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Dec 15, 2016

The future arrives? Amazon’s Prime Air completes its first drone delivery

Posted by in categories: drones, futurism

CEO Jeff Bezos said the company successfully delivered its first package to a customer in the Cambridge area of England in 13 minutes.

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Dec 15, 2016

How to control a robotic arm with your mind — no implanted electrodes required

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, robotics/AI

Research subjects at the University of Minnesota fitted with a specialized noninvasive EEG brain cap were able to move a robotic arm in three dimensions just by imagining moving their own arms (credit: University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering)

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have achieved a “major breakthrough” that allows people to control a robotic arm in three dimensions, using only their minds. The research has the potential to help millions of people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.

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Dec 14, 2016

Japan Has a Radically Different Approach to AI

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

And it could result in wild new technologies.

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Dec 14, 2016

Uber draws ire of California DMV for testing self-driving cars in S.F. without permit

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Ooops.


SACRAMENTO, Dec. 14 (UPI) — The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued a warning of sorts to rideshare company Uber on Wednesday, apparently for wading too far into the waters of testing self-driving vehicles in San Francisco.

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Dec 14, 2016

Ancient Human Ancestor Was One Tall Dude, His Footprints Say

Posted by in category: futurism

He stood a majestic 5-foot-5, weighed around 100 pounds and maybe had a harem. That’s what scientists figure from the footprints he left behind some 3.7 million year ago.

He’s evidently the tallest known member of the prehuman species best known for the fossil skeleton nicknamed “Lucy,” reaching a stature no other member of our family tree matched for another 1.5 million years, the researchers say.

The 13 footprints are impressions left in volcanic ash that later hardened into rock, excavated last year in northern Tanzania in Africa. Their comparatively large size, averaging a bit over 10 inches long (26 centimeters), suggest they were made by a male member of the species known as Australopithecus afarensis.

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Dec 14, 2016

Monster-wheat grown by Oxford could revolutionise farming

Posted by in categories: energy, food, genetics

A crop spray which can boost farmer’s wheat yields by one fifth, without the need for genetic modification, has been developed by scientists at Oxford University.

Researchers have found a molecule which helps plants make the best use of the sugary fuel that they generate during photosynthesis. And with more fuel, the plants can produce bigger grains.

Other scientists in Britain have developed ways to genetically modify crops to increase yields, and the Department of Environment is currently deciding whether to allow a field trial for GM wheat in Hertfordshire.

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Dec 14, 2016

Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick are joining Trump’s economic advisory team

Posted by in categories: economics, Elon Musk

The two executives are joining a team that also includes JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and General Motors chief exec Mary Barra.

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Dec 14, 2016

Macaque monkeys have the anatomy for human speech, so why can’t they speak?

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

Researchers used X-ray videos (right) to capture and trace the movements of the different parts of a macaque’s vocal anatomy — such as the tongue, lips, and larynx — during a number of orofacial behaviors. (credit: Illustration by Tecumseh Fitch, University of Austria, and image courtesy of Asif Ghazanfar, Princeton Neuroscience Institute)

While they have a speech-ready vocal tract, primates can’t speak because they lack a speech-ready brain, contrary to widespread opinion that they are limited by anatomy, researchers at Princeton University and associates have reported Dec. 9 in the open-access journal Science Advances.

The researchers reached this conclusion by first recording X-ray videos showing the movements of the different parts of a macaque’s vocal anatomy — such as the tongue, lips and larynx. They then converted that data into a computer model that could predict and simulate a macaque’s vocal range.

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Dec 14, 2016

IBM’s Watson supercomputer discovers 5 new genes linked to ALS

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

IBM Watson is known for its work in identifying cancer treatments and beating contestants on Jeopardy! But now the computing system has expertise in a new area of research: neuroscience.

Watson discovered five genes linked to ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, IBM announced on Wednesday. The tech company worked with researchers at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. The discovery is Watson’s first in any type of neuroscience, and suggests that Watson could make discoveries in research of other neurological diseases.

SEE ALSO: This high-tech E.L.F. is guiding confused shoppers with the help of IBM’s Watson.

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Dec 14, 2016

Inexpensive Diabetes Drug May Be New Weapon in War on Cancer

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Sometimes a drug intended for one purpose turns out to have other uses. Metformin, a treatment for type 2 diabetes, may prove effective in treating cancer.

Researchers are a step closer to figuring out how metformin may help prevent cancer.

Metformin is generally used to treat type 2 diabetes. The drug helps the body use insulin more effectively.

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