science + technology news

Software That Learns from Users

November 30, 2007

CALO (“cognitive assistant that learns and organizes”), a massive, four-year-old AI project to help computers understand the intentions of their human users, tries to assist users in three ways: by helping them manage information about key people and projects, by understanding and organizing information from meetings, and by learning and automating routine tasks.

The goal is to build an artificial intelligence that can serve as a personal assistant for… read more

Software That Opens Worlds to the Disabled

December 23, 2008

One computer program would allow vision-impaired shoppers to point their cellphones at supermarket shelves and hear descriptions of products and prices. Another would allow a physically disabled person to guide a computer mouse using brain waves and eye movements.

The two programs were among those created by eight groups of volunteers at a two-day software-writing competition this fall at the University of Southern California, named Project:Possibility.

Software That Organizes Intelligently

December 3, 2007

A soon-to-be-released product called Smart Desktop, from a division of Seattle-based company Pi Corporation, aims to help people sort that information automatically and intelligently, unifying the information into a single view.

Software to construct everything with LEGO pieces

October 7, 2013


Romain Testuz. a student of the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Geometrics (LGG) at EPFL, has developed software that automatically transforms a three-dimensional image into bricks and simplifies the challenge of construction by proposing a comprehensive plan of the parts to be used at each level.

To overcome structural weaknesses, Testuz used graph theory, representing each piece by a node and each connection by… read more

Software to discover new treatments

November 16, 2004

New treatments for patients could be found by a computer program that can “read” thousands of clinical papers in minutes. Use of this AI software has already resulted in a new treatment for heart disease based on an anti­psychotic drug.

Developed by scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the IRIDESCENT program uses data-mining techniques to discover potential new uses for existing therapies.

The… read more

Software to Look for Experts Among Your Friends

May 30, 2006

Tacit Software is preparing to introduce an online service, called Illumio, that will make it simple to pick the brains of friends and colleagues for opinions and expertise.

Software tracks proteins inside living cells

June 14, 2006

A computer system, called CellTracker, that automatically tracks the movements of proteins within a living cell has been developed by a team of Manchester University biologists and computer vision experts.

It could save researchers the hours often spent analyzing microscope images by hand to determine the way a cell works and allows for looking at live cells over time.

Software tricks people into thinking it is human

September 7, 2011

Cleverbot has passed the Turing test (or “come very close”), claims its developer, Rollo Carpenter. Cleverbot was voted 59.3 per cent human while humans themselves were rated just 63.3 per cent human at the Techniche festival in Guwahati, India.

As for whether Cleverbot has passed the test, “the claim raises lots of questions about the human participants; for example, had they ever interacted with a chatbot before?” says Huma… read more

Software upgrades to bionic eye enable color recognition, improve resolution, image focus, zooming

August 7, 2013


The first bionic eye to be approved for patients in the U.S. is getting software upgrades.

As KurzweilAI has reported, the FDA-approved Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System from Second Sight Medical Products transmits images from a small, eye-glass-mounted camera wirelessly to a microelectrode array implanted on a patient’s damaged retina.

The array sends electrical signals via the optic nerve, and the brain interprets a visual image.… read more

Soil Bacteria Might Increase Learning

May 26, 2010

Inhalation of mycobacterium vaccae, found in soil, temporarily doubled the speed of mice navigation of a maze.

Soil ‘ultra-bugs’ thrive on a diet of antibiotics

April 4, 2008

Harvard University researchers have found that some soil bacteria can survive on a diet of antibiotics.

They are concerned the bacteria might pass drug resistance to pathogenic relatives.

Soitec announces major U.S. solar power project

March 11, 2011

Soitec (Euronext Paris) has announced that its Concentrix concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology has been selected by Tenaska Solar Ventures to produce 150 megawatts (MW) of clean energy for San Diego Gas & Electric.

The new CPV solar power plant, named Imperial Solar Energy Center (ISEC) West, will be constructed on a 1057-acre site in Southern California’s western Imperial County, expected to be completed in 2015. To support the project,… read more

Solar achieves grid parity in India and Italy, others to follow in 2014

April 8, 2013

Solar panels

Analysts at Deutsche Bank have predicted that the global solar PV sector will transition from a subsidized market to a sustainable market within a year, citing the arrival of “grid parity” in a number of key markets, unexpectedly strong demand and rebounding margins, reports Renew Economy.

The Deutsche Bank team said key markets such as India, China and the U.S. are experiencing strong demand and solar… read more

Solar at grid parity in most of the world within 2 years

January 13, 2015

solar capacity adds ft

In their 2015 solar outlook, investment bank Deutsche Bank is predicting that solar systems will be at grid parity (when an alternative energy source cost is lower or equal to that of electricity from the electrical grid) in up to 80 per cent of the global market within 2 years, Renew Economy notes.

That’s because grid-based electricity prices are rising across the world… read more

Solar bursts could threaten Global Positioning System

April 5, 2007

The Global Positioning System may be threatened by powerful solar flares, a panel of scientists warned yesterday.

The cause for their concern, according to David L. Johnson, director of the National Weather Service, was an unexpected solar radio burst on Dec. 6 that affected virtually every GPS receiver on the lighted half of earth. Some receivers had a reduction in accuracy while others completely lost the ability to determine… read more

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