Issue #218

This week - China's AI ed-tech companies; DIY exoskeleton and prosthetic Nerf gun; what is anti-CRISPR; a robotic tail for humans; and more!

More than a human

These hackers put together a prosthetic Nerf gun

A group of makers made a prosthetic Nerf gun. The future has arrived.

Facebook is getting closer to letting you type with just your thoughts

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) working under Facebook's brain-computer interface program have posted a study noting their algorithm was able to detect spoken words from brain activity in real-time. Here is the study if you are interested in learning more.

An Exoskeleton Arm For A Hacker On A Budget

If you want an exoskeleton arm and you also happen to be a maker, then check this project. It shows how to build such an arm in just 2 days and for $100.

Artificial Intelligence

China has started a grand experiment in AI education. It could reshape how the world learns

In recent years, the country has rushed to pursue “intelligent education” - the application of AI in learning. Now its billion-dollar ed-tech companies are planning to export their vision overseas.

Meet the US’s spy system of the future — it’s Sentient

Sentient is (or at least aims to be) an omnivorous analysis tool, capable of devouring data of all sorts, making sense of the past and present, anticipating the future, and pointing satellites toward what it determines will be the most interesting parts of that future. Until now, the project was a secret but recently declassified documents reveal new details about the program’s goals, progress, and reach.

The coming deepfakes threat to businesses

In the first signs of a mounting threat, criminals are starting to use deepfakes — starting with AI-generated audio — to impersonate CEOs and steal millions from companies, which are largely unprepared to combat them. Imagine a convincing fake video or audio clip of Elon Musk, say, disclosing a massive defect the day before a big Tesla launch — the company's share price would crumple.

Watch China’s New Hybrid AI Chip Power an Autonomous Bike

In China, a bicycle drove itself. It was a demo of a new AI chip - Tianjic. The chip can run both deep learning and spiking neural networks - something that wasn't done before.

► Decentralized AI | Ben Goertzel (16:17)

Ben Goertzel explains SingularityNET - blockchain-based decentralised AI platform.


'arque' is a robotic tail that improves human agility and balance

Researchers at Keio University in Japan have developed a robotic tail that humans can wear to improve balance. Called ‘arque’, it was inspired by the way animals passively use their own tails to improve mobility by shifting their centre of gravity. Here's a video explaining how the tail works.

15 European robotics startups to watch

Here's a list of 15 robotics startups which won a place in RobotUnion's accelerator program. The list ranges from prosthetics to robotic arms to construction robots and robot assistants.

Our Turing Test for androids will judge how lifelike humanoid robots can be

When Alan Turing proposed his famous test, the field of robotics and AI was just about to begin. Today, when can build machines that can resemble a human being, maybe we should update the original Turing Test to ask the question "Can we build robots that are perceptually indistinguishable from humans?". That's the question the Multimodal Turing Test wants to ask designers and engineers.


Anti-CRISPR: Flipping the Switch on CRISPR Gene Editing

CRISPR took genetic engineering community by storm but have you ever heard of anti-CRISPR? Anti-CRISPRs are naturally occurring small proteins capable of blocking CRISPR. This article explains how they work and they can be used to increase the control over CRISPR and reduce the number of unwanted changes.

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