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Jul 31, 2021

Google AI Releases The Open Buildings Dataset, A New Open-Source Dataset Containing The Locations And Footprints Of >500M Buildings Across Africa

Posted by in categories: education, health, robotics/AI, satellites

Google uses artificial intelligence technology to find millions of buildings on the satellite map that were previously difficult to locate. These can now be used for humanitarian aid or other purposes. Google utilized its building detection model (Continental-Scale Building Detection from High Resolution Satellite Imagery) to create an Open Buildings dataset, containing locations and footprints of 516 million buildings with coverage across most African continent countries.

In this data set, there are millions of buildings that have not been discovered in the past. These newly-discovered building materials will help the outside world understand African populations and where they live, facilitating health care services such as education or vaccination to their communities.

Google’s team of developers built a training set for their building detection model by manually labeling 1.75 million buildings in 100k images to make the most accurate identification possible, even when dealing with rural or urban environments that have vastly different properties and features. The need to identify what kind of dwelling place is being captured was especially difficult during scoping missions in remote areas where natural landmarks were plentiful. At the same time, dense surroundings made it hard to differentiate between multiple structures on an aerial image at once.

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Jul 31, 2021

Facebook AI Open-Sources ‘Droidlet’, A Platform For Building Robots With Natural Language Processing And Computer Vision To Understand The World Around Them

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

Robots today have been programmed to vacuum the floor or perform a preset dance, but there is still much work to be done before they can achieve their full potential. This mainly has something to do with how robots are unable to recognize what is in their environment at a deep level and therefore cannot function properly without being told all of these details by humans. For instance, while it may seem like backup programming for when bumping into an object that would help prevent unwanted collisions from happening again, this idea isn’t actually based on understanding anything about chairs because the robot doesn’t know exactly what one is!

Facebook AI team just released Droidlet, a new platform that makes it easier for anyone to build their smart robot. It’s an open-source project explicitly designed with hobbyists and researchers in mind so you can quickly prototype your AI algorithms without having to spend countless hours coding everything from scratch.

Droidlet is a platform for building embodied agents capable of recognizing, reacting to, and navigating the world. It simplifies integrating all kinds of state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms in these systems so that users can prototype new ideas faster than ever before!

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Jul 31, 2021

Transformer Aircraft Folds Its Wings to Become a Multirotor Drone

Posted by in category: drones

We’ve seen various vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle designs in the past. From contraptions that feature no wings to air taxis with massive propellers, there are many options to choose from when it comes to VTOLs. But this new aircraft has something unique that allows it to fold its wings and turn into a multirotor drone.

Jul 31, 2021

Astronomers Show How “Tatooine” Planets Form in Binary Systems Without Getting Crushed

Posted by in categories: government, physics, space

Astronomers have developed the most realistic model to date of planet formation in binary star systems.

The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, have shown how exoplanets in binary star systems – such as the ‘Tatooine’ planets spotted by NASA

Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It’s vision is “To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.”

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Jul 31, 2021

Switching from Injection Molding to 3D Printing Cut Costs 95%

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, space

Mercury Systems speeds up PCB manufacturing by replacing a costly injection molded tools with in-house designed and 3D printed versions.

Jul 31, 2021

World’s first commercial re-programmable satellite blasts into space

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, satellites

The world’s first commercial fully re-programmable satellite lifted off from French Guiana on Friday on board an Ariane 5 rocket, ushering in a new era of more flexible communications.

Unlike conventional models that are designed and “hard-wired” on Earth and cannot be repurposed once in orbit, the Eutelsat Quantum allows users to tailor the communications to their needs—almost in .

The satellite will be placed in orbit some 36 minutes after the launch.

Jul 31, 2021

DeepMind AI predicts 350,000 protein structures

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, information science, robotics/AI

DeepMind CEO and co-founder. “We believe this work represents the most significant contribution AI has made to advancing the state of scientific knowledge to date. And I think it’s a great illustration and example of the kind of benefits AI can bring to society. We’re just so excited to see what the community is going to do with this.”

AlphaFold is an artificial intelligence (AI) program that uses deep learning to predict the 3D structure of proteins. Developed by DeepMind, a London-based subsidiary of Google, it made headlines in November 2020 when competing in the Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction (CASP). This worldwide challenge is held every two years by the scientific community and is the most well-known protein modelling benchmark. Participants must “blindly” predict the 3D structures of different proteins, and their computational methods are subsequently compared with real-world laboratory results.

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Jul 31, 2021

A Plant That ‘Cannot Die’ Reveals Its Genetic Secrets

Posted by in category: genetics

The longest-lived leaves in the plant kingdom can be found only in the harsh, hyperarid desert that crosses the boundary between southern Angola and northern Namibia. A desert is not, of course, the most hospitable place for living things to grow, let alone leafy greens, but the Namib Desert — the world’s oldest, with parts receiving less than 2 inches of precipitation a year — is where Welwitschia calls home. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times In Afrikaans, the plant is.

Jul 31, 2021

George Church on Gene Therapies and Longevity

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

“Balancing that, I clearly state that my goal is not longevity, not even modest longevity. It’s just reversal of diseases of aging, which really is classic medicine. Q: Which takes me to the next question: do we even know how to aim at life extension? I don’t think we do. I think if we get serious aging reversal, it’s something that we can continue to improve on, just like we improved on transportation from the first wheel to rocket ships,” I’ll be honest, I disagree as we have some improvement in humans indicated from TRIM and TAME and plasma filtering. Church’s work is very important though.

Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and one of the most prominent geroscientists, George Church works on gene therapies that can potentially reverse age-related diseases. We had the opportunity to interview this prolific researcher and entrepreneur, who is involved in dozens of startups on topics ranging from the current state of gene therapy to his recent attempt to auction off his genome, one of the first sequenced human genomes in the world, as an NFT.

What have been the successes and the failures of gene therapy in recent years? What do you expect to happen in the next few years?

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Jul 31, 2021

Stem Cell Scientists Explore the Latent Regenerative Potential of the Inner Ear

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

“Our study raises the possibility of using therapeutic drugs, gene editing, or other strategies to make epigenetic modifications that tap into the latent regenerative capacity of inner ear cells as a way to restore hearing,” said Segil. “Similar epigenetic modifications may also prove useful in other non-regenerating tissues, such as the retina, kidney, lung, and heart.”

Scientists from the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Neil Segil have identified a natural barrier to the regeneration of the inner ear’s sensory cells, which are lost in hearing and balance disorders. Overcoming this barrier may be a first step in returning inner ear cells to a newborn-like state that’s primed for regeneration, as described in a new study published in Developmental Cell.

“Permanent hearing loss affects more than 60 percent of the population that reaches retirement age,” said Segil, who is a Professor in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. “Our study suggests new gene engineering approaches that could be used to channel some of the same regenerative capability present in embryonic inner ear cells.”

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