science + technology news

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3D-printed ‘bionic skin’ could give robots and prosthetics the sense of touch

Could also be printed directly on human skin for pulse monitoring or as a human-machine interface --- imagine a computer mouse built into your fingertip
May 26, 2017

A one-of-a-kind 3D printer built at the University of Minnesota can print touch sensors directly on a model hand. Credit: Shuang-Zhuang Guo and Michael McAlpine, University of Minnesota, "3D Printed Stretchable Tactile Sensors," Advanced Materials. 2017. (credit: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. )

Engineering researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a process for 3D-printing stretchable, flexible, and sensitive electronic sensory devices that could give robots or prosthetic hands — or even real skin — the ability to mechanically sense their environment.

One major use would be to give surgeons the ability to feel during minimally invasive surgeries instead of using cameras, or to increase the sensitivity of surgical… read more

Do robots creep you out?

Roboticists attempt to find out which presentation method presents the lowest barrier to communication
May 26, 2017

robot vr

How do you make humanoid robots look least creepy? With increasing use of industrial (and soon, service robots), it’s a good question.

Researchers at the University of Koblenz-Landau, University of Wurzburg, and Arts Electronica Futurelab decided to find out with an experiment. They created a skit with a human actor and the Roboy robot, and presented scripted human-robot interactions (HRIs), using… read more

How Google’s ‘smart reply’ is getting smarter

A significant new hierarchical approach to machine intelligence
May 24, 2017

Can't make it

Last week, KurzweilAI reported that Google is rolling out an enhanced version of its “smart reply” machine-learning email software to “over 1 billion Android and iOS users of Gmail” — quoting Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

We noted that the new smart-reply version is now able to handle challenging sentences like “That interesting person at the cafe we like gave me a glance,” as Google research… read more

‘Wearable’ PET brain scanner enables studies of moving patients

Seeing more deeply into the brain in real time
May 23, 2017

Two scientists have developed a miniaturized positron emission tomography (PET) brain scanner that can be “worn” like a helmet.

The new Ambulatory Microdose Positron Emission Tomography (AMPET) scanner allows research subjects to stand and move around as the device scans, instead of having to lie completely still and be administered anesthesia — making it impossible to find associations between movement and brain activity.… read more

When AI improves human performance instead of taking over

May 22, 2017

The game results show that placing slightly “noisy” bots in a central location (high-degree nodes) improve human coordination by reducing same-color neighbor nodes. Square nodes show the bots and round nodes show human players; red edges show color conflicts, which are reduced with bot participation. (credit: Hirokazu Shirado and Nicholas A. Christakis/Nature)

It’s not about artificial intelligence (AI) taking over — it’s about AI improving human performance, a new study by Yale University researchers has shown.

“Much of the current conversation about artificial intelligence has to do with whether AI is a substitute for human beings. We believe the conversation should be about AI as a complement to human beings,” said Nicholas Christakis, Yale Universityread more

Princeton/Adobe technology will let you edit voices like text

Are you ready for fake audio (and maybe video) news?
May 19, 2017

fake audio ft

Technology developed by Princeton University computer scientists may do for audio recordings of the human voice what word processing software did for the written word and Adobe Photoshop did for images.

“VoCo” software, still in the research stage, makes it easy to add or replace a word in an audio recording of a human voice by simply editing a text transcript of the recording. New words… read more

Google rolls out new ‘smart reply’ machine-learning email software to more than 1 billion Gmail mobile users

A faster, easier way to reply to email messages
May 17, 2017

side-by-side2 ft

Google is rolling out an enhanced version of its “smart reply” machine-learning email software to “over 1 billion Android and iOS users of Gmail,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said today (May 17, 2017) in a keynote at the annual Google I/O conference.

Smart Reply suggests up to three replies to an email message — saving you typing time, or giving you time to think through a… read more

New 3D printing method may allow for fast, low-cost, more-flexible medical implants for millions

Cuts time to create implants from days or weeks to hours, potentially saving lives
May 15, 2017

Model silicone 3D-printed trachea implant (credit: University of Florida)

UF Soft Matter | Silicone is 3D-printed into the micro-organogel support material. The printing nozzle follows a predefined trajectory, depositing liquid silicone in its wake. The liquid silicone is supported by the micro-organogel material during this printing process.

