Archive for the ‘food’ category

Apr 17, 2018

What Will the Automated City of the Future Look Like?

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

Many large cities (Seoul, Tokyo, Shenzhen, Singapore, Dubai, London, San Francisco) serve as test beds for autonomous vehicle trials in a competitive race to develop “self-driving” cars. Automated ports and warehouses are also increasingly automated and robotized. Testing of delivery robots and drones is gathering pace beyond the warehouse gates. Automated control systems are monitoring, regulating and optimizing traffic flows. Automated vertical farms are innovating production of food in “non-agricultural” urban areas around the world. New mobile health technologies carry promise of healthcare “beyond the hospital.” Social robots in many guises – from police officers to restaurant waiters – are appearing in urban public and commercial spaces.

Tokyo, Singapore and Dubai are becoming prototype ‘robot cities,’ as governments start to see automation as the key to urban living.

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Apr 16, 2018

Scientists engineer plastic-eating enzyme that could help fight pollution

Posted by in category: food

Researchers have improved a naturally-occurring enzyme to enhance its plastic-eating abilities. The modified enzyme, which can digest strong plastic used in bottles, could help in the fight against pollution.

Researchers in the US and Britain have engineered a plastic-eating enzyme to speed up its abilities to digest plastic.

Scientists from Britain’s University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory “tweaked” the structure of the naturally-occurring enzyme after they found that it was helping a bacteria to break down, or digest, plastic used to make bottles.

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Apr 15, 2018

Towards a Posthuman Life

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, food


When we speak of posthumanism we refer to the expansion of the “natural” faculties of the human being, and more concretely to the fusion between meat and digital technology …

According to Wikipedia a cyborg is an “organism that has restored function or enhanced abilities due to the integration of some artificial component or technology that relies on some sort of feedback”. For the essential author Donna Haraway “the cyborg is a figure born from the interface between the automaton and autonomy”. As blogger and author Plácida Ye-Yé explains for Haraway “the cyborg is at the same time what we are –carnality- and what we can be –future cyborg, emancipatory possibilities-” therefore “if our future depends on thinking differently, the cyborg offers us a transitory ontology for the present, an imagery that recognizes the process of constant redefinition that is going to suppose take on the new era”. Evidently this theories affect a large number of topics: technology, epistemology, politics, science, art, or feminism.

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Apr 14, 2018

Step into a fully robotic kitchen

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

Fully robotic kitchens may become our chefs.

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Apr 14, 2018

Crispr’d Food, Coming Soon to a Supermarket Near You

Posted by in categories: food, genetics

This week the USDA announced it has no plans to regulate gene-editing technologies like Crispr, opening the door to a boom in designer foods.

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Apr 12, 2018

Scientists Create Beautiful Iridescent Material That Could Be Edible

Posted by in categories: food, physics

What makes something red, or blue, or green? It’s all in the way light bounces off its surface. Something that primarily reflects light with shorter wavelengths will appear bluer, while something that reflects longer wavelengths will appear redder. By playing around with that principle, scientists have created a material that, much like soap bubbles and certain insect wings, displays a gorgeous iridescence—a shifting rainbow of colors they can tweak with the same surface.

Even more interestingly, the researchers made this material from common cellulose, the simple stuff that makes up paper and which can be extracted from wood, cotton, or other renewable sources. We’ve already mentioned scientists arranging cellulose fibers in a way that makes them appear incredibly white. But now instead of laying fibers, a team of physicists are molding cellulose films with tiny, regularly spaced impressions (like an upside-down Lego piece).

The outcome was a thin, single-centimeter iridescent film that reflects light based on the spacing of the dots, according to the paper published recently in Nature Photonics.

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Apr 9, 2018

What 40 Years of Research Reveals About the Difference Between Disruptive and Radical Innovation

Posted by in categories: economics, finance, food, information science, robotics/AI

“If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up this morning as a software and analytics company.” Jeff Immelt, former CEO of General Electric

The second wave of digitization is set to disrupt all spheres of economic life. As venture capital investor Marc Andreesen pointed out, “software is eating the world.” Yet, despite the unprecedented scope and momentum of digitization, many decision makers remain unsure how to cope, and turn to scholars for guidance on how to approach disruption.

The first thing they should know is that not all technological change is “disruptive.” It’s important to distinguish between different types of innovation, and the responses they require by firms. In a recent publication in the Journal of Product Innovation, we undertook a systematic review of 40 years (1975 to 2016) of innovation research. Using a natural language processing approach, we analyzed and organized 1,078 articles published on the topics of disruptive, architectural, breakthrough, competence-destroying, discontinuous, and radical innovation. We used a topic-modeling algorithm that attempts to determine the topics in a set of text documents. We quantitatively compared different models, which led us to select the model that best described the underlying text data. This model clustered text into 84 distinct topics. It performs best at explaining the variability of the data in assigning words to topics and topics to documents, minimizing noise in the data.

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Apr 8, 2018

Counting down the 10 most important robots in history

Posted by in categories: food, habitats, robotics/AI, sustainability

From research labs to factories, farms, and even our own homes, robots are everywhere these days. But which are the most important robots ever built? We decided to welcome our new robot overlords with just such a list. Read on to discover which robots we owe a debt of a gratitude for their part in turning science fiction into, well, science.

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Apr 8, 2018

Goodbye Anthropocene hello Alexacene. The future of humankind and the planet

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

You heard about the Anthropocene, a new geological era when what happens to the planet is determined by the activities of the human species. The Anthropocene started with agriculture 12,000 years ago or with the industrial revolution in the 1800s according to different opinions.

I propose that the Anthropocene will be over by the end of this century as what will happen to Earth is determined not by humans but by artificial intelligence (AI).

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Apr 7, 2018

Researchers developing renewable energy approach for producing ammonia

Posted by in categories: energy, food, sustainability

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame are developing a renewable energy approach for synthesizing ammonia, an essential component of fertilizers that support the world’s food production needs. The Haber-Bosch process developed in the early 1900s for producing ammonia relies on non-renewable fossil fuels and has limited applications for only large, centralized chemical plants.

The new process, published in Nature Catalysis, utilizes a plasma—an ionized gas—in combination with non-noble metal catalysts to generate at much milder conditions than is possible with Haber-Bosch. The energy in the plasma excites nitrogen molecules, one of the two components that go into making ammonia, allowing them to react more readily on the catalysts. Because the energy for the reaction comes from the plasma rather than high heat and intense pressure, the process can be carried out at small scale. This makes the new process well-suited for use with intermittent renewable sources and for distributed .

“Plasmas have been considered by many as a way to make ammonia that is not dependent on fossil fuels and had the potential to be applied in a less centralized way,” said William Schneider, H. Clifford and Evelyn A. Brosey Professor of Engineering, affiliated member of ND Energy and co-author of the study. “The real challenge has been to find the right combination of plasma and . By combining molecular models with results in the laboratory, we were able to focus in on combinations that had never been considered before.”

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