21st October 2016

Issue #72

In this issue – exoskeletons. Brain-computer interface that allows to feel touch. Microsoft created an AI that is really good at understanding human speech. The blind spot of AI. All new Tesla cars are ready to be self-driving cars. Amazon has a drone for you and me and more!


More Than A Human

Providing a Sense of Touch through a Brain-Machine Interface

I like the Cylon poster in the lab. A DARPA-funded research team has demonstrated for the first time in a human a technology that allows an individual to experience the sensation of touch directly in the brain through a neural interface system connected to a robotic arm.

Rehab Exoskeletons: A Comic Book Idea Come to Life

We were seeing mechanical exoskeletons only in movies or comics. Today, thanks to companies like Ekso Bionics, exoskeletons are becoming a reality and are helping people walk again.

Bio-interfaced nanoengineering: human-machine interfaces

Hong Yeo leads a research team that is developing a novel nanofluidic sensor system for cancer diagnostics and human-machine interfaces via skin-like electronic systems. But later he shows an example how the same interface can be used to control a drone.

Robin Hanson Interview – The Age of Em

Robin Hanson on whole brain emulation, and what the world will be like 1 year after we upload ourselves to the internet, considering economics, physics, psychology, and other scientific perspectives.

Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft researchers reach human parity in conversational speech recognition

Microsoft has made a major breakthrough in speech recognition, creating a technology that recognizes the words in a conversation as well as a person does. In their paper, a team of researchers and engineers in Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research reported a speech recognition system that makes the same or fewer errors than professional transcriptionists.

There is a blind spot in AI research

AI is everywhere these days. It enters every aspect of our lives, promising changes for good. But no one really tested or investigated how does AI impact of technologies on social, cultural and political settings. That’s why some researchers are calling to start doing social-systems analysis to check the social impacts of the technology at every stage — conception, design, deployment and regulation.

White House’s Report on AI

Here a report made by the White House on the opportunities, considerations, and challenges of artificial intelligence in different areas, like national security, regulations, jobs and economy.

New Neuro-Inspired Computer Trains Itself

Using an artificial intelligence algorithm called reservoir computing, combined with another algorithm called backpropagation, the team of researchers from Belgium developed a neuro-inspired analog computer that can train itself and improve at whatever task it’s performing.

Robotics

All Tesla cars built from today on have all hardware needed for full self-driving

If you buy a brand new Tesla car, either Model S, Model X or Model 3, then congratulations, your new car has all the hardware needed to make it a fully self-driving car.

Cozmo is what happens when AI meets mischievous child

This robot is really cute. I want one.

The World’s Smallest Drone is Voice Controlled, And it Can Fit in Your Pocket

Amazon created a new drone. But it isn’t a delivery drone. It’s a personal drone equipped with Alexa to understand voice commands. Amazon envisions the drone being used from recovery of lost persons and items, to providing assistance to policemen and firefighters. It’s Amazon’s first venture into a drone product for consumers – not just for delivery.

This Robot Can Do More Push-Ups Because It Sweats

Japanese researchers have built a humanoid robot that does not use any radiator, heats sinks, fans or other classic cooling systems. Instead, it is cleverly designed to “sweat” in order to cool itself. Thanks to this solution, the robot can run longer on full power or do push-ups for 11 minutes.

Bioinspired Robotics: Softer, Smarter, Safer

A group of experts in bio-inspired robotics explains what are soft robots and how we can learn from nature to build more reliable robotic systems, with a little help from AI and swarm intelligence. It gives you a high overview of this exciting field in robotics.

Biotechnology

New Synthetic Biology Factory Will Design, Build, and Test Custom Organisms

Gingko Bioworks launched their new laboratory last month—an automated “factory” that mass-produces genetically modified organisms. The company is combining innovative concepts of engineering and biology to manufacture unique organisms for a wide variety of applications.

DARPA Gives MIT Lab $32 Million To Program Living Cells

The Broad Institute Foundry, a synthetic biology laboratory at MIT, announced its new contract with DARPA. The lab will receive $32 million for engineering cells to find better treatments for disease, make new biofuels, or create fabrics woven with life.

** Could we really make Super Mutants from Fallout?**

ShoddyCast asks how far are we from creating super mutants as seen in Fallout universe? Thanks to CRISPR, it stopped being something straight from science fiction.

New Nanobiotech Chip May Help Doctors Discover Cancer Earlier

IBM scientists have created chip-based separation of particles 20 nm in diameter. In other words, they have create a lab-on-a-chip. It allows previously lab-based tests to be done on a single chip, creating new possibilities in cancer detection and preventive medicine.

U + life the era of microchip medicine

A lecture by Professor Chris Toumazou (1 hour long). He explains how he created U+ Life, a small device that can analyze DNA. It harnesses the power of semiconductor technology and microchips for the treatment of chronic diseases. It provides personalised solutions for early detection, point of care diagnostics and therapeutics to help tackle the global problem of chronic disease in a consumer-oriented way.

3D Print All The Things!

Bill Nye: 3D Printing is Awesome, but It’s Nothing Compared to What’s Coming

Bill Nye talks about the future where additive manufacturing is available to everyone and how will that democratize the technology and generally make us more efficient.

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