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Jul 8, 2019

Team programs a humanoid robot to communicate in sign language

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI

For a robot to be able to “learn” sign language, it is necessary to combine different areas of engineering such as artificial intelligence, neural networks and artificial vision, as well as underactuated robotic hands. “One of the main new developments of this research is that we united two major areas of Robotics: complex systems (such as robotic hands) and social interaction and communication,” explains Juan Víctores, one of the researchers from the Robotics Lab in the Department of Systems Engineering and Automation of the UC3M.

The first thing the scientists did as part of their research was to indicate, through a simulation, the specific position of each phalanx in order to depict particular signs from Spanish Sign Language. They then attempted to reproduce this position with the robotic hand, trying to make the movements similar to those a human hand could make. “The objective is for them to be similar and, above all, natural. Various types of were tested to model this adaptation, and this allowed us to choose the one that could perform the gestures in a way that is comprehensible to people who communicate with sign language,” the researchers explain.

Finally, the scientists verified that the system worked by interacting with potential end-users. “The who have been in contact with the robot have reported 80 percent satisfaction, so the response has been very positive,” says another of the researchers from the Robotics Lab, Jennifer J. Gago. The experiments were carried out with TEO (Task Environment Operator), a for home use developed in the Robotics Lab of the UC3M.

Jul 8, 2019

Five Couples Agree to CRISPR Their Babies to Avoid Deafness

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

They think gene-editing is a risk worth taking — if it means their babies will be able to hear.

Jul 8, 2019

Robot uses machine learning to harvest lettuce

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

A vegetable-picking robot that uses machine learning to identify and harvest a commonplace, but challenging, agricultural crop has been developed by engineers.

The ‘Vegebot’, developed by a team at the University of Cambridge, was initially trained to recognise and harvest iceberg lettuce in a lab setting. It has now been successfully tested in a variety of field conditions in cooperation with G’s Growers, a local fruit and vegetable co-operative.

Continue reading “Robot uses machine learning to harvest lettuce” »

Jul 8, 2019

Antigravity water transport system inspired by trees

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, sustainability, transportation

Efficiently moving water upward against gravity is a major feat of human engineering, yet one that trees have mastered for hundreds of millions of years. In a new study, researchers have designed a tree-inspired water transport system that uses capillary forces to drive dirty water upward through a hierarchically structured aerogel, where it can then be converted into steam by solar energy to produce fresh, clean water.

The researchers, led by Aiping Liu at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University and Hao Bai at Zhejiang University, have published a paper on the new transport and solar steam generation method in a recent issue of ACS Nano. In the future, efficient water transport methods have in and desalination.

“Our preparation method is universal and can be industrialized,” Liu told Phys.org. “Our materials have excellent properties and good stability, and can be reused many times. This provides the possibility for large-scale desalination and in the future.”

Jul 8, 2019

Tiny granules can help bring clean and abundant fusion power to Earth

Posted by in categories: computing, physics, space travel

Beryllium, a hard, silvery metal long used in X-ray machines and spacecraft, is finding a new role in the quest to bring the power that drives the sun and stars to Earth. Beryllium is one of the two main materials used for the wall in ITER, a multinational fusion facility under construction in France to demonstrate the practicality of fusion power. Now, physicists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and General Atomics have concluded that injecting tiny beryllium pellets into ITER could help stabilize the plasma that fuels fusion reactions.

Experiments and computer simulations found that the injected granules help create conditions in the that could trigger small eruptions called edge-localized modes (ELMs). If triggered frequently enough, the tiny ELMs prevent giant eruptions that could halt fusion reactions and damage the ITER facility.

Scientists around the world are seeking to replicate fusion on Earth for a virtually inexhaustible supply of power to generate electricity. The process involves plasma, a very hot soup of free-floating electrons and , or ions. The merging of the nuclei releases a tremendous amount of energy.

Jul 8, 2019

Quantum Particles Found Exhibiting Immortality Through “Infinite Decay And Rebirth”

Posted by in categories: computing, life extension, particle physics, quantum physics

https://youtube.com/watch?v=hyx6tBTk1p0

We know that the rule “nothing lasts forever” holds true for everything. But the world of quantum particles doesn’t always seem to follow the rules.

In the latest findings, scientists have observed that quasiparticles in quantum systems could be virtually immortal. These particles can regenerate themselves after they have decayed — and this can have a significant impact on the future of quantum computing and humanity itself.

Continue reading “Quantum Particles Found Exhibiting Immortality Through ‘Infinite Decay And Rebirth’” »

Jul 8, 2019

Toyota to test solar panels for electric cars

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

What’s not to like about this concept: high-efficiency solar cells gifting electric cars with mileage.

Bertel Schmitt, The Drive, said, “The solar roof could morph from mostly a marketing-device to a helpful feature.” He noted that, referring to plug-ins, “On a fair-weather day, the juice would be provided by the sun, a big improvement especially for people who don’t have their own garage.”

Toyota has ambitions over the concept and is to start testing an onboard solar recharging system where the hood, the roof, and back are covered with cells. The solar roof can charge while the car is on the move.

Jul 8, 2019

Why the U.S. Marines Want a Very Special Bullet (A “Taser” Bullet, to Be Exact)

Posted by in category: military

Taser bullets aren’t exactly a new concept—a bullet that zaps you with an electric jolt like a Taser.

That’s what the U.S. Marine Corps wants as a non-lethal munition that can be fired from a regular small arm. The U.S. military has been trying to develop a Taser-like bullet for 12 years but has yet to succeed. This time, the Marines hope to get it right.

The U.S. military already uses regular X-26 Tasers, pistol-like devices that fire two wired electrode darts that transmit a jolt to incapacitate a target. But not surprising for a device designed for civilian police forces, the wires limit an accurate shot to less than 25 feet, and the target is disabled for only about 5 seconds.

Jul 8, 2019

NASA’s New Space Engine Is Powered by Nuclear Fission

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, security, space travel

From returning to the Moon to establishing outposts on Mars, NASA has the need for more power than ever before. Could nuclear fission be the solution they’ve been searching for?

Watch more Focal Point! | https://bit.ly/2J9b9LC

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Jul 8, 2019

These Odd ‘Quasiparticles’ Could Finally Unmask Dark Matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

About 80% of all the matter in the cosmos is of a form completely unknown to current physics. We call it dark matter, because as best we can tell it’s…dark. Experiments around the world are attempting to capture a stray dark matter particle in hopes of understanding it, but so far they have turned up empty.

Recently, a team of theorists has proposed a new way to hunt for dark matter using weird “particles” called magnons, a name I did not just make up. These tiny ripples could lure even a fleeting, lightweight dark matter particle out of hiding, those theorists say. [The 11 Biggest Unanswered Questions About Dark Matter]

We know all sorts of things about dark matter, with the notable exception of what it is.