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Consumer Technology Association inducts Ray Kurzweil, 11 other visionaries into the 2017 Consumer Technology Hall of Fame

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 22:49:35 +0000

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) inducted Ray Kurzweil and 11 other industry leaders into the Consumer Technology (CT) Hall of Fame at its 19th annual awards dinner, held Nov. 7, 2017 at the Rainbow Room, atop 30 Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. CTA, formerly Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), created the Hall of Fame in 2000 to honor industry [...]



Nearly every job is becoming more digital — Brookings study

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 03:52:12 +0000

Digital technology is disrupting the American workforce, but in vastly uneven ways, according to a new analysis of 545 occupations in a report published today by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. The report, “Digitalization and the American workforce,” provides a detailed analysis of changes since 2001 in the digital content of 545 occupations that represent 90 [...]



Mapping connections of single neurons using a holographic light beam

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 04:33:02 +0000

Researchers at MIT and Paris Descartes University have developed a technique for precisely mapping connections of individual neurons for the first time by triggering them with holographic laser light. The technique is based on optogenetics (using light to stimulate or silence light-sensitive genetically modified protein molecules called “opsins” that are embedded in specific neurons). Current [...]



New method 3D-prints fully functional electronic circuits

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 02:27:00 +0000

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have developed a method for rapidly 3D-printing fully functional electronic circuits such as antennas, medical devices, and solar-energy-collecting structures. Unlike conventional 3D printers, these circuits can contain both both electrically conductive metallic inks (like the silver wires in the photo above) and insulating polymeric inks (like the yellow and orange [...]



Integrated circuits printed directly onto fabric for the first time

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 02:26:21 +0000

Researchers at the University of Cambridge, working with colleagues in Italy and China, have incorporated washable, stretchable, and breathable integrated electronic circuits into fabric for the first time — opening up new possibilities for smart textiles and wearable textile electronic devices. The circuits were made with cheap, safe, and environmentally friendly inks, and printed using conventional [...]



New silicon ‘Neuropixels’ probes record activity of hundreds of neurons simultaneously

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 01:48:09 +0000

In a $5.5 million international collaboration, researchers and engineers have developed powerful new “Neuropixels” brain probes that can simultaneously monitor the neural activity of hundreds of neurons at several layers of a rodent’s brain for the first time. Described in a paper published today (November 8, 2017) in Nature, Neuropixels probes represent a significant advance in neuroscience [...]



Scientists decipher mechanisms in cells for extending human longevity

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 05:57:09 +0000

A team of scientists at the University of California San Diego led by biologist Nan Hao have combined engineering, computer science, and biology technologies to decode the molecular processes in cells that influence aging. Protecting DNA from damage As cells age, damage in their DNA accumulates over time, leading to decay in normal functioning — [...]



New magnetism-control method could lead to ultrafast, energy-efficient computer memory

Sat, 04 Nov 2017 03:42:41 +0000

Researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Riverside have developed an ultrafast new method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals — a breakthrough that could lead to more energy-efficient computer memory and processing technologies. “The development of a non-volatile memory that is as fast as charge-based random-access memories could dramatically improve performance and energy efficiency [...]



Daydreaming means you’re smart and creative

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 03:49:26 +0000

Daydreaming during meetings or class might actually be a sign that you’re smart and creative, according to a Georgia Institute of Technology study. “People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering,” said Eric Schumacher, an associate psychology professor who co-authored a research paper published in the journal [...]



A tool to debug ‘black box’ deep-learning neural networks

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 02:49:38 +0000

Researchers at Columbia and Lehigh universities have developed a method for error-checking the reasoning of the thousands or millions of neurons in unsupervised (self-taught) deep-learning neural networks, such as those used in self-driving cars. Their tool, DeepXplore, feeds confusing, real-world inputs into the network to expose rare instances of flawed reasoning, such as the incident last [...]



Researchers watch video images people are seeing, decoded from their fMRI brain scans in near-real-time

Sat, 28 Oct 2017 03:29:59 +0000

Purdue Engineering researchers have developed a system that can show what people are seeing in real-world videos, decoded from their fMRI brain scans — an advanced new form of  “mind-reading” technology that could lead to new insights in brain function and to advanced AI systems. The research builds on previous pioneering research at UC Berkeley’s [...]



IBM scientists say radical new ‘in-memory’ computing architecture will speed up computers by 200 times

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 05:49:10 +0000

IBM Research announced Tuesday (Oct. 24, 2017) that its scientists have developed the first “in-memory computing” or “computational memory” computer system architecture, which is expected to yield 200x improvements in computer speed and energy efficiency — enabling ultra-dense, low-power, massively parallel computing systems. Their concept is to use one device (such as phase change memory [...]



