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May 19, 2020

Researchers tap CRISPR technology to connect biology, electronics

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, robotics/AI, surveillance, wearables

In an effort to create first-of-kind microelectronic devices that connect with biological systems, University of Maryland (UMD) researchers are utilizing CRISPR technology in a novel way to electronically turn “on” and “off” several genes simultaneously. Their technique, published in Nature Communications, has the potential to further bridge the gap between the electronic and biological worlds, paving the way for new wearable and “smart” devices.

“Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, we now have an even deeper understanding of how ‘smart’ devices could benefit the general population,” said William E. Bentley, professor in UMD’s Fischell Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR), and director of the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices. “Imagine what the world would be like if we could wear a device and access an app on our smartphone capable of detecting whether the wearer has the active virus, generated immunity, or has not been infected. We don’t have this yet, but it is increasingly clear that a suite of technologies enabling rapid transfer of information between biology and electronics is needed to make this a reality.”

With such a , this information could be used, for example, to dynamically and autonomously conduct effective contact tracing, Bentley said.

May 19, 2020

Colonizing Mars may require humanity to tweak its DNA

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Genetic enhancement could allow humanity to push surprisingly far out into the final frontier.

Colonizing Mars may require humanity to tweak its DNA :

May 19, 2020

Austria Has 90% Drop in Coronavirus Cases After Requiring People to Wear Face Masks

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

“The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Austria dropped from 90 to 10 cases per one million people, two weeks after the government required everyone to wear a face mask on April 6.”

Austria managed to slow down the rate of coronavirus cases in the country by 90% after requiring everyone to wear a face mask. Meanwhile, other countries are struggling to keep the number of cases and fatalities low.

May 19, 2020

Galactic cosmic rays now available for study on Earth, thanks to NASA

Posted by in categories: biological, health, particle physics, space

Every once in a while I have a contentious discussion with someone about traveling to Mars, and the risks involved. One of the hardest risks to describe is the threat from galactic cosmic rays. Here is a short article about a new facility investigating the effects of galactic cosmic rays.

The very important point here is that we are not discussing electromagnetic radiation. These ions have been shown to sometimes penetrate spacecraft and inflict damage on astronauts brains. Earthlings do not have to worry about these as much because we have a magnetosphere that shields us from ions.

To better understand and mitigate the health risks faced by astronauts from exposure to space radiation, we ideally need to be able to test the effects of Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) here on Earth under laboratory conditions. An article publishing on May 19, 2020 in the open access journal PLOS Biology from Lisa Simonsen and colleagues at the NASA Langley Research Center, USA, describes how NASA has developed a ground-based GCR Simulator at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL), located at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Continue reading “Galactic cosmic rays now available for study on Earth, thanks to NASA” »

May 19, 2020

EGEB: GM to power Tennessee plant entirely with solar

Posted by in categories: government, solar power, sustainability

GM will power its largest site, which is in Tennessee, with solar energy from the TVA; The Mexican government rolls back renewables growth.

May 19, 2020

Has the Code of The Zodiac Killer Been Cracked?

Posted by in category: futurism

Circa 2011 o,.o.

One of your neighbors posted in Community Corner. Click through to read what they have to say. (The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.)

May 19, 2020

The AI Show: How Intel built a chip with a sense of smell

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Intel’s fifth-generation Loihi chip uses neuromorphic computing to learn faster on less training data than traditional artificial intelligence techniques — including how to smell like a human does and make accurate conclusions based on a tiny dataset of essentially just one sample.

“That’s really one of the main things we’re trying to understand and map into silicon … the brain’s ability to learn with single examples,” Mike Davies, the director of Intel’s Neuromorphic Computing Lab, told me recently on The AI Show podcast. “So with just showing one clean presentation of an odor, we can store that in this high dimensional representation in the chip, and then it allows it to then recognize a variety of noisy, corrupted, occluded odors like you would be faced with in the real world.”

May 19, 2020

Team in Germany observes Pauli crystals for the first time

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

A team of researchers at Heidelberg University has succeeded in building an apparatus that allowed them to observe Pauli crystals for the first time. They have written a paper describing their efforts and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

The Pauli exclusion principle is quite simple: It asserts that no two fermions can have the same quantum number. But as with many principles in physics, this simple assertion has had a profound impact on quantum mechanics. Looking more closely at the principle reveals that it also suggests that no two fermions can occupy the same . And that means that electrons must have different orbits around a nucleus, and by extension, it explains why atoms have volume. This understanding of the self-ordering of fermions has led to other findings—for instance, that they should form crystals with a specific geometry, which are now known as Pauli crystals. When this observation was first made, it was understood that such crystal formation could only happen under unique circumstances. In this new effort, the researchers have resolved the circumstances, and in so doing, have built an apparatus that allowed them to observe Pauli crystals for the first time.

The work involved a setup that included lasers that were able to trap a cloud of lithium-6 atoms supercooled to their lower energy state, forcing them to adhere to the exclusion principle, in a one-atom thick flat layer. The team then used a technique that allowed them to photograph the atoms when they were in a particular given state—and only those atoms. They then used the camera to take 20,000 pictures, but used only those that showed the right number of atoms—-indicating that they were adhering to the Pauli exclusion principle. Next, the team processed the remaining images to remove the impact of overall momentum in the atom cloud, rotated them properly, and then superimposed thousands of them, revealing the momentum distribution of the individual —that was the point at which crystal structures began to emerge in the photographs, just as was predicted by theory. The researchers note that their technique could also be used to study other effects related to fermion-based gases.

May 19, 2020

Scientists use pressure to make liquid magnetism breakthrough

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

It sounds like a riddle: What do you get if you take two small diamonds, put a small magnetic crystal between them and squeeze them together very slowly?

The answer is a magnetic liquid, which seems counterintuitive. Liquids become solids under pressure, but not generally the other way around. But this unusual pivotal discovery, unveiled by a team of researchers working at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, may provide scientists with new insight into and quantum computing.

Though scientists and engineers have been making use of superconducting materials for decades, the exact process by which conduct electricity without resistance remains a quantum mechanical mystery. The telltale signs of a superconductor are a loss of resistance and a loss of magnetism. High-temperature superconductors can operate at temperatures above those of (−320 degrees Fahrenheit), making them attractive for lossless transmission lines in power grids and other applications in the energy sector.

May 19, 2020

Building Volume into Neural Hardware

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI

In her new column covering neuromorphic engineering, intelligent robotics, and AI hardware, Sunny Bains looks at attempts to increase connectivity by creating three dimensional systems.