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Jun 6, 2016

Living circuits can handle complex computing

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, electronics

Gene-based circuits are about to get decidedly more sophisticated. MIT scientists have developed a method for integrating both analog and digital computing into those circuits, turning living cells into complex computers. The centerpiece is a threshold sensor whose gene expression flips DNA, converting analog chemical data into binary output — basically, complex data can trigger simple responses that match the language of regular computers.

The practical applications are huge. Along with general-purpose computing, you could have advanced sensors that trigger different kinds of chemical production depending on levels for other chemicals. You could produce insulin when there’s too much glucose, for instance, or deliver different kinds of cancer therapy. And this isn’t just talk. Clinical trials for a simple gene circuit (which will treat gut diseases) are starting within a year, so you could see these organic machines in action before too long.

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Jun 6, 2016

An ex-NASA chief has revealed a stealth startup that’s built “military-grade” Apple Siri voice recognition technology

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

A startup founded by a former top boss at NASA has emerged from so-called stealth mode with technology that claims to beat Apple, Google and Microsoft’s voice recognition technology.

Dan Goldin, who spent nearly all of the 1990s leading NASA, has revealed KnuEdge, a machine learning company that already boasts Fortune 500 clients and $100m in private funding despite its under the radar nature for the last decade.

“We are not about incremental technology. Our mission is fundamental transformation,” said Goldin.

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Jun 6, 2016

Chronic stroke patients safely recover after injection of human stem cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Injecting specially prepared human adult stem cells directly into the brains of chronic stroke patients proved safe and effective in restoring motor (muscle) function in a small clinical trial led by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators.

The 18 patients had suffered their first and only stroke between six months and three years before receiving the injections, which involved drilling a small hole through their skulls.

For most patients, at least a full year had passed since their stroke — well past the time when further recovery might be hoped for. In each case, the stroke had taken place beneath the brain’s outermost layer, or cortex, and had severely affected motor function. “Some patients couldn’t walk,” Steinberg said. “Others couldn’t move their arm.”

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Jun 5, 2016

Use Technology to Transcend Yourself

Posted by in category: futurism

This is truly inspiring stuff from Jason Silva.

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Jun 5, 2016

$700 Robot Can Fold Your Laundry in Less Than a Minute

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

San Francisco startup is set to release a robotic device that folds laundry it for you. Called FoldiMate, it uses sensors and ‘arms’ for professionally folded garments — and for $700 to $850.

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Jun 5, 2016

Scientists Create World’s First GMO Reverse Dalmatian

Posted by in category: futurism

UCSF scientists have successfully created the world’s first reverse Dalmatian.

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Jun 5, 2016

Russian hi-tech spy devices under attack over privacy fears

Posted by in categories: business, mobile phones, security

New Russian technologies, including phonecall interception and a facial recognition app, have stirred a fierce debate about privacy and data monitoring.

Infowatch, a Moscow-based IT security company managed by businesswoman Natalya Kasperskaya, found itself in hot water last month after it revealed it had invented a system that companies can use to intercept employees’ mobile phone conversations.

Companies outside Russia have also devised call interception software, and Infowatch already markets products that monitor employees’ e-mails, USB keys and printers.

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Jun 5, 2016

How bot-to-bot could soon replace APIs

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

By now it’s clear that bots will cause a major paradigm shift in customer service, e-commerce, and, quite frankly, all aspects of software-to-human interaction.

For the moment, the state of the art of bots is bot-to-consumer, meaning bots communicating with humans. But at some point soon, bots will start talking to other bots. Enter the bot-to-bot era.

Imagine that a bot — let’s call her Annie — needs to answer a question from a customer but lacks information from her own backend systems. Annie is powered with artificial intelligence and spontaneously decides to reach out to another bot to get the information she needs. Annie aggregates the information and delivers it back to the customer.

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Jun 5, 2016

The weird future: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos offer up extraordinary visions of the impact of technology

Posted by in categories: climatology, cyborgs, Elon Musk, neuroscience, robotics/AI, singularity, space travel

Musk concerns over Singularity/ cyborgs technology.

We are said to be headed towards a wired future. But that could equally be a weird future, going by what some tech entrepreneurs and artificial intelligence visionaries are saying about it. It’s going to get a lot weirder than self-driving smart cars. Elon Musk, who co-founded Paypal and started the Tesla electric car company – and thus has a track record of delivering on ambitious projects – also set up the SpaceX company, whose ultimate goal is to colonise Mars. He’s just announced, at this year’s Code Conference in Los Angeles, plans to send the first manned mission to Mars as early as 2024. Moreover cargo flights to Mars are also planned every two years, keeping in mind that a habitation on Mars will require regular supplies from earth.

Musk says he’s doing this to preserve humanity, since possibilities of a calamitous event that destroys human civilisation on earth – thanks to runaway advances in technology – are high. Perhaps we have a foretaste of this already when the Louvre museum packs up its treasures of human art and locks its doors due to floods in Paris, an event that has been linked to the pumping of greenhouse gases into the air that disrupt the earth’s climate. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos comes at the same issue from the opposite end. He says heavy industry is too polluting and will need to be relocated to outer space to preserve the earth.

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Jun 5, 2016

Actuators inspired by muscle

Posted by in categories: materials, robotics/AI

To make robots more cooperative and have them perform tasks in close proximity to humans, they must be softer and safer. A new actuator developed by Harvard researchers generates movements similar to those of skeletal muscles using vacuum power to automate soft, rubber beams.

Like real muscles, the actuators are soft, shock absorbing, and pose no danger to their environment or humans working collaboratively alongside them or the potential future robots equipped with them. The work was reported June 1 in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies.

The new actuators could pave the way for entirely soft-bodied robots that are safer than their conventional rigid counterparts.

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