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KurzweilAI special project August 7–18

August 4, 2017

Dear reader,

The KurzweilAI editorial/research team will be working on a special 10-day project starting Monday August 7, so we will be suspending newsletter publication until Monday August 21.

Our website will remain up and we will continue to welcome your emails. We hope you’re enjoying your summer vacation.

Thanks for your always-interesting participation,

Amara D. Angelica
Research Director/Editor, KurzweilAI

How to turn a crystal into an erasable electrical circuit

August 4, 2017

Washington State University researchers used light to write a highly conducting electric path in a crystal. This opens up the possibility of transparent, three-dimensional electronics that, like an Etch-A-Sketch, can be erased and reconfigured. On the left, a photograph of a sample with four metal contacts. On the right, an illustration of a laser drawing a conductive path between two contacts. (credit: Washington State University)

Washington State University (WSU) physicists have found a way to write an electrical circuit into a crystal, opening up the possibility of transparent, three-dimensional electronics that, like an Etch A Sketch, can be erased and reconfigured.

Ordinarily, a crystal does not conduct electricity. But when the researchers heated up crystal strontium titanate under the specific conditions, the crystal was altered so that light made it conductive. The circuit… read more

Ray Kurzweil reveals plans for ‘linguistically fluent’ Google software

Paper outlines path to understand human language inspired by the hierarchical structure of the human neocortex
August 4, 2017

Smart Reply (credit: Google Research)

Ray Kuzweil, a director of engineering at Google, reveals plans for a future version of Google’s “Smart Reply” machine-learning email software (and more) in a Wired article by Tom Simonite published Wednesday (Aug. 2, 2017).

Running on mobile Gmail and Google Inbox, Smart Reply suggests up to three replies to an email message, saving typing time or giving you ideas for a better reply.

Smarter autocompleteread more

Saturn moon Titan has chemical that could form bio-like ‘membranes’ says NASA

Cassini spacecraft also discovered "carbon chain anions" in Titan’s upper atmosphere that may be building blocks for more complex organic molecules
August 2, 2017

Azotozome (credit: James Stevenson/Cornell)

NASA researchers have found large quantities (2.8 parts per billion) of acrylonitrile* (vinyl cyanide, C2H3CN) in Titan’s atmosphere that could self-assemble as a sheet of material similar to a cell membrane.

Consider these findings, presented July 28, 2017 in the open-access journal Science Advances, based on data from the ALMA telescope in Chile (and confirming earlier observations by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft):… read more

Disney Research’s ‘Magic Bench’ makes augmented reality a headset-free group experience

Lets users see, hear, and feel animated characters, replacing glasses and other devices
July 31, 2017

Magic Bench (credit: Disney Research)

Disney Research has created the first shared, combined augmented/mixed-reality experience, replacing first-person head-mounted displays or handheld devices with a mirrored image on a large screen — allowing people to share the magical experience as a group.

Sit on Disney Research’s Magic Bench and you may see an elephant hand you a glowing orb, hear its voice, and feel it sit down next to you, for example. Or… read more

A living programmable biocomputing device based on RNA

Can sense and analyze multiple complex signals in living cells for future synthetic diagnostics and therapeutics
July 28, 2017

Similar to how computer scientists use logical language to have their programs make accurate AND, OR and NOT decisions towards a final goal, "Ribocomputing Devices" (stylized here in yellow) developed by a team at the Wyss Institute can now be used by synthetic biologists to sense and interpret multiple signals in cells and logically instruct their ribosomes (stylized in blue and green) to produce different proteins. (credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University)

Synthetic biologists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and associates have developed a living programmable “ribocomputing” device based on networks of precisely designed, self-assembling synthetic RNAs (ribonucleic acid). The RNAs can sense multiple biosignals and make logical decisions to control protein production with high precision.

As reported in Nature, the synthetic biological circuits could be used to produce drugs, fine chemicals, and biofuels… read more

How to run faster, smarter AI apps on smartphones

July 24, 2017

(credit: iStock)

When you use smartphone AI apps like Siri, you’re dependent on the cloud for a lot of the processing — limited by your connection speed. But what if your smartphone could do more of the processing directly on your device — allowing for smarter, faster apps?

