Menu

Blog

Page 7831

Dec 26, 2016

KFC’s latest weird tech suggests an order based on your face

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, food, robotics/AI

If you loathe having to talk out loud when ordering a meal at a fast-food restaurant, and you happen to love KFC, then you might want to start considering packing it up and moving to China where Baidu has just teamed up with the major chicken brand to create a more automated restaurant. The venture aims to use the company’s latest technologies to bring novel ways of providing service to KFC customers.

As an added feature, the outlet also offers augmented reality games via table stickers, a concept also made available to 300 other KFC locations in Beijing.

Baidu’s tech in this new restaurant, however, is all about guessing what you want before you can even ask; image recognition hardware installed at the KFC will scan customer faces, seeking to infer moods, and guess other information including gender an age in order to inform their recommendation.

Continue reading “KFC’s latest weird tech suggests an order based on your face” »

Dec 26, 2016

DARPA races offer model for government-industry relations

Posted by in categories: economics, energy, government, transportation

The relationship between the government and the auto industry is about to be transformed. But into what?

Eight years ago, that relationship hardly could have been more awkward. Two of the Detroit 3 were begging Congress for a lifeline. The federal government would later fire General Motors’ CEO, orchestrate a bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler and emerge as a shareholder in both — a highly un-American arrangement that would lead to a successful recovery, yes, but also lingering tensions and shame.

The relationship is different now, but it’s not necessarily better. The Obama administration shed the stake in the car companies but has wrapped its tentacles more tightly around the industry in many ways, including strict consent decrees to monitor safety and tough targets for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions.

Continue reading “DARPA races offer model for government-industry relations” »

Dec 26, 2016

Scientists say your “mind” isn’t confined to your brain, or even your body

Posted by in category: neuroscience

You might wonder, at some point today, what’s going on in another person’s mind. You may compliment someone’s great mind, or say they are out of their mind. You may even try to expand or free your own mind.

But what is a mind? Defining the concept is a surprisingly slippery task. The mind is the seat of consciousness, the essence of your being. Without a mind, you cannot be considered meaningfully alive. So what exactly, and where precisely, is it?

Traditionally, scientists have tried to define the mind as the product of brain activity: The brain is the physical substance, and the mind is the conscious product of those firing neurons, according to the classic argument. But growing evidence shows that the mind goes far beyond the physical workings of your brain.

Continue reading “Scientists say your ‘mind’ isn’t confined to your brain, or even your body” »

Dec 26, 2016

‘Virtually Real,’ the world’s first 3D-printed VR art exhibition in London

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, virtual reality

Tilt Brush example. — Pictures courtesy of HTC ViveTilt Brush example. — Pictures courtesy of HTC ViveLONDON, Dec 27 — From January 11 to 14, 2017, the Royal Academy of Art in London will present the first ever 3D-printed artworks in virtual reality, produced in collaboration with HTC Vive.

Artists from the Royal Academy and its alumni will create artwork using the virtual reality platform HTC Vive, creations that visitors to the exhibition will be able to experience in real time, “fully immersing themselves in the virtual piece.”

Read more

Dec 26, 2016

Blake Dowling: Hacking, weaponized artificial intelligence, ransomware and other fun just for you

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, drones, military, robotics/AI

Breaches, hacking, ransomware, cyber threats, weaponized AI, smart toothbrushes are but a few examples of scary tech out there to make your day less than fantastic.

Weapons systems that think on its own are in production, with governments racing to catch up on how to regulate these fast-paced advancements.

Police and military already use drones and robots to eliminate threats, but (as far as we know) it’s hardware controlled by humans.

Continue reading “Blake Dowling: Hacking, weaponized artificial intelligence, ransomware and other fun just for you” »

Dec 26, 2016

New Mechanism of How Brain Networks Form Identified

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience, robotics/AI

Excellent read on the brain’s inhibitory circuits v. excitatory circuits when involving the processing of smells.


Summary: Inhibitory neurons form neural networks that become broader as they mature, a new study reports.

Source: Baylor College of Medicine.

