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KurzweilAI | Accelerating Intelligence. Newsletter
Friday March 13, 2015
WEEKLY EDITION
LATEST SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Turning smartphones into personal, real-time pollution-location monitors
March 13, 2015

A small pollution sensor was used to measure their black carbon level continuously, combined with an Android smartphone with CalFit software for recording GPS information on user location (credit: Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen et al./Environmental Science & Technology)Scientists reporting in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology have used smartphone and sensing technology to better pinpoint times and locations of the worst air pollution, which is associated with respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Most such studies create a picture of exposure based on air pollution levels outside people’s homes. This approach ignores big differences in …more…


Out of their minds: a thrilling ride that adapts to riders’ brain activity
March 13, 2015

(credit: Horizon Digital Economy Research)A new ride called Neurosis, based on research from The University of Nottingham, adapts the experience to the rider’s own brain activity. Its world premiere will be at the FutureFest festival taking place in London this weekend. It draws on research being conducted by performance artist/professor Brendan Walker, a principal research fellow in the University’s School of … more…


Chameleon-like artificial ‘skin’ shifts color on demand
March 13, 2015

Developed by engineers from the University of California at Berkeley, this chameleon-like artificial "skin" changes color as a minute amount of force is applied. (credit: The Optical Society/OSA)Engineers from the University of California at Berkeley have created an incredibly thin, chameleon-like material that can be made to change color on demand by simply flexing it with a tiny amount of force. This new material-of-many-colors offers intriguing possibilities for an entirely new class of display technologies, color-shifting camouflage, and sensors that can detect … more…


Vast underground ocean discovered on Jupiter’s largest moon
March 13, 2015

This is an illustration of the interior of Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede. It is based on theoretical models, in-situ observations by NASA's Galileo orbiter, and Hubble Space Telescope observations of the moon's aurorae, which allows for a probe of the moon's interior. The cake-layering of the moon shows that ices and a saline ocean dominate the outer layers. A denser rock mantle lies deeper in the moon, and finally an iron core beneath that. (credit: NASA, ESA and A. Feild/STScI)
"A deep ocean under the icy crust of Ganymede opens up further exciting possibilities for life beyond Earth” --- NASA
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth’s surface. Identifying liquid water is crucial in the search for habitable worlds beyond Earth and for the search of life as … more…


A ‘visual Turing test’ of computer ‘understanding’ of images
March 12, 2015

Athens, Baltimore, Hong Kong, Miami. What are those people doing? A new evaluation method measures a computer’s ability to decipher movements, relationships, and implied intent from images by asking questions (Credit: Brown University)Researchers from Brown and Johns Hopkins universities have come up with a new way to evaluate how well computers can “understand” the relationships or implied activities between objects in photographs, videos, and other images, not just recognize objects — a “visual Turing test,” as they describe it. Traditional computer-vision benchmarks tend to measure an algorithm’s … more…


The corrugated galaxy — Milky Way may be much larger than previously estimated
March 12, 2015

The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples. (Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples. The research, conducted by an international team led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Heidi Jo Newberg, revisits astronomical data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey … more…


A ’3D printer’ for customized small molecules such as drugs
March 12, 2015

3D Printer for Small Molecules1Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists have developed a simpler way to synthesize small molecules, eliminating a major bottleneck in creating new medicines. As the scientists note in the March 13, 2015, issue of the journal Science, “small-molecule syntheses typically employ strategies and purification methods that are highly customized for each target, thus requiring automation solutions to … more…


Bio-inspired eye stabilizes robot’s flight, replaces inertial navigation system
March 11, 2015

The BeeRotor robot, equipped with an eye inspired by that of insects (credit: © Expert & Ruffier (ISM, CNRS/AMU))Biorobotics researchers have developed the first aerial robot able to fly over uneven terrain that is stabilized visually without an accelerometer. Called BeeRotor, it adjusts its speed and avoids obstacles thanks to optic flow sensors inspired by insect vision. It can fly along a tunnel with uneven, moving walls without measuring either speed or altitude. … more…


