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Astronomers discover potentially habitable planets just 40 light years from Earth

Best targets so far for search for extraterrestrial life
May 3, 2016

ultracool dwarf star-ft

Astronomers have detected three exoplanets just 40 light years from Earth whose sizes and temperatures are comparable to those of Earth. The planets may be the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system.

The results were published Monday (May 2) in the journal Nature.

Because the system is relatively close to Earth, co-author Julien de Wit, a postdoc at MIT, says scientists… read more

IBM makes quantum computing available free on IBM Cloud

You can run real or simulated experiments on an IBM quantum processor
May 3, 2016

Layout of IBM's five superconducting quantum bit device. In 2015, IBM scientists demonstrated critical breakthroughs to detect quantum errors by combining superconducting qubits in latticed arrangements, and whose quantum circuit design is the only physical architecture that can scale to larger dimensions. Now, IBM scientists have achieved a further advance by combining five qubits in the lattice architecture, which demonstrates a key operation known as a parity measurement – the basis of many quantum error correction protocols. (credit: IBM Research)

IBM Research has announced that effective Wednesday May 4, it is making quantum computing available free to members of the public, who can access and run experiments on IBM’s quantum processor, via the IBM Cloud, from any desktop or mobile device.

IBM believes quantum computing is the future of computing and has the potential to solve certain problems that are impossible to solve on today’s supercomputers.

The… read more

The world’s tiniest, most powerful nanoengine

Could lead to nanorobots small enough to enter living cells to fight disease
May 3, 2016

Expanding polymer-coated gold nanoparticles (credit: Yi Ju/University of Cambridge NanoPhotonics)

University of Cambridge researchers have developed the world’s tiniest engine, capable of a force per unit-weight nearly 100 times higher* than any motor or muscle.

The new nano-engines could lead to nanorobots small enough to enter living cells to fight disease, the researchers say.

Professor Jeremy Baumberg from the Cavendish Laboratory, who led the research, has named the devices “actuating nanotransducers” (ANTs). “Like real ants, they produce large… read more

Harold Cohen: in memoriam

Artist and pioneer in the field of computer-generated art
May 2, 2016

By Paul Cohen

Harold Cohen, artist and pioneer in the field of computer-generated art, died on April 27, 2016 at the age of 87. Cohen is the author of AARON, perhaps the longest-lived and certainly the most creative artificial intelligence program in daily use.

Cohen viewed AARON as his collaborator. At times during their decades-long relationship, AARON was quite autonomous, responsible for the composition, coloring and other aspects… read more

Skull echoes could become the new passwords for augmented-reality glasses

May 2, 2016

SkullConduct ft

German researchers have developed a biometric system called SkullConduct that uses bone conduction of sound through the user’s skull for secure user identification and authentication on augmented-reality glasses, such as Google Glass, Meta 2, and HoloLens.

SkullConduct uses the microphone already built into many of these devices and adds electronics (such as a chip) to analyze the frequency response of sound after it travels through the user’s skull. The… read more

Deep neural networks that identify shapes nearly as well as humans

You're in your self-driving car, with heavy rain and poor visibility. All of a sudden, a blurred shape appears on the road. What should the car do?
April 29, 2016

(credit: Google)

Deep neural networks (DNNs) are capable of learning to identify shapes, so “we’re on the right track in developing machines with a visual system and vocabulary as flexible and versatile as ours,” say KU Leuven researchers.

“For the first time, a dramatic increase in performance has been observed on object and scene categorization tasks, quickly reaching performance levels rivaling humans,” they note in an open-access paper in… read more

Scientists turn skin cells into heart and brain cells using only drugs — no stem cells required

Closer to the natural regeneration that happens in animals like newts and salamanders and no medical-safety and embryo concerns
April 29, 2016

Neurons created from chemically-induced neural stem cells. The cells were created from skin cells that were reprogrammed into neural stem cells using a cocktail of only nine chemicals. This is the first time cellular reprogramming has been accomplished without adding external genes to the cells. (credit: Mingliang Zhang, PhD, Gladstone Institutes)

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have used chemicals to transform skin cells into heart cells and brain cells, instead of adding external genes — making this accomplishment a breakthrough, according to the scientists.

The research lays the groundwork for one day being able to regenerate lost or damaged cells directly with pharmaceutical drugs — a more efficient and reliable method to reprogram cells and one that avoids medical concerns… read more

Ultrasound allows for transmitting HD video through animal tissues

Imagine a miniature remote-controlled HD video camera that streams live video from a patient's intestines to a physician
April 27, 2016

Beef liver and pork loin were used to represent the density and moisture content found in human tissue (credit: UIUC)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign engineers have demonstrated real-time video-rate (>30Mbps) “meat comm” data transmission through tissue, which could mean in-body ultrasonic communications may be possible for implanted medical devices, including hi-def video.

