Issue #382

This week - a free and open source AI code generator; Darth Vader's voice will be generated by an AI; robo-ostrich sprints to 100m World Record; fast and cheap genome sequencing is here; and more!


More Than A Human

▶️ The Affordable, 3D-Printed Bionics of the Future (5:03)

Creating functional prosthetics at a fraction of the cost of imported tech, bionic innovator Enzo Romero shares a groundbreaking model for designing 3D-printed assistive technology sourced from recycled materials - built in and for his native Peru. In this talk, Romero shares how Luke Skywalker's bionic hand in Star Wars inspired him to pursue mechatronics engineering and help people with disabilities and limited resources fully live again.

A bionic pancreas could solve one of the biggest challenges of diabetes

Researchers have created a bionic pancreas that monitors a person’s levels around the clock and automatically delivers insulin when needed. The device uses an algorithm to calculate a meal’s carbohydrates, then automatically releases insulin, taking those burdens off the patient.

Artificial Intelligence

Hugging Face and ServiceNow launch BigCode, a project to open source code-generating AI systems

There are already code-generating AIs available, like AlphaCode, CodeWhisperer or Codex. But none of them is freely available to the public and open-sourced. Hugging Face and Service Now want to change that with BigCode - a  new project that aims to develop “state-of-the-art” AI systems for code in an “open and responsible” way.

James Earl Jones lets AI take over the voice of Darth Vader

James Earl Jones, who was the voice of Darth Vader from the very beginning of Star Wars, signed over the rights to his archival voice work, which opened a way to recreate his iconic voice with an AI voice generator for future Star Wars movies.

Bad robot: Europe plans product liability changes to make it easier to sue AIs

The European Union is to update product liability laws to tackle the risk of damage caused by artificial intelligence systems and address other liability issues arising from digital devices — such as drones and smart devices. EU justice commissioner, Didier Reynders, said modernization of the legal framework is needed to take account of “digital transformation” generally and the ‘blackbox’ explainability challenge that AI specifically poses in order to ensure that consumers are able to obtain redress for harms caused by modern products.

Robotics

Pinch-grasping robot handles items with precision

In this blog post, researches from Amazon share the results of implementing a robot that grabs items using a pinch-grasping motion rather a suction. They report a 10-fold reduction in damage on items such as books and boxes with this approach and hope their work will find its way to automate Amazon's warehouses.

Robo-Ostrich Sprints to 100-meter World Record

Cassie, an ostrich-like robot from Agility Robotics, completed a 100m sprint in 24.73 seconds with an average speed of 4m/s. This achievement gave Cassie a Guinness World Record for the fastest 100-meter run by a bipedal robot.

Tiny Swimming Robots Treat Deadly Pneumonia in Mice

Nanoengineers have developed microrobots made of algae cells that can swim around in the lungs, deliver medication and be used to clear up life-threatening cases of bacterial pneumonia. In mice, the microrobots safely eliminated pneumonia-causing bacteria in the lungs and resulted in 100% survival. By contrast, untreated mice all died within three days after infection.

Biotechnology

The Era of Fast, Cheap Genome Sequencing Is Here

Illumina released a new genome sequencing machine that can sequence an entire human genome for $200 while providing a readout at twice the speed. “As we look to the next decade, we believe we’re entering the era of genomic medicine going mainstream. To do that requires the next generation of sequencers. We need price points to keep coming down to make genomic medicine and genomic tests available much more broadly”, said Illumina CEO.

Giving Baby Mice This Drug Makes Them Live 10 Percent Longer

Scientists have confirmed that administering the drug rapamycin to baby mice everyday for the first 45 days of their lives extends life expectancy by an average 10%. And importantly, their lives weren't just longer. Instead, the researchers believe, the rapamycin appeared to actually slow aging down in male mice. They went through all the normal mouse life cycles, but it just took longer. The rapamycin-powered male mice were also faster, stronger, and all-around healthier than those who didn't receive the pharmaceutical.

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