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Scientists extend telomeres to slow cell aging

A modified RNA that encodes a telomere-extending protein to cultured human cell yielded large numbers of cells for study
January 26, 2015

Human chromosomes (gray) capped by telomeres (white) (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a new procedure that uses modified messenger RNA to quickly and efficiently increase the length of human telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that are associated with aging and disease.

Treated cells behave as if they are much younger than untreated cells, multiplying with abandon in the laboratory dish rather than stagnating… read more

Carbon nanotubes found to create blood clots in medical devices

January 26, 2015

Scanning electron micrographs of multiwall-carbon-nanotube-modified PVC prior to (top) and after (bottom) perfusion, showing platelet aggregation (credit: Alan M. Gaffney et al./Nanomedicine)

Scientists in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity College Dublin, have discovered that using carbon nanotubes as biomaterials that come into contact with blood generates blood clots.

The reason: When blood comes into contact with foreign surfaces, the blood’s protective platelets are activated, creating blood clots.

This can be catastrophic in clinical settings where extracorporeal circulation technologies are used, such as during… read more

Ripping graphene nanoribbon edges converts the material from conductive to semiconducting

January 26, 2015

Graphene nanoribbons can be enticed to form favorable “reconstructed” edges by pulling them apart with the right force and at the right temperature, according to researchers at Rice University. The illustration shows the crack at the edge that begins the formation of five- and seven-atom pair under the right conditions. (credit: ZiAng Zhang/Rice University)

Theoretical physicists at Rice University have figured out how to custom-design graphene nanoribbons by controlling the conditions under which the nanoribbons are pulled apart to get the edges they need for specific mechanical and electrical properties, such as metallic (for chip interconnects, for example) or semiconducting (for chips).

The new research by Rice physicist Boris Yakobson and his colleagues appeared this month in the… read more

Genome-wide search reveals >750 worm genes involved in long-term memory

January 25, 2015

Long-term memory training in worms (left) led to induction of the transcription factor CREB in AIM neurons (shown by arrows in right). CREB-induced genes were shown to be involved in forming long-term memories in worm neurons. (credit: Murphy lab)

A new Princeton University study has identified more than 750 genes involved in long-term memory in the worm — part of research aimed at finding ways to retain cognitive abilities during aging, including compounds.

The study takes a different approach than the recent ENIGMA study, which  identified genetic mutations in humans related to brain aging.

The new study, published in the journal Neuron,… read more

Global ENIGMA consortium cracks brain’s genetic codes for aging

Finds 8 common gene mutations leading to brain aging in over 30,000 brain scans that may one day unlock mysteries of Alzheimer’s, autism, and other neurological disorders
January 23, 2015

(credit: ENIGMA)

In the largest collaborative study of the brain to date, about 300 researchers in a global consortium of 190 institutions identified eight common genetic mutations that appear to age the brain an average of three years.

The discovery could lead to targeted therapies and interventions for Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and other neurological conditions.

Led by the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California… read more

‘Cobots’ enhance robotic manufacturing

But how do you integrate them with humans in a manufacturing plant (and overcome negative Hollywood stereotypes)?
January 23, 2015

Baxter, introduced in 2012 by the company Rethink Robotics, is a two-armed robot with a tablet-like panel for its "eyes." (Credit: Rethink Robotics, Inc.)

Manufacturers have begun experimenting with a new generation of “cobots” (collaborative robots) designed to work side-by-side with humans.

To determine best practices for effectively integrating human-robot teams within manufacturing environments, a University of Wisconsin-Madison team headed by Bilge Mutlu, an assistant professor of computer sciences, is working with an MIT team headed by Julie A. Shah, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics.… read more

Laser may replace copper in computer chips for high-speed, low-energy data transmission

January 22, 2015

Schematic structure of the germanium-tin (GeSn) laser, applied directly onto the silicon wafer (blue) by using an intermediate layer of pure germanium (orange). (Credit: Forschungszentrum Jülich)

An international team of scientists has constructed the first germanium-tin* semiconductor laser for CMOS silicon chips. By replacing copper wires with optical transmission, the new device promises higher-speed data transmission on computer chips at a fraction of the energy.

The results by scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland in cooperation with international partners were published in the journal Nature Photonics.… read more

MIT scientists question effectiveness of sequestration of carbon dioxide

January 22, 2015

Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

As KurzweilAI recently reported, carbon sequestration promises to address greenhouse-gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and injecting it deep below the Earth’s surface, where it would permanently solidify into rock.

The EPA estimates that current carbon-sequestration technologies may eliminate up to 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

However, while such technologies may successfully remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere,… read more

NASA-Microsoft augmented-reality system allows scientists to ‘work on Mars’

January 22, 2015

A screen view from OnSight, a software tool developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in collaboration with Microsoft. OnSight uses real rover data to create a 3-D simulation of the Martian environment where mission scientists can "meet" to discuss rover operations. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Microsoft have developed software called OnSight that will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars with Mars Curiosity rover, using wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens.

