helpers in our homes, offices and factories, robots will need to understand how the world works and how the humans around them behave.

Robotics researchers like Ashutosh Saxena,… read more

Autómata: a believable robot future

YOUR TIME IS COMING TO AN END. OURS IS NOW BEGINNING.
August 25, 2014

(Credit: Millennium Entertainment)

George Mason University neuroscience researcher Todd Gillette got a preview of the forthcoming movie Autómata. It “caught me completely by surprise,” he said on his OnMason blog. “Starring Antonio Banderas, here we have a believable future (2044, 30 years from now) in which desertification is threatening society, and a single company is leading the way in intelligent robotics.”

Autómata — Officialread more

Are young people losing the ability to read emotions?

August 25, 2014

(Credit: Apple Inc.)

You’ve been prevented from accessing your smart phone, computer, tablet, and TV for five days. Do you (A) totally freak out and go into withdrawal or (B) deal with it and regain some of your lost social skills, like reading emotions?

UCLA scientists found that sixth-graders who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television, or other digital screen chose option B. They did substantially… read more

A new future for cloud computing

NSF awards $20 million to support cloud-computing applications and experiments.
August 25, 2014

Apt, an NSF-funded precursor testbed to CloudLab, is adaptable to many different research domains. (Credit: NSF)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced two $10 million projects, called “Chameleon” and “CloudLab,” to create cloud-computing testbeds to help the academic research community develop and experiment with novel cloud architectures and applications.

The NSF is especially interested in real-time, safety-critical applications like those used in medical devices, power grids, and transportation systems.

Chameleon

Chameleon will be a… read more

Can we trust robots? Better question: can robots trust us?

August 24, 2014

https://twitter.com/hitchBOT

Ask HitchBOT, a charismatic robot who just hitchhiked its way across Canada from Halifax, N.S. to Victoria, B.C. — a three-week journey of more than 6,000 km (3728 miles) — accepting 18 rides from total strangers and tweeting its progress to its 35,100 followers.

@HitchBOT used GPS and a 3G cellphone wireless connection feeding to a map with its position. It has… read more

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Ask Ray | Article on integrating digital media into children’s lives by my wife Sonya Kurzweil, PhD

August 21, 2014

(credit: iStockphoto)

Dear readers,

I want to share some articles written by my wife, Sonya Kurzweil, PhD who is a psychologist in private practice and clinical instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Sonya’s medical expertise is women, children, parents and families.

She is interested in the way that digital media can be integrated into the lives of children and teens.

Her recent essays on parenting and digital technology… read more

Are copyrighted works only by and for humans?

The copyright Planet of the Apes and robots
August 20, 2014 by Mark A. Fischer

Macaca nigra self-portrait (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Why should humans own all the world’s copyrights? The question is prompted by a photograph that’s made worldwide news. In Indonesia, a female crested black macaque monkey picked up a camera owned by photographer David Slater.

I won’t focus much on the story of the monkey and her selfie because that topic has already been well-discussed in theread more

‘The end of work’ with Ray Kurzweil, Andrew McAfee, Chris Lydon [UPDATE: podcast available]

July 31, 2014

Radio Open Source - The End of Work - one

The jobless economy: a fully automated, engineered, robotic system that doesn’t need you, or me either. Anything we can do, machines can do better — surgery, warfare, farming, finance. What’s to do? Shall we smash the machines, or go to the beach, or finally learn to play the piano?

Economists predict that 50% of US jobs could be automated in a decade or two. Big fun show with… read more

Ask Ray | Can technology help us find love?

July 29, 2014

(credit: iStock)

Ray,

The promises of accelerating technology are impressive, possibly eliminating disease, poverty, and even death.

But I wonder what hope there is for the lonely. Personally, I’m approaching middle age and have never been on a date. And I know I’m not the only one out there in this situation.

Is there anything technology can do in the near or far future to help people like me… read more

Ask Ray | The incredible unlikelihood of being

July 24, 2014

(credit: iStock)

Hello Ray,

The universe existed several billion years before humans were conscious, and will exist several billion years after we are conscious.

So, it is statistically improbable for the chronological timeline of the universe to be located at this precise moment, when we are conscious, that is, an 80 year lifespan within some 30 billion years.

