Blog

Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Apr 20, 2017

What if you could type directly from your brain at 100 words per minute?

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, neuroscience

(credit: Facebook)

Regina Dugan, PhD, Facebook VP of Engineering, Building8, revealed today (April 19, 2017) at Facebook F8 conference 2017 a plan to develop a non-invasive brain-computer interface that will let you type at 100 wpm — by decoding neural activity devoted to speech.

Dugan previously headed Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group, and before that, was Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Continue reading “What if you could type directly from your brain at 100 words per minute?” »

Apr 18, 2017

‘Space Fabric’ Links Fashion and Engineering

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, engineering, space

3D printing is inspiring new materials at JPL.

Read more

Apr 14, 2017

Entrance to Mars: How this fascinating Dome-Space-Elevator grows in all directions

Posted by in categories: engineering, environmental, space, sustainability

Architecture has evolved and has become much more than just a design realized in concrete and modern building material. It has been transformed to help humanity in achieving all kinds of sustainability.

The eVolo Magazine for Architecture has been organizing another round of Skyscraper Competition in 2017 to honor those visionaries that try to realize a future that benefits humanity and the one Earth we all need to cherish and sustain.

A team from Spain with aspiring architects Arturo Emilio Garrido Ontiveros, Andrés Pastrana Bonillo, Judit Pinach Martí and Alex Tintea is thinking of a hybrid solution, that ensures Humanity’s survival in the early days of Mars’ colonization. The skyscraper design is both clever and beautiful, combining existing technologies with many practical ideas to open up and terraform more red soil as we understand the planet. It’s a genesis of Mars and a revival of form following function.

Continue reading “Entrance to Mars: How this fascinating Dome-Space-Elevator grows in all directions” »

Apr 10, 2017

Audio engineering is making call center robots more ‘human’ and less annoying

Posted by in categories: business, engineering, information science, media & arts, robotics/AI

Audio engineering can make computerized customer support lines seem friendlier and more helpful.

Say you’re on the phone with a company and the automated virtual assistant needs a few seconds to “look up” your information. And then you hear it. The sound is unmistakable. It’s familiar. It’s the clickity-clack of a keyboard. You know it’s just a sound effect, but unlike hold music or a stream of company information, it’s not annoying. In fact, it’s kind of comforting.

Michael Norton and Ryan Buell of the Harvard Business School studied this idea —that customers appreciate knowing that work is being done on their behalf, even when the only “person” “working” is an algorithm. They call it the labor illusion.

Continue reading “Audio engineering is making call center robots more ‘human’ and less annoying” »

Apr 7, 2017

Disaster Assistance Handbook | Third Edition, March 2017 | The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Posted by in categories: architecture, engineering, environmental, governance

“This handbook will:

  • help architects better understand their role and how to prepare for and respond to disasters
  • prepare AIA Component staff to engage and coordinate their architect members and provide community discourse and assistance
  • explain how built environment professionals can work with architects and the community on disaster response and preparedness efforts
  • inform municipal governments of the unique ways architects assist the public and their clients in mitigating, responding to and recovering from disasters”

Read more

Apr 6, 2017

New partnership set to transform the engineering of biology

Posted by in categories: biological, engineering

News from Cambridge businesses. Network members upload news here about their products, services and achievements.

Read more

Apr 6, 2017

The Nonparametric Intuition: Superintelligence and Design Methodology

Posted by in categories: engineering, machine learning

I will admit that I have been distracted from both popular discussion and the academic work on the risks of emergent superintelligence. However, in the spirit of an essay, let me offer some uninformed thoughts on a question involving such superintelligence based on my experience thinking about a different area. Hopefully, despite my ignorance, this experience will offer something new or at least explain one approach in a new way.

The question about superintelligence I wish to address is the “paperclip universe” problem. Suppose that an industrial program, aimed with the goal of maximizing the number of paperclips, is otherwise equipped with a general intelligence program as to tackle with this objective in the most creative ways, as well as internet connectivity and text information processing facilities so that it can discover other mechanisms. There is then the possibility that the program does not take its current resources as appropriate constraints, but becomes interested in manipulating people and directing devices to cause paperclips to be manufactured without consequence for any other objective, leading in the worse case to widespread destruction but a large number of surviving paperclips.