For example, a patient could swallow a miniaturized HD video camera that could stream live to an external screen, with the orientation of the device controlled wirelessly and externally by a physician, according to Andrewread more

Just 1 minute of intense exercise produces health benefits similar to 50 minutes of moderate exercise

No time to exercise? Now you have no excuse.
April 27, 2016

fast bike ft

Researchers at McMaster University have found that a single minute of very intense exercise within a 10-minute session produces health benefits similar to those from 50 minutes of moderate-intensity continuous exercise.

Brief bursts of intense exercise are remarkably effective, a very time-efficient workout strategy, according to Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and lead author on the study, published online in an open-access paper in the… read more

Public beta of toolkit for developing machine learning for robots and games released

April 27, 2016

Make a three-dimensional bipedal robot walk forward as fast as possible, without falling over (credit: OpenAI Gym)

OpenAI (a non-profit AI research company sponsored by Elon Musk and others) has released the public beta of OpenAI Gym, a toolkit for developing and comparing algorithms for reinforcement learning (RL), a type of machine learning.

OpenAI Gym consists of a growing suite of environments (from simulated robots to Atari games), and a site for comparing and reproducing results. OpenAI Gym is compatible with algorithms written in any… read more

Artificial protein controls first self-assembly of C60 fullerenes

New discovery expected to lead to new materials with properties such as higher strength, lighter weight, and greater chemical reactivity, resulting in applications ranging from medicine to energy and electronics
April 26, 2016

Gevorg Grigoryan, an assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth College, and his collaborators have created an artificial protein that self-organizes into a new material -- an atomically periodic lattice of buckminster fullerene molecules, or buckyball, a sphere-like molecule composed of 60 carbon atoms shaped like a soccer ball. (credit: St Stev via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND)

A Dartmouth College scientist and his collaborators* have created the first high-resolution co-assembly between a protein and buckminsterfullerene (C60), aka fullerene and buckyball (a sphere-like molecule composed of 60 carbon atoms and shaped like a soccer ball).

“This is a proof-of-principle study demonstrating that proteins can be used as effective vehicles for organizing nanomaterials by design,” says senior author Gevorg Grigoryan, an assistant professor of computer… read more

Do you trust robots?

What's missing is human-factors studies, say MIT Professor Emeritus Thomas B. Sheridan
April 26, 2016

Baxter & programmer ft

Trust in robots is a critical component in safety that requires study, says MIT Professor Emeritus Thomas B. Sheridan in an open-access study published in Human Factors journal.

For decades, he has studied humans and automation and in each case, he noted significant human factors challenges — particularly concerning safety. He looked at self-driving cars and highly automated transit systems; routine tasks such as the delivery of packages… read more

Micro-needle insertion into hippocampus stimulates brain regeneration in animal model of AD

Also improved performance on memory task and reduced beta-amyloid plaques (a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease)
April 25, 2016

micro-needel insertion in hippocampus ft

Sticking a needle into the hippocampus of mice modeled with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) improved performance on memory tasks, stimulated regenerative activity, and reduced β-amyloid plaques (a hallmark of AD). This area was chosen because the early and primary damage by AD appears to take place in the hippocampus.

Until recently, many diseases of the central nervous system could not be treated by this method because of inaccessibility of the… read more

System predicts 85 percent of cyber attacks using input from human experts

Merging human and machine intelligence reduces false positives by factor of 5
April 25, 2016

ai2-ft

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the machine-learning startup PatternEx have developed an AI platform called AI2 that predicts cyber-attacks significantly better than existing systems by continuously incorporating input from human experts (AI2 refers to merging AI with “analyst intuition”:  rules created by living experts).

The team showed that AI2 can detect 85 percent of attacks —about three times better than previous benchmarks —… read more

Machine learning rivals human skills in cancer detection

April 22, 2016

Samsung Medison RS80A ultrasound system (credit: Samsung)

Two announcements yesterday (April 21) suggest that deep learning algorithms rival human skills in detecting cancer from ultrasound images and in identifying cancer in pathology reports.

Samsung Medison, a global medical equipment company and an affiliate of Samsung Electronics, has just updated its RS80A ultrasound imaging system with a deep learning algorithm for breast-lesion analysis.

The “S-Detect for Breast” feature uses big data collected… read more

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