Issue #173

This week – a cyborg artist; extreme biohacking; growing mini-brains in the lab; can Boston Dynamics sell their robots; why AIs have a problem with the real world and why do they learn to smell; and more!


More than a human

Moon Ribas – Cyborg Artist

Meet Moon Ribas – an artist, a dancer and a cyborg. Her body connected to seismographs through implants which vibrate every time there is an earthquake somewhere around the world. In this video (16 minutes long) she tells her story of becoming a cyborg, what a life with an extra sense looks like and what message she wants to convey as a cyborg artist.

 

Extreme biohacking: the tech guru who spent $250,000 trying to live for ever

Serge Faguet takes biohacking to the next level. The Guardian details his daily routine and what he’s doing to his body. Plus explains what biohacking is and how does the biohackers community look like.

 

How Close Are We to Downloading the Human Brain?

Downloading your brain may seem like science fiction, but some neuroscientists think it’s not only possible but that we’ve already started down a path to one day make it a reality. So, how close are we to downloading a human brain?

 

Artificial Intelligence

Why Self-Taught Artificial Intelligence Has Trouble With the Real World

The short answer is that the real world is much messier and noisier than a game. Games represent a cleaner reality with clear goals, which makes them easier to master by self-learning algorithms. But some lessons learnt in the games can be applied to AIs and robots that need to engage with the real world.

 

New AI Strategy Mimics How Brains Learn to Smell

A great progress has been made in artificial intelligence research by trying to reproduce how our brains process visual data. This approach has its limits and to beat them, scientists are drawing inspiration from the sense of smell.

 

Instilling the Best of Human Values in AI

Now that the era of artificial intelligence is unquestionably upon us, it behoves us to think and work harder to ensure that the AIs we create embody positive human values.

 

Robotics

These Robots Run, Dance and Flip. But Are They a Business?

Boston Dynamics is probably the most recognisable robotics company in the world. Videos of their robots running in the forest or doing backflips have amassed millions of views on YouTube. As the company is preparing to start selling Spot Minis (their small robot-dogs), some people started to wonder who will buy those robots and if they do, what you can do with them? This leads to another question – will Boston Dynamics be capable of selling robots?

 

This Robotic Skin Makes Inanimate Objects Move

Researchers from Yale’s Soft Robotics lab, the Faboratory, have created a soft robotic skin full of actuators and sensor which you can apply to any inanimate soft object to make it move.

 

The Hunt for Robot Unicorns

The robotics industry is rapidly evolving and expanding. The field is full of new companies trying to obtain the status of a “unicorn” – a private company valued $1 billion and more. This article lists some of the possible candidates and gives hints for aspiring roboticists what should they focus on if they want to go really big.

 

DelFly Nimble an agile insect inspired robot

DelFly Nimble is what happens when roboticists take notes from nature. Inspired by fruit flies, this tiny robot is extremely agile when moving forward and sideways.

 

Biotechnology

Growing Brains in Lab

Brain spheroids are a relatively new creation. They are a lab-grown bunch of neurons at the early stages of forming a brain. Due to limitations of tissue engineering, brain spheroids are small but they are already finding usage in studying brain diseases.

 

Scientists Just Took A “Spectacular Step” Towards Lab-Grown Human Egg Cells

A team of Japanese researchers is now closer than any other scientists have come to creating lab-grown human egg cells. That means the day when we can “grow” humans could be fast approaching.