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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

Radical new vertically integrated 3D chip design combines computing and data storage

Aims to process and store massive amounts of data at ultra-high speed in the future
July 7, 2017

3D nanosystem ft

A radical new 3D chip that combines computation and data storage in vertically stacked layers — allowing for processing and storing massive amounts of data at high speed in future transformative nanosystems — has been designed by researchers at Stanford University and MIT.

The new 3D-chip design* replaces silicon with carbon nanotubes (sheets of 2-D graphene formed into nanocylinders) and integrates resistive random-accessread more

Carbon nanotubes found safe for reconnecting damaged neurons

May offer future hope for patients with spinal-cord injury
July 5, 2017

(credit: Polina Shuvaeva/iStock)

Multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) could safely help repair damaged connections between neurons by serving as supporting scaffolds for growth or as connections between neurons.

That’s the conclusion of an in-vitro (lab) open-access study with cultured neurons (taken from the hippcampus of neonatal rats) by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists in Italy and Spain, published in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine.

The study… read more

Meditation, yoga, and tai chi can reverse damaging effects of stress, new study suggests

Even a two-minute brisk walk every half hour will work wonders
July 3, 2017

Tai chi (credit: iStock)

Mind-body interventions such as meditation, yoga*, and tai chi can reverse the molecular reactions in our DNA that cause ill-health and depression, according to a study by scientists at the universities of Coventry and Radboud.

When a person is exposed to a stressful event, their sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response) is triggered, which increases production of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB). That molecule… read more

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