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Machine learning outperforms physicists in experiment

May 16, 2016

The experiment, featuring the small red glow of a BEC trapped in infrared laser beams. (credit: Stuart Hay, ANU)

Australian physicists have used an online optimization process based on machine learning to produce effective Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) in a fraction of the time it would normally take the researchers.

A BEC is a state of matter of a dilute gas of atoms trapped in a laser beam and cooled to temperatures just above absolute zero. BECs are extremely sensitive to external disturbances, which makes them ideal for research… read more

Ingestible ‘origami robot’ lets doctors operate on a patient remotely

May 16, 2016

An "origami robot" unfolds itself from an ingestible capsule, and can be used to perform operations in the body (credit: Melanie Gonick/MIT)

MIT researchers and associates have developed a tiny “origami robot” that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by a physician via an external magnetic field, crawl across the stomach wall to operate on a patient. For example, it can remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound.

Every year, 3,500 swallowed button batteries are reported in the U.S. alone. Frequently, the batteries are… read more

White House to study benefits and risks of AI, ways to improve government

May 13, 2016


The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has announced plans to co-host four public workshops to spur public dialogue on artificial intelligence and machine learning, and to learn more about the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence, according to Ed Felten, a Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

These four workshops will be co-hosted by academic and non-profit organizations; two will also be co-hosted by the… read more

‘Primitive’ quantum computer outperforms classical computers

May 13, 2016

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Researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Western Australia have demonstrated a practical use of a “primitive” quantum computer, using an algorithm known as “quantum walk.” They showed that a two-qubit photonics quantum processor can outperform classical computers for this type of algorithm, without requiring more sophisticated quantum computers, such as IBM’s five-qubits cloud-based quantum processor (see IBM makes quantum computing available free on IBM Cloud).

Quantum… read more

Moogfest 2016: the synthesis of future music, technology, and art

Themes: Afrofuturism, Art and Artificial Intelligence, Hacking Sound (Systems), Instrument Innovators, Radio & the Radiophonic, Technoshamanism, Transhumanism
May 13, 2016


Moogfest 2016, a four-day, mind-expanding festival on the synthesis of technology, art, and music, will happen this coming week (Thursday, May 19 to Sunday, May 22) near Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, with more than 300 musical performances, workshops, conversations, masterclasses, film screenings, live scores, sound installations, multiple interactive art experiences, and “The Future of Creativity” keynotes by visionary futurist Martine Rothblatt, PhD. and virtual… read more

A robot with human-like grace and precision

Teleoperated system can thread a needle, pick up an egg
May 11, 2016

A hybrid hydrostatic transmission and human-safe haptic telepresence robot (credit: Disney Research)

A human-safe lifelike telepresence robot with the delicacy and precision needed to pick up an egg without breaking it or thread a sewing needle has been developed by researchers at Disney Research, the Catholic University of America, and Carnegie Mellon University.

The secret: a hydrostatic transmission that precisely drives robot arms, offering extreme precision with almost no friction or play.

The hybrid transmission design also makes it possible… read more

Google open-sources natural language understanding tools

May 11, 2016

(credit: Google)

Google has just released two powerful natural language understanding tools for free, open-source use by anyone. These tools allow machines to read and understand English text (such as text you type into a browser to do a Google search).

SyntaxNet is a “syntactic parser” — it allows machines to parse, or break down, sentences into their component parts of speech and identify the underlying meaning).… read more

Your smartphone and tablet may be making you ADHD-like

Is digital information overload also killing our capacity for contemplative, abstract thought --- permanently altering the wiring and circuitry of our brains?
May 10, 2016

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Smartphones and other digital technology may be causing ADHD-like symptoms, according to an open-access study published in the proceedings of ACM CHI ’16, the Human-Computer Interaction conference of the Association for Computing Machinery, ongoing in San Jose.