This voice-authentication wearable could block voice-assistant or bank spoofing

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 07:11:34 +0000

University of Michigan (U-M) scientists have developed a voice-authentication system for reducing the risk of being spoofed when you use a biometric system to log into secure services or a voice assistant (such as Amazon Echo and Google Home). A hilarious example of spoofing a voice assistant happened during a Google commercial during the 2017 Super [...]



A sneak peak at radical future user interfaces for phones, computers, and VR

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 22:41:49 +0000

Drawing in air, touchless control of virtual objects, and a modular mobile phone with snap-in sections (for lending to friends, family members, or even strangers) are among the innovative user-interface concepts to be introduced at the 30th ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST 2017) on October 22–25 in Quebec City, Canada. Here are three [...]



AlphaGo Zero trains itself to be most powerful Go player in the world

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:42:19 +0000

Deep Mind has just announced AlphaGo Zero, an evolution of AlphaGo, the first computer program to defeat a world champion at the ancient Chinese game of Go. Zero is even more powerful and is now arguably the strongest Go player in history, according to the company. While previous versions of AlphaGo initially trained on thousands of [...]



Leading brain-training game improves memory and attention better than competing method

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:07:42 +0000

A leading brain-training game called “dual n-back” was significantly better in improving memory and attention than a competing “complex span” game, Johns Hopkins University researchers found in a recent experiment.* These results, published Monday Oct. 16, 2017 in an open-access paper in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, suggest it’s possible to train the brain like other body [...]



Scientists report first detection of gravitational waves produced by colliding neutron stars

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 03:37:59 +0000

Scientists reported today (Oct. 16, 2017) the first simultaneous detection of both gravitational waves and light — an astounding collision of two neutron stars. The discovery was made nearly simultaneously by three gravitational-wave detectors, followed by observations by some 70 ground- and space-based light observatories. Neutron stars are the smallest, densest stars known to exist [...]



Using ‘cooperative perception’ between intelligent vehicles to reduce risks

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 20:05:59 +0000

Researchers at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have combined data from two autonomous cars to create a wider field of view, extended situational awareness, and greater safety. Autonomous vehicles get their intelligence from cameras, radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors, and navigation and mapping systems. But there are ways to make them even [...]



Ray Kurzweil + Peter Diamandis: Disruptive Technologies, Mind-Boggling Predictions, and ‘Dangerous Ideas’

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 08:50:36 +0000

Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis presented an Abundance 360 webinar on Friday, October 13 on mind-boggling predictions and transformative (even “dangerous”) ideas. The open-access video is here.



Controlled by a synthetic gene circuit, self-assembling bacteria build working electronic sensors

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 03:44:10 +0000

Using a synthetic gene circuit, Duke University researchers have programmed self-assembling bacteria to build useful electronic devices — a first. Other experiments have successfully grown materials using bacterial processes (for example, MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots). However, they have relied [...]



3D ‘body-on-a-chip’ project aims to accelerate drug testing, reduce costs

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 02:11:26 +0000

A team of scientists at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and nine other institutions has engineered miniature 3D human hearts, lungs, and livers to achieve more realistic testing of how the human body responds to new drugs. The “body-on-a-chip” project, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, aims to help reduce the estimated $2 billion [...]



Teleoperating robots with virtual reality: getting inside a robot’s head

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 23:03:26 +0000

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a virtual-reality (VR) system that lets you teleoperate a robot using an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headset. CSAIL’s “Homunculus Model” system (the classic notion of a small human sitting inside the brain and controlling the actions of the body) embeds you [...]



Fast-moving spinning magnetized nanoparticles could lead to ultra-high-speed, high-density data storage

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 05:54:21 +0000

An international team led by MIT associate professor of materials science and engineering Geoffrey Beach has demonstrated a practical way to use “skyrmions” to create a radical new high-speed, high-density data-storage method that could one day replace disk drives — and even replace high-speed RAM memory. Rather than reading and writing data one bit at [...]



New transistor design enables flexible, high-performance wearable/mobile electronics

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 20:05:52 +0000

A team of University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) engineers has created “the most functional flexible transistor in the world,” along with a fast, simple, inexpensive fabrication process that’s easily scalable to the commercial level. The development promises to allow manufacturers to add advanced, smart-wireless capabilities to wearable and mobile devices that curve, bend, stretch and move.* [...]



Ray Kurzweil on The Age of Spiritual Machines: A 1999 TV interview

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 19:25:21 +0000

Dear readers, For your interest, this 1999 interview with me, which I recently re-watched, describes some interesting predictions that are still coming true today. It’s intriguing to look back at the last 18 years to see what actually unfolded. This video is a compelling glimpse into the future, as we’re living it today. Enjoy! — [...]