University of Florida (UF) researchers have developed a method for 3D printing soft-silicone medical implants that are stronger, quicker, less expensive, more flexible, and more comfortable… read more

Virtual-reality therapy found effective for treating phobias and PTSD

May 14, 2017

A soldier using "Bravemind" VR therapy (credit: USC Institute for Creative Technologies)

Virtual reality (VR) technology can be an effective part of treatment for phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in combat veterans, and other mental health conditions, according to an open-access research review in the May/June issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

“VR-based exposure therapy” (VRE) has been found effective for treating panic disorder, schizophrenia, acute and chronic pain, addictions (including smoking), social anxiety disorder, claustrophobia, agoraphobia (fear or… read more

Best of MOOGFEST 2017

May 12, 2017

M

The Moogfest four-day festival in Durham, North Carolina next weekend (May 18 — 21) explores the future of technology, art, and music. Here are some of the sessions that may be especially interesting to KurzweilAI readers. Full #Moogfest2017 Program Lineup.

Culture and Technology

The Magenta by Google Brain team will bring its work to life through an interactive demo plus workshops on the… read more

Humanity must populate a new planet within 100 years, warns Stephen Hawking, PhD

May 11, 2017

(credit: www.hawking.org.uk)

“The human species will have to populate a new planet within 100 years if it is to survive,” famed physicist Stephen Hawking, PhD says in “Expedition New Earth” a documentary that debuts this summer as part of the BBC’s forthcoming Tomorrow’s World TV series.

He cites “climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth” as reasons to leave.

That 100 figure is dramatically lower that… read more

A deep-learning tool that lets you clone an artistic style onto a photo

May 10, 2017

New research from Computing and Information Science and Adobe may add another creative option to image editing software. (credit: Cornell University)

“Deep Photo Style Transfer” is a cool new artificial-intelligence image-editing software tool that lets you transfer a style from another (“reference”) photo onto your own photo, as shown in the above examples.

An open-access arXiv paper by Cornell University computer scientists and Adobe collaborators explains that the tool can transpose the look of one photo (such as the time of day, weather, season, and artistic effects) onto… read more

A ‘smart contact lens’ for diabetes and glaucoma diagnosis

May 10, 2017

Smart contact lens on mannequin eye

Korean researchers have designed a “smart contact lens” that may one day allow patients with diabetes and glaucoma to self-monitor blood glucose levels and internal eye pressure.*

The study was conducted by researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, both of South Korea.

Most previously reported contact lens sensors can only monitor a single analyte (such as glucose)… read more

The world’s fastest video camera

Can capture rapid processes in chemistry, physics, biology and biomedicine that so far have never been caught on film
May 6, 2017

Elias Kristensson and Andreas Ehn (credit: Kennet Ruona)

A research group at Lund University in Sweden has developed a video camera* that can record at a rate equivalent to five trillion images per second, or events as short as 0.2 trillionths of a second. This is far faster than has previously been possible (100,000 images per second).

The new super-fast camera can capture rapid processes in chemistry, physics, biology and biomedicine that so far have… read more

Precision typing on a smartwatch with finger gestures

"Watchsense" would also work with smartphones, smart TVs, and virtual-reality or augmented reality devices
May 5, 2017

A smartwatch could have an embedded depth sensor on its side, aimed at the back of the hand and the space above it, allowing for easy typing and control. Or in a music program, the volume could be adjusted. (credit: Srinath Sridhar et al.)

If you wear a smartwatch, you know how limiting it is to type it on or otherwise operate it. Now European researchers have developed an input method that uses a depth camera (similar to the Kinect game controller) to track fingertip touch and location on the back of the hand or in mid-air, allowing for precision control.

The researchers have created a prototype called “WatchSense,” worn on… read more

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