This would clearly be a disaster. The common response is to take as a consequence that when we specify goals to programs, we should be much more careful about specifying what those goals are. However, we might find it difficult to formulate a set of goals that don’t admit some kind of loophole or paradox that, if pursued with mechanical single-mindedness, are either similarly narrowly destructive or self-defeating.

Suppose that, instead of trying to formulate a set of foolproof goals, we should find a way to admit to the program that the set of goals we’ve described is not comprehensive. We should aim for the capacity to add new goals with a procedural understanding that the list may never be complete. If done well, we would have a system that would couple this initial set of goals to the set of resources, operations, consequences, and stakeholders initially provided to it, with an understanding that those goals are only appropriate to the initial list and finding new potential means requires developing a richer understanding of potential ends.

Continue reading “The Nonparametric Intuition: Superintelligence and Design Methodology” »

Apr 5, 2017

Where is Deep Learning Being Applied? More from RE•WORK Global Summits

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, engineering, finance, robotics/AI

Deep learning owes its rising popularity to its vast applications across an increasing number of fields. From healthcare to finance, automation to e-commerce, the RE•WORK Deep Learning Summit (27−28 April) will showcase the deep learning landscape and its impact on business and society.

Of notable interest is speaker Jeffrey De Fauw, Research Engineer at DeepMind. Prior to joining DeepMind, De Fauw developed a deep learning model to detect Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) in fundus images, which he will be presenting at the Summit. DR is a leading cause of blindness in the developed world and diagnosing it is a time-consuming process. De Fauw’s model was designed to reduce diagnostics time and to accurately identify patients at risk, to help them receive treatment as early as possible.

Joining De Fauw will be Brian Cheung, A PhD student from UC Berkeley, and currently working at Google Brain. At the event, he will explain how neural network models are able to extract relevant features from data with minimal feature engineering. Applied in the study of physiology, his research aims to use a retinal lattice model to examine retinal images.

Read more

Apr 4, 2017

Tiny fibers open new windows into the brain

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, neuroscience

For the first time ever, a single flexible fiber no bigger than a human hair has successfully delivered a combination of optical, electrical, and chemical signals back and forth into the brain, putting into practice an idea first proposed two years ago. With some tweaking to further improve its biocompatibility, the new approach could provide a dramatically improved way to learn about the functions and interconnections of different brain regions.

The new fibers were developed through a collaboration among material scientists, chemists, biologists, and other specialists. The results are reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience, in a paper by Seongjun Park, an MIT graduate student; Polina Anikeeva, the Class of 1942 Career Development Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Yoel Fink, a professor in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Gloria Choi, the Samuel A. Goldblith Career Development Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and 10 others at MIT and elsewhere.

The fibers are designed to mimic the softness and flexibility of brain tissue. This could make it possible to leave implants in place and have them retain their functions over much longer periods than is currently possible with typical stiff, metallic fibers, thus enabling much more extensive data collection. For example, in tests with lab mice, the researchers were able to inject viral vectors that carried genes called opsins, which sensitize neurons to light, through one of two fluid channels in the fiber. They waited for the opsins to take effect, then sent a pulse of light through the optical waveguide in the center, and recorded the resulting neuronal activity, using six electrodes to pinpoint specific reactions. All of this was done through a single flexible fiber just 200 micrometers across — comparable to the width of a human hair.

Continue reading “Tiny fibers open new windows into the brain” »

Apr 4, 2017

Understanding the limits of deep learning

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, engineering, information science, internet, robotics/AI

Artificial intelligence has reached peak hype. News outlets report that companies have replaced workers with IBM Watson and that algorithms are beating doctors at diagnoses. New AI startups pop up everyday, claiming to solve all your personal and business problems with machine learning.

Ordinary objects like juicers and Wi-Fi routers suddenly advertise themselves as “powered by AI.” Not only can smart standing desks remember your height settings, they can also order you lunch.

Much of the AI hubbub is generated by reporters who’ve never trained a neural network and by startups or those hoping to be acqui-hired for engineering talent despite not having solved any real business problems. No wonder there are so many misconceptions about what AI can and cannot do.

Continue reading “Understanding the limits of deep learning” »

Page 1 of 6512345678Last