Silk may be the new ‘green’ ultra-high-capacity material for batteries
March 11, 2015

Silk is graphetized (left) to create porous nitrogen-doped carbon nanosheets as an improved ultra-high-capacity material for battery anodes and supercapacitors (credit: Jianhau Hou et al./ACS Nano)Scientists at Beijing Institute of Technology have developed a new “green” method to boost the performance of widely used lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, using a material derived from silk. Currently, graphite (a form of  carbon found in “lead” pencils) is used in Li-ion energy storage devices, including batteries and supercapacitors. Chuanbao Cao and colleagues found a … more…


‘Heart on a chip’ reduces time and cost in drug testing for safety and efficacy
March 10, 2015

The “heart-on-a-chip” developed at UC Berkeley houses human heart tissue derived from adult stem cells. The system could one day replace animal models for drug safety screening. (credit: Anurag Mathur, Healy Lab)
Replaces animal models, which have a high failure rate in predicting human reactions to new drugs
A UC Berkeley research team led by bioengineering professor Kevin Healy has developed a network of pulsating cardiac muscle cells that models human heart tissue. They have also demonstrated the viability of this system as a drug-screening tool by testing it with cardiovascular medications. This “organ-on-a-chip,” housed in an inch-long silicone (a rubberlike material) device, … more…


Drugs that dramatically increase healthy lifespan discovered by Scripps Research, Mayo Clinic
March 10, 2015

Sprycel (credit: Bristol-Myers Squibb)A research team from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), Mayo Clinic and other institutions has identified a new class of drugs that in animal models dramatically slows the aging process, alleviating symptoms of frailty, improving cardiac function, and extending a healthy lifespan. They found two drugs — the cancer drug dasatinib (sold under the trade name Sprycel) and quercetin, …more…


Future farming to be based on robots and big data
March 9, 2015

QUT's AgBot II (credit: QUT)The farm of the future will involve multiple lightweight, small, autonomous, energy-efficient machines (AgBots) operating collectively to weed, fertilize and control pest and diseases, while collecting vasts amount of data to enable better management decision making,” according to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) robotics Professor Tristan Perez. “We are starting to see automation in agriculture for … more…


First detailed microscopy evidence of ‘nanobacteria’ at the lower size limit of life
March 9, 2015

This cryo-electron tomography image reveals the internal structure of an ultra-small bacteria cell like never before. The cell has a very dense interior compartment and a complex cell wall. The darker spots at each end of the cell are most likely ribosomes. The image was obtained from a 3-D reconstruction. The scale bar is 100 nanometers. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)Scientists have captured the first detailed microscopy images of ultra-small bacteria believed to be about as small as life can get. The existence of ultra-small bacteria (aka “nanobacteria” or “nannobacteria”) has been debated for two decades, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive electron microscopy and DNA-based description of the microbes until now. They are about … more…


Hidden toxins found in ‘green,’ ‘all-natural,’ and ‘organic’ products
March 8, 2015

(credit: iStock)
Fewer than three percent of volatile ingredients identified
A University of Melbourne researcher has found that common consumer products, including those marketed as “green,” “all-natural,” “non-toxic,” and “organic,” emit a range of compounds that could harm human health and air quality. But most of these ingredients are not disclosed to the public. Prof. Anne Steinemann* investigated and compared volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted … more…

NEW EVENTS

FUTUREFESTFutureFest

Dates: Mar 14 – 15, 2015
Location: London, England

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OFC2015colorlogoOFC

Dates: Mar 22 – 26, 2015
Location: Los Angeles, CA

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8th AGI conferenceAGI-15 @ Berlin

Dates: Jul 22 – 25, 2015
Location: Berlin, Germany

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tedmed_logo_retinaTEDMED 2015

Dates: Nov 18 – 20, 2015
Location: Palm Springs, CA

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