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Oct 8, 2016

MIT is making customizable, bouncy robot skin

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, robotics/AI

MIT is 3D-printing a new type of robot skin that’s a lot more customizable than human skin.

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Oct 8, 2016

Nanomachines Score The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nanotechnology

In Brief.

  • Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa will share the prize for their design and synthesis of the ‘world’s smallest machines.’
  • The state of molecular machines today is at the same level as that of the electric motor in the 1830’

A trio of European scientists brought home the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa were awarded 8 million Swedish krona for their work on molecular machines.

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Oct 8, 2016

What Happens When You Create a Chatbot to Memorialize a Friend

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI

Whenever we lose someone close to us, there’s an inclination, a need even, to sort through our memories of that person. Memories not just in our minds, but our digital memories too—emails, texts, photos, videos, social media posts.

But eventually, we have to stop looking through those texts and photos, because after a while, it’s like listening to a song on repeat for too long. The memories are static, they will never change, shift, and grow like the real person, and you just have to move on.

When Eugenia Kuyda lost her best friend, Roman Mazurenko, she wanted to memorialize him in a different way. As the cofounder of Luka, an artificial intelligence startup which recommends books and restaurants through a chat interface, Kuyda worked with her engineering team to collect thousands of Mazurenko’s texts and create a chatbot based on his personality.

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Oct 8, 2016

Robots Have Learned to Pool Their Experience to Acquire Basic Motor Skills

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

In Brief.

  • A task that would take one robot years to complete could be done in just a few weeks if multiple robots are allowed to communicate with one another.
  • As algorithms and technology advances, a robot cloud could help us best utilize bots within our daily lives.

Robots, for all their helpfulness in performing tasks that we would rather not do (usually because those tasks are dangerous or boring), first need to be coded in order to do the work. These specific sets of commands tell the machines what exactly they need to do and define how to do it.

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Oct 7, 2016

Wheego and Valeo get California road driverless testing permits

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

Self-driving car testing in California is becoming a badge of progress for companies working in the space. Only 17 companies in total have the honor, including two just added to the list: Wheego Electric Cars, and Valeo North America.

The Wall Street Journal reports that both these new companies now have approval to run tests with a single vehicle each, and four drivers per team. That might not sound like much, but it’s a foot in the door, and membership in the club is itself somewhat testament to how much the companies have already accomplished, since the other members include major carmakers like Tesla, Cruise (which got its license before being acquired by GM), promising startup Drive.ai, and Baidu, to name a few.

The new members are interesting additions: Wheego is an electric carmaker which got its start taking Chinese-Built cars, outfitting them with battery’s and electric motors in the U.S. and putting them on the road. The company now says it builds electric vehicles designed “for a global market,” and focuses on the benefits of connected tech in making vehicles aware of their surroundings.

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Oct 7, 2016

How to Get Lost in Augmented Reality — By Tanya Basu | Inverse

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, ethics

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“Augmented reality offers designers and engineers new tools and artists a new palette, but there’s a dark side to reality-plus.”

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Oct 7, 2016

Synapse-like memristor-based electronic device detects brain spikes in real time

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, cyborgs, robotics/AI

Neural Nanonics here we come: “Could lead to future autonomous, fully implantable neuroprosthetic devices”


Memristor chip (credit: University of Southampton)

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Oct 7, 2016

The eight scientific breakthroughs set to revolutionise our future

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, innovation

A scientific breakthrough can unlock long-standing problems and have the potential to have a long-term impact on human wellbeing. But which UK project thrilled and amazed us in 2016?

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Oct 7, 2016

Glow-in-the-dark bike path lights the way in Poland

Posted by in categories: innovation, materials

Two years ago, Studio Roosegaarde created a glow-in-the-dark bike path in Eindhoven, Netherlands, helping to light the route in a exciting way. Inspired by that, a materials technology center in Lidzbark Warminski, Poland, has followed suit, with equally dazzling results.

The materials tech center, TPA Gesellschaft für Qualitätssicherung und Innovation (TPAQI), tells New Atlas that it first drew attention to the Eindhoven bike path at a local road forum event. The underlying concept was floated as a potential option for creating something that would reflect the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Work began about a year ago, with lab tests into how the glowing effect would be created. A variety of different materials and colors were tested, with the aim of creating something that would both look great and that would increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

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Oct 7, 2016

Verizon trials drones as flying cell towers to plug holes in internet coverage

Posted by in categories: drones, internet, robotics/AI

Verizon has joined the likes of Facebook, Google and fellow telecommunications giant AT&T in exploring the potential of internet-connected unmanned aircraft. While its vision involves expanding 4G coverage across the US, it has an immediate focus on shoring up communications for first responders in emergency situations, and recently carried out trials to that effect.

Verizon has dubbed the initiative Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) and says it has actually been in the pipeline for around two years. The company has been working to integrate internet connectivity into unmanned aerial vehicles and hook them up to its 4G network, daisy chaining coverage and beaming it down to unconnected areas in the process. This is similar to how Facebook hopes its Aquila drones will work.

Verizon recently teamed up with company American Aerospace Technologies to see how using drones as gliding cell towers could have an impact in disaster relief scenarios. In a simulated mission in New Jersey, the team set a drone with a 17-foot (5.2 m) wingspan in flight to put the onboard technologies through their paces.

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