In a two-week experimental study, University of Virginia and University of British Columbia researchers showed that when students kept their phones on ring or vibrate and with notification… read more

This five-fingered robot hand is close to human in functionality

Machine learning algorithms allow it to master new tasks autonomously
May 10, 2016

This five-fingered robot hand developed by University of Washington computer science and engineering researchers can learn how to perform dexterous manipulation -- like spinning a tube full of coffee beans -- on its own, rather than having humans program its actions. (credit: University of Washington)

A University of Washington team of computer scientists and engineers has built what they say is one of the most highly capable five-fingered robot hands in the world. It can perform dexterous manipulation and learn from its own experience without needing humans to direct it.

Their work is described in a paper to be presented May 17 at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.… read more

Scientists digitally mimic evolution to create novel proteins

May 10, 2016

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Here’s an innovative idea: create new proteins by simply “sewing” together pieces of existing proteins. That’s exactly what researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have done to design new “cellular machines” needed to understand and battle diseases.

Published today in the journal Science, the new technique, called SEWING, was inspired by natural evolutionary mechanisms that also recombine portions of the 100,000 different known… read more

Machine learning accelerates the discovery of new materials

May 9, 2016

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Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the State Key Laboratory for Mechanical Behavior of Materials in China have used a combination of machine learning, supercomputers, and experiments to speed up discovery of new materials with desired properties.

The idea is to replace traditional trial-and-error materials research, which is guided only by intuition (and errors). With increasing chemical complexity, the possible combinations have become too large for those trial-and-error… read more

Warning: Your hospital may kill you and they won’t report it

Medical error in hospitals is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer --- an estimated 210,000 to 400,000 deaths a year
May 9, 2016

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Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer — an estimated 210,000 to 400,000 deaths a year among hospital patients — say experts in an open-access paper in the British Medical Journal — despite the fact that both hospital reporting and death certificates in the U.S. have no provision for acknowledging medical error.

Martinread more

New material temporarily tightens skin

“Second skin” polymer could also be used to protect dry skin and deliver drugs
May 9, 2016

“It has to have the right optical properties, otherwise it won’t look good, and it has to have the right mechanical properties, otherwise it won’t have the right strength and it won’t perform correctly,” Robert Langer says (credit: Olivo Labs)

MIT scientists and associates have developed a new material that can temporarily protect and tighten skin, and smooth wrinkles. With further development, it could also be used to deliver drugs to help treat skin conditions such as eczema.

The material is a silicone-based polymer that could be applied on the skin as a thin, imperceptible coating, mimicking the mechanical and elastic properties of healthy, youthful skin.

In tests… read more

This vitamin stops the aging process in organs, say Swiss researchers

A potential breakthrough for regenerative medicine, pending further studies
May 6, 2016

Improved muscle stem cell numbers and muscle function in NR-treated aged mice.<br />
Newly regenerated muscle fibers 7  days  after  muscle  damage  in  aged  mice (left: control group; right: fed NR) (Scale bar = 50 μm). (credit: Hongbo Zhang et al./Science)

EPFL researchers have restored the ability of mice organs to regenerate and extend life by simply administering nicotinamide riboside (NR) to them.

NR has been shown in previous studies to be effective in boosting metabolism and treating a number of degenerative diseases. Now, an article by PhD student Hongbo Zhang published in Science also describes the restorative effects of NR on the functioning of stem cells… read more

Electronic devices that melt in your brain

Bioresorbable devices promise to help eliminate the risks, cost, and discomfort associated with surgical extraction of current devices
May 6, 2016

Cartoon illustration of a four-channel bioresorbable electrode array implanted on the left hemisphere of the brain of a rat for chronic recordings. A flexible cable connects the array to a custom-built circular interface board fixed to the skull using dental cement. (credit: Ki Jun Yu et al./Nature Materials)

Two implantable devices developed by American and Chinese researchers are designed to dissolve in the brain over time and may eliminate several current problems with implants.

University of Pennsylvania researchers have developed an electrode and an electrode array, both made of layers of silicon and molybdenum that can measure physiological characteristics (like neuron signals) and dissolve at a known rate (determined by the material’s thickness). The team used the… read more

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