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Victory for crowdsourced biomolecule design

January 23, 2012


Obsessive gamers’ hours at the computer have now topped scientists’ efforts to improve a model enzyme, in the first crowdsourced redesign of a protein.

The online game Foldit allows players to fiddle at folding proteins on their home computers in search of the best-scoring (lowest-energy) configurations.

By posing a series of puzzles to Foldit players and then testing variations on the players’ best designs in the… read more

Vicarious announces $15 million funding for AI software based on the brain

August 24, 2012


Vicarious FPC Inc, an artificial intelligence company that uses the computational principles of the brain to build software that can think and learn like a human, has announced a $15M Series A round of financing for development of machine learning software based on the computational principles of the human brain.

The research at Vicarious is expected to have broad implications for robotics, medical image analysis, image and video… read more

Vicarious AI breaks CAPTCHA ‘Turing test’

October 28, 2013

CAPTCHA - featured

Vicarious, a startup developing artificial intelligence software, today announced that its algorithms can now reliably solve modern CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Humans Apart).

Stanford University researchers have suggested that a CAPTCHA scheme (which are used by websites to verify that a visitor is human by asking them to transcribe a string of distorted letters) should be considered “broken” if an algorithm… read more

Vibration-powered Generators Replace AA, AAA Batteries

July 19, 2010

(Brother Industries Ltd.)

Brother Industries Ltd. has developed small vibration-powered generators that can replace AA and AAA batteries in devices that do not always consume electricity and have a power consumption of about 100mW (a maximum for a normal remote).

The battery-shaped case includes an electromagnetic induction generator and a 500mF double-layer capacitor. The average output of the AA-size generator is 10 to 180mW (frequency: 4-8Hz).

Vibrating touch screen puts Braille at the fingertips

April 1, 2009

A new way of presenting Braille characters on a mobile device could lead to a Braille-ready touchscreen phone.

University of Tampere in Finland and colleagues used a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, which has a piezoelectric material built into the touch screen that vibrates when an electric signal is applied to it. To generate characters, they installed software that represents a raised dot as a single pulse of intense vibration,… read more

Veteran’s new artificial leg has artificial intelligence

April 11, 2007

Ossur’s “Power Knee” prosthetic leg allows amputees to walk longer while experiencing less physical toll.

It uses sensors located on the artificial knee and on the insole of the other leg, which sends information about their position at high speed. Gyroscopes on the artificial knee and on the ankle also send information about the tilt of the limbs. All of this information flows to a microprocessor in the knee,… read more

Vestiges of Big Bang Waves Are Reported

January 12, 2005

Astronomers have seen, in the patterns of galaxies scattered across the night sky, the vestiges of sound waves that rumbled through the universe after the Big Bang.

Very Smart Cities

September 4, 2009

With the $35 billion Songdo city project in South Korea and Meixi Lake project in China, Gale International is creating model green cities of the future with an integrated network of utility, transportation, real estate and recreation systems.

Very Long-Term Backup

August 26, 2008

The Long Now Foundation has developed a modern Rosetta Stone — a backup of human languages that future generations might cherish — etched on a 3-inch nickel disc with an estimated lifespan of 2,000 to 10,000 years.

The disc contains an archive of 13,500 scanned pages in more than 1,500 human languages with human-readable scripts, text, and diagrams (using a microscope). The plan is to replicate the disc and… read more

Vertical farming in the big Apple

June 21, 2007

Columbia University scientists are proposing a new kind of skyscaper: the “vertical farm.”

Vernor Vinge is optimistic about the collapse of civilization

March 22, 2012

Noted author and futurist Vernor Vinge is surprisingly optimistic when it comes to the prospect of civilization collapsing.

“I think that [civilization] coming back would actually be a very big surprise,” he says in this week’s episode of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “The difference between us and us 10,000 years ago is … we know it can be done.”

But could humanity really claw its way back… read more

Verizon’s fiber race is on

July 20, 2004

Verizon Communications plans to debut a 30mbps broadband-over-fiber service called Fios to homes later this summer.

It will offer voice calls, video and broadband in competition with telephone and cable companies, initially in three cites.

A 2mbps to 5mbps Fios connection will cost $35 a month if purchased along with Verizon’s local and long-distance telephone service. A connection of up to 15mbps is available for $45 a month… read more

Verizon trumps Wi-Fi with 500 k/bits

January 9, 2004

Verizon is rolling out its “BroadbandAccess” (300 to 500 kbit/s, with with bursts of 2 Mbits/s) cell phone service nationwide this year.

Verizon promises its “iobi” service will offer features such as programmable call forwarding or voice mail showing up as email and much closer integration between landline, IP and cellular networks.

Verizon Goes Up & Down at 10 Gbps in Tests

October 27, 2010

Verizon said Tuesday it had conducted a successful trial of 10 gigabit per second connections on both the download side and on the upload side, pioneering a new technology called XG-PON to make such speeds happen.

Verizon is offering a platform that’s not only competitive to cable broadband for consumers, but will become a platform for innovation for businesses now operating in the “cloud.”

Venture for Sharing Wi-Fi Draws Big-Name Backers

February 6, 2006

A “global network of shared Wi-Fi connections” will allow users of Wi-Fi wireless technology to connect to the Internet at many physical locations, in contrast to the limited access available now.

The “Fon” network, backed by Google, Skype, and two venture-capital firms, is operating in Europe, and plans call for expanding it into the United States and other countries this year.

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