Are you aware of any theories, besides survivorship bias from statistics, that… read more

Wait six years to buy your next car

July 23, 2014 by Randal O'Toole

A demonstrator car with two Lidar laser sensors hanging on the front bumper, five radar sensors hiding behind the fenders, and two optical sensors with 360-degree fields of view on the roof. Click image for a larger view. (Credit: Harbrick)

You’ll be able to buy a car that can drive itself under most conditions, with an option for override by a human driver, in 2020, according to the median estimate in a survey of 217 attendees of the 2014 Automated Vehicles Symposium. By 2030, the group estimated, you’ll be able to buy a car that is so fully automated it won’t even have the option for a human driver.… read more

Wild ride ahead: glimpse at humanity’s long range future

July 23, 2014 by Richard (Dick) Pelletier

A Type III civilization can harness all the energy of a galaxy (credit: ESA)

Imagine if you could take an exotic vacation billions of light years from Earth, peek in on the dinosaurs’ first-hand, or jump into a parallel universe where another you is living a more exciting life than yours — and you could swap places if you like.

For years, scientists have bandied about radical ideas that future humans will one day harness wormholes to zip across the universe at faster-than-light… read more

Ask Ray | Jewish scholar says robots will achieve human level intelligence

July 16, 2014

(credit: iStock)

Dear readers,

I recently saw this article by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and wanted to share it with you.

I have an ongoing interest in the Turing test — a competition that gauges whether an artificial intelligence is capable of human level conversation.

There was a recent test of a chatbot named Eugene Goostman, and I’ve written my reaction to its test results.

This article is… read more

Ask Ray | There are already many cyborgs among us

July 15, 2014

(credit: iStock)

Dear readers,

Check out this article on NBC News. I discussed this topic at Time’s 2003 The Future of Life Summit, during the session “The next frontier.” My full dialog is below. My point was “there are already many cyborgs among us.”

Ray Kurzweil

NBC | “Cyborgs among us: human biohackers embed chips in their bodies”

related viewing from NBC:read more

Ask Ray | E.M. Forster’s 1909 story ‘The Machine Stops’ predicts the web, tablets and artificial intelligence

June 30, 2014

The Machine Stops - book cover front

Dear readers,

A remarkable foreshadowing of the internet, tablet computers and artificial intelligence from a century ago: E.M. Forster’s 1909 short story “The Machine Stops.”

Ray Kurzweil

Wikipedia | “The Machine Stops” is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review in November 1909, the story was republished in Forster’s The Eternal Moment and Otherread more

Ask Ray | US Supreme Court acknowledges that personal space has merged with the digital world

June 28, 2014 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: iStock)

Dear readers,

My friend — of 50 years! — Mark Bergmann, brought this recent quote from US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to my attention:

“Modern cell phones are such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy,” said Roberts, commenting in the recent Supreme Court ruling on cell phones warrants.… read more

Google I/O 2014 | video: Ray Kurzweil presents “Biologically Inspired Models of Intelligence”

June 20, 2014

IO 2014

Google I/O 2014 | Ray Kurzweil: “Biologically Inspired Models of Intelligence,” filmed June 25, 2014

Google | For decades Ray Kurzweil has explored how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities. In his latest book How to Create a Mind, he takes this exploration to the next step: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create intelligent machines.

In… read more

Ask Ray | Music videos on living forever ** updated **

June 19, 2014

(credit: Oasis)

Dear readers,

I enjoyed these two hit songs on the modern theme of living forever. I want to share these popular music videos, and their concepts.

Ultimately, their lyrics move toward a perspective that reflects my own optimistic, positive outlook on what is possible.

The choruses include the phrases “Move towards the future” and “I want to live forever, now’s the time to find out.” Both songs reiterate:… read more

Ask Ray | Response to announcement of chatbot Eugene Goostman passing the Turing test

June 10, 2014 by Ray Kurzweil

Eugene Goostman chatbot screenshot (credit:

On June 8, 2014, The University of Reading announced that a computer program “has passed the Turing test for the first time.”

University of Reading professor Kevin Warwick, PhD, described it this way:
“Some will claim that the test has already been passed. The words ‘Turing test’ have been applied to similar competitions around the world. However, this event involved more simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently… read more

TED Talk 2014 | Ray Kurzweil: “Get ready for hybrid thinking” video now playing

June 4, 2014

TED 30 years logo

TED | Two hundred million years ago, our mammal ancestors developed a new brain feature: the neocortex. This stamp-sized piece of tissue, wrapped around a brain the size of a walnut, is the key to what humanity has become.

Now, futurist Ray Kurzweil suggests, we should get ready for the next big leap in brain power, as we tap into the computing power in the cloud.… read more

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