MIT scientists have taken a step in that direction with a new way to enable artificial-intelligence systems called convolutional neuralread more

Is anyone home? A way to find out if AI has become self-aware

It’s not easy, but a newly proposed test might be able to detect consciousness in a machine
July 21, 2017

(credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

By Susan Schneider, PhD, and Edwin Turner, PhD

Every moment of your waking life and whenever you dream, you have the distinct inner feeling of being “you.” When you see the warm hues of a sunrise, smell the aroma of morning coffee or mull over a new idea, you are having conscious experience. But could an artificial intelligence (AI) ever have experience, like some of the androids depicted… read more

Supersapiens, the Rise of the Mind

July 21, 2017

(credit: Markus Mooslechner)

In the new film Supersapiens, writer-director Markus Mooslechner raises a core question: As artificial intelligence rapidly blurs the boundaries between man and machine, are we witnessing the rise of a new human species?

“Humanity is facing a turning point — the next evolution of the human mind,” notes Mooslechner. “Will this evolution be a hybrid of man and machine, where artificial intelligence forces the emergence of a… read more

Alphabet’s X announces Glass Enterprise Edition, a hands-free device for hands-on workers

July 18, 2017

Glass Enterprise Edition, a hands-free device for hands-on workers, from Alphabet's X (credit: X)

Alphabet’s X announced today Glass Enterprise Edition (EE) — an augmented-reality device targeted mainly to hands-on workers.

Glass EE is an improved version of the “Explorer Edition” — an experimental 2013 corporate version of the original Glass product.

On January 2015, the Enterprise team in X quietly began shipping the Enterprise Edition to corporate solution partners like GE and DHL.

Now,… read more

Neural stem cells steered by electric fields can repair brain damage

July 17, 2017

Electrical stimulation of the brain to move neural stem cells (credit: Jun-Feng Feng et al./ Stem Cell Reports)

Electric fields can be used to guide transplanted human neural stem cells — cells that can develop into various brain tissues — to repair brain damage in specific areas of the brain, scientists at the University of California, Davis have discovered.

It’s well known that electric fields can locally guide wound healing. Damaged tissues generate weak electric fields, and research by UC Davis… read more

Drinking coffee associated with lower risk of death from all causes, study finds

July 17, 2017

(credit: iStock)

People who drink around three cups of coffee a day may live longer than non-coffee drinkers, a landmark study has found.

The findings — published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine — come from the largest study of its kind, in which scientists analyzed data from more than half a million people across 10 European countries to explore the effect of coffee consumption on risk of mortality.… read more

Projecting a visual image directly into the brain, bypassing the eyes

Allowing the blind to see or the paralyzed to feel touch
July 14, 2017

zebrafish brain tracking prey ft

Imagine replacing a damaged eye with a window directly into the brain — one that communicates with the visual part of the cerebral cortex by reading from a million individual neurons and simultaneously stimulating 1,000 of them with single-cell accuracy, allowing someone to see again.

That’s the goal of a $21.6 million DARPA award to the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), one of six organizations funded by DARPA’s… read more

How to turn audio clips into realistic lip-synced video

Is this the future of fake TV news?
July 12, 2017

A neural network first converts the sounds from an audio file into basic mouth shapes. Then the system grafts and blends those mouth shapes onto an existing target video and adjusts the timing to create a realistic, lip-synced video of the person delivering the new speech. (credit: University of Washington)

UW (University of Washington) | UW researchers create realistic video from audio files alone

University of Washington researchers at the UW Graphics and Image Laboratory have developed new algorithms that turn audio clips into a realistic, lip-synced video, starting with an existing video of  that person speaking on a different topic.

As detailed in a paper to be presented Aug. 2 at  read more

How to ‘talk’ to your computer or car with hand or body poses

July 10, 2017

Tracking multiple people ft

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have developed a system that can detect and understand body poses and movements of multiple people from a video in real time — including, for the first time, the pose of each individual’s fingers.

The ability to recognize finger or hand poses, for instance, will make it possible for people to interact with computers in new and more natural ways, such… read more

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