Intel’s new ‘Loihi’ chip mimics neurons and synapses in the human brain

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 23:59:51 +0000

Intel announced this week a self-learning, energy-efficient neuromorphic (brain-like) research chip codenamed “Loihi”* that mimics how the human brain functions. Under development for six years, the chip uses 130,000 “neurons” and 130 million “synapses” and learns in real time, based on feedback from the environment.** Neuromorphic chip models are inspired by how neurons communicate and [...]



Why futurist Ray Kurzweil isn’t worried about technology stealing your job — Fortune

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 02:40:41 +0000

Last week, Fortune magazine asked Ray Kurzweil to comment on some often-expressed questions about the future. Does AI pose an existential threat to humanity? Kurzweil sees the future as nuanced, notes writer Michal Lev-Ram. “A lot of people think things are getting worse, partly because that’s actually an evolutionary adaptation,” Kurzweil said. “It’s very important [...]



Human vs. deep-neural-network performance in object recognition

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 01:36:46 +0000

Before you read this: look for toothbrushes in the photo above. Did you notice the huge toothbrush on the left? Probably not. That’s because when humans search through scenes for a particular object, we often miss objects whose size is inconsistent with the rest of the scene, according to scientists in the Department of Psychological [...]



Neuroscientists restore vegetative-state patient’s consciousness with vagus nerve stimulation

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 03:21:25 +0000

A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years after a car accident has shown signs of consciousness after neurosurgeons in France implanted a vagus nerve stimulator into his chest — challenging the general belief that disorders of consciousness that persist for longer than 12 months are irreversible. In a 2007 Weill [...]



Artificial ‘skin’ gives robotic hand a sense of touch

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 02:41:53 +0000

A team of researchers from the University of Houston has reported a development in stretchable electronics that can serve as an artificial skin, allowing a robotic hand to sense the difference between hot and cold, and also offering advantages for a wide range of biomedical devices. The work, reported in the open-access journal Science Advances, [...]



A battery-free origami robot powered and controlled by external magnetic fields

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 01:23:34 +0000

Harvard University researchers have created a battery-free, folding robot “arm” with multiple “joints,” gripper “hand,” and actuator “muscles” — all powered and controlled wirelessly by an external resonant magnetic field. The design is inspired by the traditional Japanese art of origami (used to transform a simple sheet of paper into complex, three-dimensional shapes through a [...]



Scientists remove one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:23:03 +0000

Researchers at the Columbia Engineering Creative Machines lab have developed a 3D-printable, synthetic soft muscle that can mimic natural biological systems, lifting 1000 times its own weight. The artificial muscle is three times stronger than natural muscle and can push, pull, bend, twist, and lift weight — no external devices required. Existing soft-actuator technologies are [...]



New system allows near-zero-power sensors to communicate data over long distances

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 07:11:14 +0000

University of Washington (UW) researchers have developed a low-cost, long-range data-communication system that could make it possible for medical sensors or billions of low-cost “internet of things” objects to connect via radio signals at long distances (up to 2.8 kilometers) and with 1000 times lower required power (9.25 microwatts in an experiment) compared to existing technologies. [...]



Walking DNA nanorobot could deliver a drug to a precise location in your body

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 01:28:48 +0000

Caltech scientists have developed a “cargo sorting” DNA nanorobot programmed to autonomously “walk” around a surface, pick up certain molecules, and drop them off in designated locations. The research is described in a paper in the Friday, September 15, 2017 issue of Science. The major advance in this study is “their methodology for designing simple DNA [...]



Miniature MRI simulator chip could help diagnose and treat diseases in the body at sub-millimeter precision

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 04:27:39 +0000

Caltech researchers have developed a “Fantastic Voyage” style prototype microchip that could one day be used in “smart pills” to diagnose and treat diseases when inserted into the human body. Called ATOMS (addressable transmitters operated as magnetic spins), the microchips could one day monitor a patient’s gastrointestinal tract, blood, or brain, measuring factors that indicate [...]



‘Fog computing’ could improve communications during natural disasters

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 02:07:52 +0000

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a system that uses edge computing (also known as fog computing) to deal with the loss of internet access in natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, and floods. The idea is to create an ad hoc decentralized network that uses computing power built into mobile phones, [...]



These fast, low-cost medical technologies will replace ultrasound and X-rays for specific uses

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 05:19:08 +0000

A radical software invention by three Caltech engineers promises to allow your smartphone camera* to provide detailed information about a critical measure of your heart’s health: the “left ventricular ejection fraction” (LVEF) — the amount of blood in the heart that is pumped out to the blood system with each beat. This figure is used by [...]



A cooling system that works without electricity

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 03:02:24 +0000

Stanford University scientists have developed a high-tech mirror-like optical surface that uses “radiative sky cooling” to dramatically lower the energy required for air conditioning and refrigeration. The system cools water (flowing through pipes connected to an air-conditioning system) without requiring electricity by radiating excess heat from water into cold space. Panels covered in specialized optical [...]



