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Archive for the ‘biological’ category: Page 2

Oct 10, 2021

Neuroscientists roll out first comprehensive atlas of brain cells

Posted by in categories: biological, health, robotics/AI

A slew of new studies now shows that the area of the brain responsible for initiating this action — the primary motor cortex, which controls movement — has as many as 116 different types of cells that work together to make this happen.

The 17 studies, appearing online Oct. 6 in the journal Nature, are the result of five years of work by a huge consortium of researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative to identify the myriad of different cell types in one portion of the brain. It is the first step in a long-term project to generate an atlas of the entire brain to help understand how the neural networks in our head control our body and mind and how they are disrupted in cases of mental and physical problems.

“If you think of the brain as an extremely complex machine, how could we understand it without first breaking it down and knowing the parts?” asked cellular neuroscientist Helen Bateup, a University of California, Berkeley, associate professor of molecular and cell biology and co-author of the flagship paper that synthesizes the results of the other papers. “The first page of any manual of how the brain works should read: Here are all the cellular components, this is how many of them there are, here is where they are located and who they connect to.”

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Oct 9, 2021

A rare feat: Material protects against both biological and chemical threats

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, chemistry, military

A Northwestern University research team has developed a versatile composite fabric that can deactivate both biological threats, such as the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and chemical threats, such as those used in chemical warfare. A material that is effective against both classes of threats is rare.

The material also is reusable. It can be restored to its original state after the fabric has been exposed to threats by a simple bleach treatment. The promising fabric could be used in and other protective clothing.

“Having a bifunctional material that has the ability to deactivate both and biological toxic agents is crucial since the complexity to integrate multiple materials to do the job is high,” said Northwestern’s Omar Farha, an expert in , or MOFs, which is the basis for the technology.

Oct 5, 2021

A framework to enhance deep learning using first-spike times

Posted by in categories: biological, robotics/AI

Researchers at Heidelberg University and University of Bern have recently devised a technique to achieve fast and energy-efficient computing using spiking neuromorphic substrates. This strategy, introduced in a paper published in Nature Machine Intelligence, is a rigorous adaptation of a time-to-first-spike (TTFS) coding scheme, together with a corresponding learning rule implemented on certain networks of artificial neurons. TTFS is a time-coding approach, in which the activity of neurons is inversely proportional to their firing delay.

“A few years ago, I started my Master’s thesis in the Electronic Vision(s) group in Heidelberg,” Julian Goeltz, one of the leading researchers working on the study, told TechXplore. “The neuromorphic BrainScaleS system developed there promised to be an intriguing substrate for brain-like computation, given how its neuron and synapse circuits mimic the dynamics of neurons and synapses in the brain.”

When Goeltz started studying in Heidelberg, deep-learning models for spiking networks were still relatively unexplored and existing approaches did not use spike-based communication between neurons very effectively. In 2,017 Hesham Mostafa, a researcher at University of California—San Diego, introduced the idea that the timing of individual neuronal spikes could be used for information processing. However, the neuronal dynamics he outlined in his paper were still quite different from biological ones and thus were not applicable to brain-inspired neuromorphic hardware.

Oct 5, 2021

The Coming Age for Tech x Bio: The ‘Industrial Bio Complex’

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, food, health, robotics/AI

Driving this revolution has been a new breed and wave of founders and startups that merge the worlds of technology and bio — importantly, not just the old world of biotech (or a narrow definition of tech in bio as only “digital health”), but something much broader, bigger, and blending both worlds. In short, biology — enabled by technology — is eating the world. This has not only changed how we diagnose, treat, and manage disease, but has been changing the way we access, pay for, and deliver care in the healthcare system. It is now entering into manufacturing, food, and several other industries as well. Bio is becoming a part of everything.

This new era of industrialized bio — enabled by AI as well as an ongoing, foundational shift in biology from empirical science to more engineered approaches — will be the next industrial revolution in human history. And propelling it forward is an enormous new driving force, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, its ever-evolving strains, and the resulting COVID-19 disease pandemic and response — which I believe is analogous to our generation’s World War II (WW2). In other words: a massive global upheaval, but that later led to unprecedented innovation and significant new players.

