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XRDS: News Archive JANUARY-JUNE 2017

Predicting a patient's lifespan

June 23, 2017 — In a first study of its kind using medical images and artificial intelligence, a new research led by University of Adelaide can predict a patient's lifespan simply by looking at images of their organs. The research, now published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, has implications for the early diagnosis of serious illness, and medical intervention. Read the article here.

Smart doll fitted with AI chip can read your child's emotions

Dolls are being designed to determine children's feelings. Researchers from the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) are using AI chips inside dolls to recognize eight emotions. The novelty is that the processing is done locally with a chip that costs $115. This is good news for many applications that need to avoid the cloud. For example, cars moving at high speed do not have enough bandwidth to use the cloud. Moving away from the cloud can help to attain privacy. Read more here.

Algorithm generates origami patterns to produce 3-D structures

June 22, 2017 — Demaine and Tomohiro Tachi of the University of Tokyo will announce a universal algorithm for folding origami shapes that guarantees a minimum number of seams. They are also working to implement the algorithm in a new version of Origamizer, the free software for generating origami crease patterns whose first version was released in 2008. Read more here.


June 20, 2017 — The "Quantum Experiments at Space Scale" or the QUESS satellite has achieved quantum entanglement using photons over a record breaking distance of 1200 km. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Science used two distant ground stations and beamed photons across them using the satellite. The phenomenon of quantum entanglement can be potentially used to develop a secure quantum-communications network. Read more here.


June 19, 2017 — Alphabet's X has been working with the FAA and NASA to develop a new air traffic management system for autonomous drones. The work falls under Project Wing, the X's drone delivery project. The experimental system, called the "unmanned aircraft systems Air Traffic Management" or UTM, automatically plots flight paths to avoid collisions and also allows the FAA to dynamically create or dissolve existing no-fly zones. This new air traffic management system was tested in an experiment involving six drones from different organizations like Intel, Virginia Tech and Alphabet. Read more here.

Simulating the largest virtual cosmos using super computers

June 15, 2017 — Researchers from the University of Zurich have developed and optimised a revolutionary code to describe with unprecedented accuracy the dynamics of dark matter and the formation of large-scale structures in the Universe. They have successfully simulated the formation of our entire Universe with a large supercomputer. Read more here.

Implementing neural networks using photonic technology

June 15, 2017 — Computer scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with a new approach to solving complex computations, using light instead of electricity. The approach could vastly improve the speed and efficiency of such learning systems. Read more here.


June 14, 2017 — "DoubleSwitch" attackers are spreading fake news in Venezuela using the microblogging site Twitter. The attack begins with an account takeover, followed by a number of name changes designed to cover the attacker's identity and confuse followers. The hijackers are using this technique to hijack a large number of high profile Twitter accounts associated with the ongoing protests in Venezuela and to spread fake news using these Twitter handles. Read more here.


June 13, 2017 — Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have led to the development of self-driving cars and intelligent voice assistants, but these advances are yet to benefit the 3 billion people who live in poverty. The AI for Good Global Summit, held in Geneva was convened to address this issue. AI experts, policymakers, and industrialists discussed how AI and robotics can be used to address problems like poverty, malnutrition, and inequality. Read more here.

Digital Innovation in Latin America: How Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru have been experimenting with E-participation

June 12, 2017 — Technology can transform democracies by engaging more citizens in the process. Lately, Latin America has been experimenting with democracy using innovative instruments. The region is the world's third largest online market with Internet penetration rate sabove the world's average, mostly due to its high smartphone adoption. The LATINNO Project at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center focuses its research on Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. These countries introduced 206 innovations for e-participation between 2000 and 2016, 141 are still active this year. The LATINNO Project has discvored innovations with higher impact in the quality of democracy are those that are organized or supported by governments. Read more here.

Inaugural $100,000 Nine Dots Prize winner chosen from more than 700 worldwide entries

June 12, 2017 — Are digital technologies making politics impossible? This was the inaugural question of the Nine Dots Prize, an international competition established to promote thinking out of the box to find an answer to problems facing the modern word. James Williams's 3,000-word answer was selected by a board of 10 leading academics, journalists and thinkers. His innovative answer discusses freedom and persuasion in the attention economy. Besides the monetary reward ($100,000), Williams has been awarded a book deal with Cambridge University Press. Read more here.

Robots with more dexterity

June 9, 2017 — Sensor technology called GelSight, from MIT’s CSAIL that uses physical contact with an object to provide a remarkably detailed 3-D map of its surface, can now be used to give robots greater sensitivity and dexterity. Read more here.