Leading AI country will be ‘ruler of the world,’ says Putin

Mon, 04 Sep 2017 03:20:28 +0000

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Friday (Sept. 1, 2017) that the country that becomes the leader in developing artificial intelligence will be “the ruler of the world,” reports the Associated Press. AI development “raises colossal opportunities and threats that are difficult to predict now,” Putin said in a lecture to students, warning that “it would [...]



A single-molecule room-temperature transistor made from 14 atoms

Sat, 02 Sep 2017 03:00:38 +0000

Columbia Engineering researchers have taken a key step toward atomically precise, reproducible transistors made from single molecules and operating at room temperature — a major goal in the field of molecular electronics. The team created a two-terminal transistor with a diameter of about 0.5 nanometers and core consisting of just 14 atoms. The device can reliably [...]



Astronomers detect 15 high-frequency ‘fast radio bursts’ from distant galaxy

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 05:37:07 +0000

Using the Green Bank radio telescope, astronomers at Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million initiative to find signs of intelligent life in the universe, have detected 15 brief but powerful “fast radio bursts” (FRBs). These microwave radio pulses are from a mysterious source known as FRB 121102* in a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years [...]



Will AI enable the third stage of life?

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 10:00:08 +0000

In his new book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, MIT physicist and AI researcher Max Tegmark explores the future of technology, life, and intelligence. The question of how to define life is notoriously controversial. Competing definitions abound, some of which include highly specific requirements such as being composed of cells, which might [...]



Single-molecule-level data storage may achieve 100 times higher data density

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 02:36:13 +0000

Scientists at the University of Manchester have developed a data-storage method that could achieve 100 times higher data density than current technologies.* The system would allow for data servers to operate at the (relatively high) temperature of -213 °C. That could make it possible in the future for data servers to be chilled by liquid [...]



Black Mirror Season 4 coming to Netflix

Sat, 26 Aug 2017 03:39:44 +0000

Netflix has announced the episode titles for “Black Mirror’s” fourth season, to premiere on the streaming service later this year: “Arkangel,” “Black Museum,” “Crocodile,” “Hang the DJ,” “Metalhead,” and “USS Callister” (an apparent Star Trek takeoff).  



How to design a custom robot in minutes without being a roboticist

Sat, 26 Aug 2017 02:47:31 +0000

MIT’s new “Interactive Robogami” system will let you design a robot in minutes and then 3D-print and assemble it in about four hours. “Designing robots usually requires expertise that only mechanical engineers and roboticists have,” says PhD student Adriana Schulz, co-lead author of a paper in The International Journal of Robotics Research and a researcher [...]



Flexible ‘electronic skin’ patch provides wearable health monitoring anywhere on the body

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 00:18:24 +0000

A radical new electronic skin monitor developed by Korean and U.S. scientists tracks heart rate, respiration, muscle movement, acceleration, and electrical activity in the heart, muscles, eyes, and brain and wirelessly transmits it to a smartphone, allowing for continuous health monitoring. KurzweilAI has covered a number of biomedical skin-monitoring devices. This new design is noteworthy because [...]



A breakthrough new method for 3D-printing living tissues

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 03:48:47 +0000

Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a radical new method of 3D-printing laboratory-grown cells that can form complex living tissues and cartilage to potentially support, repair, or augment diseased and damaged areas of the body. Printing high-resolution living tissues is currently difficult because the cells often move within printed structures and can collapse [...]



KurzweilAI special project August 7–18

Sat, 05 Aug 2017 03:37:54 +0000

Dear reader, The KurzweilAI editorial/research team will be working on a special 10-day project starting Monday August 7, so we will be suspending newsletter publication until Monday August 21. Our website will remain up and we will continue to welcome your emails. We hope you’re enjoying your summer vacation. Thanks for your always-interesting participation, Amara [...]



How to turn a crystal into an erasable electrical circuit

Sat, 05 Aug 2017 03:34:55 +0000

Washington State University (WSU) physicists have found a way to write an electrical circuit into a crystal, opening up the possibility of transparent, three-dimensional electronics that, like an Etch A Sketch, can be erased and reconfigured. Ordinarily, a crystal does not conduct electricity. But when the researchers heated up crystal strontium titanate under the specific conditions, [...]



Ray Kurzweil reveals plans for ‘linguistically fluent’ Google software

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 15:45:25 +0000

Ray Kuzweil, a director of engineering at Google, reveals plans for a future version of Google’s “Smart Reply” machine-learning email software (and more) in a Wired article by Tom Simonite published Wednesday (Aug. 2, 2017). Running on mobile Gmail and Google Inbox, Smart Reply suggests up to three replies to an email message, saving typing [...]