Continue reading “New Mechanism of How Brain Networks Form Identified” »

Dec 26, 2016

Biology’s ‘breadboard’

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, food, neuroscience

Nice; using gene regulatory protein from yeast as a method for reducing the work required for making cell-specific perturbations.


The human brain, the most complex object in the universe, has 86 billion neurons with trillions of yet-unmapped connections. Understanding how it generates behavior is a problem that has beguiled humankind for millennia, and is critical for developing effective therapies for the psychiatric disorders that incur heavy costs on individuals and on society. The roundworm C elegans, measuring a mere 1 millimeter, is a powerful model system for understanding how nervous systems produce behaviors. Unlike the human brain, it has only 302 neurons, and has completely mapped neural wiring of 6,000 connections, making it the closest thing to a computer circuit board in biology. Despite its relative simplicity, the roundworm exhibits behaviors ranging from simple reflexes to the more complex, such as searching for food when hungry, learning to avoid food that previously made it ill, and social behavior.

Understanding how this dramatically simpler nervous system works will give insights into how our vastly more complex brains function and is the subject of a paper published on December 26, 2016, in Nature Methods.

Read more

Dec 26, 2016

2016: The year artificial intelligence exploded

Posted by in categories: business, education, robotics/AI

Not sure that I would claim 2016 as the year that AI exploded; I believe a better term for 2016 is the year that AI reinvented itself. I still see us in an evolution trend in 2017 as we still need to see more AI technology embedded in our back office platforms and apps than where we are today to claim we’re in a real AI explosion. Once we start seeing more IT organizations and CxOs embracing it in lowering their operational costs then we can claim we’re in an explosion.


Artificial intelligence isn’t a new concept. It is something that companies and businesses have been trying to implement (and something that society has feared) for decades. However, with all the recent advancements to democratize artificial intelligence and use it for good, almost every company started to turn to this technology and technique in 2016.

The year started with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announcing his plan to build an artificially intelligent assistant to do everything from adjusting the temperature in his house to checking up on his baby girl. He worked throughout the year to bring his plan to life, with an update in August that stated he was almost ready to show off his AI to the world.

Continue reading “2016: The year artificial intelligence exploded” »

Dec 26, 2016

The Science and Engineering of Quantum Dot Lasers

Posted by in categories: engineering, quantum physics, science

Since their development in 1960, lasers have become an indispensable tool supporting our modern society, finding use in fields such as medicine, information, and industry. Thanks to their compact size and energy efficiency, semiconductor lasers are now one of the most important classes of laser, making possible a diverse range of applications. However, the threshold current of a typical semiconductor laser—the minimum electrical current required to induce lasing—increases with temperature. This is one of a number of disadvantages that can be overcome by using quantum dot lasers. Professor Yasuhiko Arakawa of the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo has been researching quantum dot lasers for about 35 years, from their conception to commercialization.

An electron trapped in a microscopic box

Sunlight is composed of light of various colors. The property that determines the color of light is its wavelength, or in other words, the distance between two successive wave peaks or troughs. The location of the peaks and troughs in the waveform is known as its phase. As a laser emits light waves in a uniform phase at the same wavelength, the light can be transmitted as a beam over long distances at high intensity.

Continue reading “The Science and Engineering of Quantum Dot Lasers” »

Dec 26, 2016

Ultra-Small Nanocavity Advances Technology for Quantum-Based Data Encryption

Posted by in categories: encryption, nanotechnology, quantum physics

What’s next? Nanocavities in a diamond for small devices.


Researchers have developed a new type of light-enhancing optical cavity that is only 200 nanometers tall and 100 nanometers across. Their new nanoscale system represents a step toward brighter single-photon sources, which could help propel quantum-based encryption techniques under development.

Quantum encryption techniques, which are seen as likely to be central to future data encryption methods, use individual photons as an extremely secure way to encode data. A limitation of these techniques has been the ability to emit photons at high rates. “One of the most important figures of merit for single-photon sources is brightness — or collected photons per second — because the brighter it is, the more data you can transmit securely with quantum encryption,” said Yousif Kelaita of Stanford University.

Continue reading “Ultra-Small Nanocavity Advances Technology for Quantum-Based Data Encryption” »