Nano-hologram for a new 3-D world

June 8, 2017 — A research team at RMIT University have developed nano-holograms, 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, to expand the scope for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics. Overcoming the size barrier of the conventional computer-generated holograms, ultrathin holograms are fabricated using simple and fast direct laser writing system, and can be seen without 3D goggles, with applications in medical diagnostics, education, data storage, defense, and cyber security. Read more here.


June 6, 2017 — A team of researchers at Stanford University conducted a study to check the accuracy of activity trackers, revealing activity monitors measure heart beats accurately but not burned calories. Fitness trackers measured heart rates with an error rate of less than 5%, but energy expenditure measurements were off by at least 27%. The team conducted the study on 60 volunteers using seven different activity monitors. Read more here.


June 5, 2017 — At this year's annual developer festival, Google I/O 2017, was announced that Kotlin would be fully supported for Android development. Previously, Java was the primary development language used by Android developers. Kotlin can run on the Java Virtual Machine, is completely interoperable, and has a cleaner syntax. Overall, it is a better-suited language for application development. Read more here.

Stanford team brings quantum computing closer to reality with new materials

May 9, 2017 — Prof. Jelena Vuckovic and her Stanford's team are developing new materials for quantum computing. Quantum computing works by isolating spinning electrons inside a new type of semiconductor material. The ones and zeros of traditional computers are replaced by the spinning states of an electron. When a laser hits an electron, it emits particles of light that reveal which way the electron is spinning. Since there are many ways in which an electron can spin, quantum computing can potentially solve complex problems such biological systems or cryptography. Vuckovic is focused on developing quantum computing chips that may become the building blocks of future systems. The challenge is to find materials that can confine spinning electrons. In addition, such materials should operate at room environment to be a practical solution. Her group is trying different approaches and recently published their results at NaturePhysics and NanoLetters. Vuckovic said it is not yet clear which approach is best. Read the article here.


May 8, 2017 —  Deep-learning systems in autonomous cars are so complicated that even the engineers who built them may be unable to explain their behavior in certain circumstances. Deep-learning systems are not designed to always explain their decisions, making it difficult for them to work out the logic of their decision making. The technology also helps diagnose diseases, make critical decisions, and optimize existing systems. But since it is not accountable to their users, most deep-learning-based systems are still experimental. Read more here.

state-of-the-art camera that behaves like the human eye

May 3, 2017 —  Experts from Kingston University will explore how an artificial vision system inspired by the human eye could be used by robots of the future -- opening up new possibilities for securing footage from deep forests, war zones and even distant planets. Read more here.


April 30, 2017 —  Tiny Arduino and Raspberry Pi processors are being used to build underwater recorders, robots for assembling gene-editing tools, and systems that identify drug-resistant pathogens. As a sign of such usefulness and promise, the number of published scientific research papers including the words Raspberry Pi and Arduino continues to rise. Read more here.


April 29, 2017 —  Basil Harris, an emergency-room physician, and his seven-member team in Philadelphia created a portable “Star-Trek”- like tricorder to detect up to 12 human health conditions, including anemia and diabetes. The team is one of two finalists in the Tricorder XPrize competition aiming to develop a device weighing less than 2.5 kg but able to diagnose specified health conditions with 70% accuracy. Read more here.


April 28, 2017 —  Researchers from Boston University manipulated human-cell DNA and created simple logic gates using these cells. They encoded instructions in the DNA strand of the cells, changing cell behavior depending on stimulus. These “genetic circuits” were programmed to obey 109 different sets of logical instructions. Such genetically modified cells could eventually be used to detect diseases in humans. Read more here.

Researchers working toward indoor location detection

April 24, 2017 —  Rice University computer scientists are mapping a new solution for interior navigational location detection by linking it to existing sensors in mobile devices. The navigational location detection system began as a solution for mobile device users inside large indoor spaces like office complexes or shopping malls where GPS navigation falters under poor signals that quickly deplete battery life. Read more here.

Harnessing heat to power computers

April 24, 2017 —  Heat is commonly regarded as computing's mortal enemy. Two researchers, however, flipped the question of how to keep computers cool to how to use heat as an alternative energy source. Read more here.


April 16, 2017 —  Drug use by American teenagers has been declining for a decade. Researchers now report teens are using drugs less because they entertain themselves more with smartphones and tablets. The fact that drug use has declined while smartphone and tablet use has exploded supports the hypothesis. The National Institute of Drug Abuse plans a meeting of scholars to discuss the effect of increasing use of smartphones on drug abuse. Read more here.


