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Mar 28, 2019

This woman’s genetic mutation shields her from pain and anxiety

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Arthritis is usually painful. So is the surgery to fix it, at least in the immediate aftermath. So when a 66-year old woman at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, Scotland, told doctors that her severely arthritic hand felt fine both before and after her operation, they were suspicious. The joint of her thumb was so severely deteriorated that she could hardly use it—how could that not hurt?

So they sent her to see teams specializing in pain genetics at University College London and the University of Oxford. Those researchers took DNA samples from both her and some of her family members and uncovered her secret: a tiny mutation in a newly-discovered gene. They recently published their results in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.

This minuscule deletion is inside something called a pseudogene, which is a partial copy of a fully functioning gene inserted elsewhere in the genome. Pseudogenes don’t always have a function—sometimes they’re just junk DNA—but some of them have residual functionality leftover from the original gene’s purpose.

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Mar 28, 2019

Remote-Controlled Insect Ornithopter Developed

Posted by in category: futurism

Aeronautical engineer Edwin Van Ruymbeke has developed a remote-controlled insect ornithopter called MetaFly.

Capable of reaching a top speed of 18 km/h (11 mph) and a maximum range of 100 metres (328 ft), the wings are flapped using a mechanical coreless motor and an aluminum heat sink that is powered by a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery.

Weighing 10 grams (0.35 oz), MetaFly measures 19 cm long (7.5 in) with a 29-cm (11.4-in) wingspan. The patented wings are made from carbon fibre, liquid crystal polymer and oriented polypropylene.

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Mar 28, 2019

Chip combining CRISPR and graphene can detect genetic mutations in minutes

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

The marriage of these two technologies can only mean something great is in store.

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Mar 28, 2019

An electric plane with no moving parts has made its first flight

Posted by in category: transportation

The turbineless design uses electroaerodynamic propulsion to fly and could herald the arrival of quieter, lower-emission aircraft.

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Mar 28, 2019

Techstars Is Giving Space Startups A Chance To Accelerate Their Business To The Final Frontier

Posted by in categories: business, space

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be hosting the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator in the heart of Southern California’s Commercial Space hub. Startups are invited to apply now!

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Mar 28, 2019

These 3D-Printed Mars Habitats Just Won a NASA Award

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, habitats, space

It’s a fascinating competition that paints an incredibly detailed picture of what the future of Moon or even Mars exploration could look like one day — and we’ve never been closer to that future.

READ MORE: Top Three Teams Share $100,000 Prize in Complete Virtual Construction Level of 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge [NASA]

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Mar 28, 2019

The Human, Smart and Sustainable Future of Cities

Posted by in categories: architecture, big data, environmental, transportation

The city of the future is a symbol of progress. The sci-fi vision of the future city with sleek skyscrapers and flying cars, however, has given way to a more plausible, human, practical, and green vision of tomorrow’s smart city. Whilst smart city visions differ, at their heart is the notion that in the coming decades, the planet’s most heavily concentrated populations will occupy city environments where a digital blanket of sensors, devices and cloud connected data is being weaved together to build and enhance the city living experience for all. In this context, smart architecture must encompass all the key elements of what enable city ecosystems to function effectively. This encompasses everything from the design of infrastructure, workspaces, leisure, retail, and domestic homes to traffic control, environmental protection, and the management of energy, sanitation, healthcare, security, and a building’s eco-footprint.

The world’s premier cities and architects are competing to design and build highly interconnected smart environments where people, government and business operate in symbiosis with spectacular exponentially improving technologies such as big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, hyperconnectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), robots, drones, autonomous green vehicles, 3D/4D printing, smart materials, and renewable energy. The architectural promise of future smart cities is to harmonize the benefits of these key disruptive technologies for society and provide a high quality of life by design. Some have already implemented smart city architecture and, as the concepts, experiences and success stories spread, the pursuit of smart will become a key driver in the evolving future of cities as communities and economic centres. Here we explore some of the critical trends, visions, ideas, and disruptions shaping the rise of smart cities and smart architecture.

Smart Cities – Purpose, Engagement and Vision

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Mar 28, 2019

The War to Remotely Control Self-Driving Cars Heats Up

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Livingston is sitting comfortably in his office in Portland, Oregon, when he appears on the screens inside the car and announces he’ll be our teleoperator this afternoon. A moment later, the MKZ pulls into traffic, responding not to the man in the driver’s seat, but to Livingston, who’s sitting in front of a bank of screens displaying feeds from the four cameras on the car’s roof, working the kind of steering wheel and pedals serious players use for games like Forza Motorsport. Livingston is a software engineer for Designated Driver, a new company that’s getting into teleoperations, the official name for remotely controlling self- driving vehicles.


Designated Driver is just the latest competitor to enter the market for the teleoperation tech that will make robo-cars work.

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Mar 28, 2019

AI Performed Like a Human on a Gestalt Psychology Test

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Dr. Been Kim wants to rip open the black box of deep learning.

A senior researcher at Google Brain, Kim specializes in a sort of AI psychology. Like cognitive psychologists before her, she develops various ways to probe the alien minds of artificial neural networks (ANNs), digging into their gory details to better understand the models and their responses to inputs.

The more interpretable ANNs are, the reasoning goes, the easier it is to reveal potential flaws in their reasoning. And if we understand when or why our systems choke, we’ll know when not to use them—a foundation for building responsible AI.

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Mar 28, 2019

The biggest revolution in gene editing: Crispr-Cas9 explained – video

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

Prof Jennifer Doudna, one the pioneers of Crispr-Cas9 gene editing, explains how this revolutionary discovery enables precise changes to our DNA, which can be used to correct mutations that cause genetic diseases and eradicate them from a germ line. Doudna raises the key issues of debate around gene editing and suggests what will have the most immediate impact.

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