This week - self-driving cars to be allowed on UK roads this year; human augmentation is now necessary; AI chip big as your head; NYPD returns its robot dog; and more!
More Than A Human
Paralympian runner Blake Leeper has been prevented from competing at the Tokyo Olympics, because his two prosthetic legs have been ruled to give him an unfair advantage. Blake Leeper wanted to emulate Oscar Pistorius's feat of competing against able-bodied runners at the Olympics. However, the World Athletics review panel ruled his carbon-fibre prosthetics made him "unnaturally tall".
Speaking at an Air Force Research Laboratory event, Space Force chief scientist Joel Mozer suggested that we’re entering an era during which soldiers can become a "superhuman workforce", thanks to new tech including augmented and virtual reality, sophisticated AI, and nerve stimulation.
Roam Robotics has released Ascend - a small exoskeleton designed to improve mobility and relief knee pain. The product, which joins the company’s skier and military-focused offers, sports embedded sensors that can detect things like movement up and down stairs and standing up from a seated position. It utilizes a power source and air compressor to create motion to assist in movement. The device is up for preorder and starts shipping later this summer.
AI revolution is happening not only in software but also in hardware. The field contains big companies like Nvidia and small startups like Cerebras which unveiled their newest chip - Wafer Scale 2. This monster of a chip has 2.6 trillion transistors, 850,000 AI cores and it is as big as your head. Ian Cutress explains in details why this chip exists in details in this video.
"Self-driving" vehicles could be allowed on UK roads by the end of this year, the government has said. The Department for Transport said automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS) would be the first type of hands-free driving legalised. The technology controls the position and speed of a car in a single lane and it will be limited to 37mph (60km/h). The government confirmed that drivers will not be required to monitor the road or keep their hands on the wheel when the vehicle is driving itself. But the driver will need to stay alert and be able take over when requested by the system within 10 seconds.
The New York Police will stop using Spot in policing after received waves of criticism. The police was criticised for aggressive and dystopian use of the robot.
Jake Ternent, who has gradually losing vision due to a rare genetic condition, has become the first person in the UK to receive new gene therapy to restore his eyesight,
This spring, the biotechnology company Oxitec plans to release genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. Oxitec says its technology will combat dengue fever, a potentially life-threatening disease, and other mosquito-borne viruses — such as Zika — mainly transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The plan has been greenlit by EPA but some scientists and locals want to halt the deployment.
With a pair of new tools, named CRISPRoff and CRISPRon, researchers were able to turn genes on and off without touching the genes. These tools operate on the epigenetics level and could open new ways of controlling when and how a gene is expressed.