“OnSight gives our rover scientists the ability to walk around and explore Mars right from their offices,” said Dave Lavery, program executive for the Marsread more

Microsoft announces HoloLens augmented-reality display

January 22, 2015

Hololens

Microsoft introduced Tuesday (Jan. 21) HoloLens, an immersive, augmented-reality device based on the forthcoming Windows 10 operating system, also announced. No release date or price is available.

HoloLens allows users to interact with 3D objects, which are displayed as floating images, emulating holographic projections. A built-in CPU, graphics core, and “Holographic Processing Unit” (HPU) replaces the need for a phone or external computer. HoloLens recognizes gestures, gaze,… read more

Supermaterials improve solar collectors

January 21, 2015

University of Rochester Institute of Optics professor Chunlei Guo has developed a technique that uses lasers to render materials hydrophobic, illustrated in this image of a water droplet falling off a treated sample in his lab (Credit: J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester)

By zapping ordinary metals with femtosecond laser pulses, researchers from the University of Rochester in New York have created extraordinary new surfaces that efficiently absorb light, repel water and clean themselves for use in durable, low-maintenance solar collectors and sensors, for example.

This is the first multifunctional metal surface created by lasers that is superhydrophobic (water repelling), self-cleaning, and highly absorptive,” said Chunlei Guo, a physicist… read more

New microscope creates 3D movies of living things

January 21, 2015

This schematic depicts SCAPE’s imaging geometry. The light sheet is swept at the sample by slowly moving a polygonal mirror mounted on a galvanometer motor. This alters the angle at which the light is incident at the edge of the objective's back aperture, causing the beam to sweep across the sample. The light emitted by fluorophores within this illuminated plane travels back through the same objective lens, and is de-scanned by the same polygonal mirror (from an adjacent facet). This light forms an oblique image of the illuminated plane that stays stationary and aligned with the illumination plane, even though the light sheet is moving through the sample (just as a confocal pinhole stays aligned with the scanning illuminated focal point in laser scanning confocal microscopy). So with one (<5 degree) movement of the polygon, the entire volume is sampled. (Credit: Elizabeth Hillman, Columbia Engineering)

A Columbia University scientist has developed a new microscope that can image freely moving living things in 3D at very high speeds — up to 100 times faster 3D imaging than laser-scanning confocal, two-photon, and light-sheet microscopy.

Developed by Elizabeth Hillman, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, SCAPE (swept confocally aligned planar excitation microscopy) uses a… read more

A better ‘Siri’

Planning algorithms evaluate probability of success, suggest low-risk alternatives
January 20, 2015

A directed graph (credit: Wikipedia)

At the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) this month, MIT computer scientists will present smart algorithms that function as “a better Siri,” optimizing planning for lower risk, such as scheduling flights or bus routes.

They offer this example:

Imagine that you could tell your phone that you want to drive from your house in Boston to a hotel inread more

Mysterious cosmic burst of radio waves detected by astronomers

January 20, 2015

This is a schematic illustration of CSIRO's Parkes radio telescope receiving the polarised signal from the new 'fast radio burst'. (Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions)

On May 14, 2014, astronomers at Parkes Radio Telescope led by Emily Petroff at Swinburne University of Technology observed live an extremely short, sharp “fast radio burst” for 2.8 milliseconds at a microwave frequency of 1.4 GHz from an unknown source at an estimated distance of up to 5.5 billion light years from Earth. 24 seconds later, an email alert went out to astronomers at… read more

Malware detection technology identifies malware without examining source code

January 19, 2015

cybersecurity

Hyperion, new malware detection software that can quickly recognize malicious software even if the specific program has not been previously identified as a threat, has been licensed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to R&K Cyber Solutions LLC (R&K).

Hyperion, which has been under development for a decade, offers more comprehensive scanning capabilities than existing cyber security methods, said one of its inventors, Stacy Prowellread more

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Latest blog posts

Ray Kurzweil receives 2015 Technical Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in music technology

January 12, 2015

Grammy Awards - 57th - logo

Ray Kurzweil will receive the 2015 Technical Grammy Award for his lifetime of work 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 field.… read 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 UK 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… 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

Private spaceflight will survive Virgin tragedy because we choose to dream big

November 4, 2014 by Fredrick Jenet

Spaceship Two (credit: Virgin Galactic)

This week, I can predict with a high degree of accuracy that more than 50,000 car accidents will occur in the U.S., over 500 of which will involve fatalities. Last week was no different. Is social media alive with discussions on the future of the automotive industry due to these incidents? Have the “Big Three” seen major losses in stock prices? Are people now afraid to get into their cars… read more

When parallel worlds collide, quantum mechanics is born

November 3, 2014 by Howard Wiseman

Many different worlds but a finite number (credit: Flickr/fdecomite, CC)

Parallel universes — worlds where the dinosaur-killing asteroid never hit, or where Australia was colonised by the Portuguese – are a staple of science fiction. But are they real?

In a radical paper published this week in Physical Review X [and available here in open-access arXiv  --- Ed.] we (Dr Michael Hall and I from Griffith University and Dr Dirk-André Deckert from the University of California) propose not only that parallel… read more

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

‘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

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