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Oct 4, 2021

AlphaFold Is The Most Important Achievement In AI —Ever

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, robotics/AI

It can be difficult to distinguish between substance and hype in the field of artificial intelligence. In order to stay grounded, it is important to step back from time to time and ask a simple question: what has AI actually accomplished or enabled that makes a difference in the real world?

This summer, DeepMind delivered the strongest answer yet to that question in the decades-long history of AI research: AlphaFold, a software platform that will revolutionize our understanding of biology.

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Oct 3, 2021

Could Autonomous Robots Be More Dangerous than Nukes?

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, law, military, policy, robotics/AI

Without a new legal framework, they could destabilize societal norms.


Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

Autonomous weapon systems are robots with lethal weapons that can operate independently, selecting and attacking targets without a human weighing in on those decisions. Militaries around the world are investing heavily in autonomous weapons research and development. The U.S. alone budgeted US$18 billion for autonomous weapons between 2016 and 2020.

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Oct 2, 2021

The Convergence of the Digital With the Physical and the Biological

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, biological

Moving beyond the digital revolution, librarians are now confronting the Fourth Industrial Revolution, thinks Bohyun Kim. She sees the lines between the physical, the digital, and the biological spheres becoming blurred. Implications regarding virtual, augmented, and mixed reality will affect the future of libraries.

Oct 1, 2021

New Research Exposes the Biological Basis of Empathy

Posted by in categories: biological, neuroscience

Summary: The brain’s reward system plays a key role in helping behaviors and empathy.

Source: Tel Aviv University.

Are mammals at all able to demonstrate empathy for one another, engage in pro-social behavior, and help others in distress? New research from the Tel Aviv University examined the issue based on an animal model (rats) and found that just as with humans, rats are also split into various groups with different indicators, to the point that they only come to the aid of members of their group but do not help rats from other groups.

Sep 30, 2021

No Shame In Wanting To Look Younger — It Is Natural And You Might As Well Live Longer

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution, life extension

Like many other living organisms, humans are born, survive, compete for resources, reach maturity, reproduce, take care of their young, sometimes the young of their young, continuously decline, and die. Evolution needs us for just two purposes – adapt and reproduce. But, unlike other species, humans are very conscious of their fate. Humans are very much aware that after reaching peak performance they will eventually grow old and die. We are very conscious of our fate after reaching peak performance – loss of function, frailty, and eventual loss of everything we worked so hard to earn.

We observe our parents, and other elderly around them, attend funerals, and understand that eventually we will get into this state. We are also very contempt with that fate as evolution made sure that. The more ambitious of us are trying to advance science, the rest seek refuge in religion, some in philosophy, some in accumulation of wealth, and some see the continuation of ourselves in our children. But despite the many technological advances transpiring in the laboratories all over the world, there is nothing we can do at this point to escape aging. There are diets, exercises, sleep, and supplements, but these provide very marginal benefits. We do not see 120+ old yoga and diet practitioners or marathon runners around. But these simple habits do help look younger longer. And many people that have very harmful habits like smoking but still diet and exercise to look younger.

Sep 29, 2021

An autonomous robot may have already killed people — here’s how the weapons could be more destabilizing than nukes

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, military, policy, robotics/AI

Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

Autonomous weapon systems are robots with lethal weapons that can operate independently, selecting and attacking targets without a human weighing in on those decisions. Militaries around the world are investing heavily in autonomous weapons research and development. The U.S. alone budgeted US$18 billion for autonomous weapons between 2016 and 2020.

Meanwhile, human rights and humanitarian organizations are racing to establish regulations and prohibitions on such weapons development. Without such checks, foreign policy experts warn that disruptive autonomous weapons technologies will dangerously destabilize current nuclear strategies, both because they could radically change perceptions of strategic dominance, increasing the risk of preemptive attacks, and because they could become combined with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons themselves.

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