April 14, 2017 —  Amazon launched a program to help students add new capabilities to its voice-controlled AI assistant Alexa. The company will support year-long fellowships at four universities. Amazon has made it easy for third-party developers to create skills for Alexa, possibly giving itself an edge over other companies developing AIs. Read more here.

Workplace diversity will soon include artificial intelligence

April 9, 2017 —  Workplaces that include artificial intelligence (AI) will soon be reality, say researchers who believe the rise of AI in all areas of life is not only inevitable, it's set to reshape the way we think about consciousness and human identity. From Metropolis to 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Terminator, robots and super-intelligent AIs in film have seduced and terrified our collective consciousness, having an impact on how we view artificial intelligence. But will they really crush the puny humans and take over the world? The truth is both less dramatic and more exciting. Read more here.

Inventor of World Wide Web Snags Computer Science's Top Prize

April 9, 2017 — Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, has snagged one of the most prestigious prizes in computer science: the A.M. Turing Award. The computer science rockstar has picked up more than a dozen major prizes and honorific titles over the years as Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) announced the Turing Award winner earlier this week.  Read more here.


April 7, 2017 — A team of scientists from IBM Research has stored a bit of data in a single atom. To create  such a nanoscale hard drive, the atoms have to be magnetized, cooled with liquid helium, and stored  in extreme vacuum. This proof-of- concept method could lead to storage devices the size of a credit  card that would be able to hold 30 million songs. In comparison, current hard drives use 100,000  atoms to store a single bit. Read more here.


April 4, 2017 — A team of NASA scientists at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop proposed building a giant magnetic field to protect the Martian atmosphere from solar winds. Due to the  absence of a protective magnetic field, Mars’s atmosphere is constantly being eroded away by the  solar winds. An artificial protective magnetic field would in theory stop the erosion and help restore  the Martian atmosphere, possibly leading to a warmer Martian climate that would melt the frozen carbon dioxide at the planet’s poles. The released carbon dioxide could then trigger a greenhouse  effect and melt Mars’s water ice, followed by flowing rivers and oceans. Watch the presentation here.

Psychological interventions to cut traumatic memories: Tetris or Candy Crush?

March 31, 2017 — The popular building-block computer game Tetris might be more than just an idle pastime that keeps you glued to a screen. Playing it shortly after experiencing a traumatic event seems to block some of the recurrent intrusive memories that people are often left with. The proof-of-concept of the role, which Tetris could play within psychological interventions after trauma, is described in Springer Nature's journal Molecular Psychiatry, in a study jointly led by Lalitha Iyadurai of the University of Oxford in the UK with Emily Holmes of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Read the news release here.

Controlling turtle motion with human thought

March 31, 2017 — Researchers at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed a technology that can remotely control an animal's movement with human thought. This technology could be developed to integrate positioning systems and improved augmented and virtual reality techniques, enabling various applications, including devices for military reconnaissance and surveillance. See the report here.


March 28, 2017 — Princeton University researchers built the world’s first photonic neural network, computing  a mathematical differential equation 1,960 times faster than if they had used a conventional central  processing unit. The network uses artificial neurons and photons instead of transistors and electrons. See the report here.


March 25, 2017 — Columbia University researchers managed to store a full computer operating system, as  well as a short film, on DNA molecules and retrieved the data with no errors. They used 72,000  strands of DNA, with 215 petabytes of data per each gram of DNA. Read more here.

quadruped robot exhibits gait transition phenomena

March 24, 2017 — A research group, of Professor Akio Ishiguro and Assistant Professor Dai Owaki of Tohoku University, has demonstrated that by changing only its parameter related to speed, a quadruped robot can spontaneously change its steps. They achieved this via a decentralized control scheme, using a simple local rule in which a leg continues to support the body while sensing weight on the corresponding leg. Moreover, they confirmed that the energy-efficiency profile of the robot's gait patterns matched those measured in horses. Read more here.

Algorithm automatically generates family trees

March 18, 2017 — Doctoral student Eric Malmi has developed a family tree algorithm called AncestryAI which looks for links between 5 million baptisms from the end of the 17th to the mid-19th century and partly to the beginning of the 20th century. The family tree algorithm automatically searches for a child's most probable parents and creates family trees based on this. The algorithm gives several options based on the parents' date and place of birth and similar names. The algorithm takes about half an hour to link all the records in the data. Visit the application here.

Watch, Attend and Spell has the potential to lip-read

March 18, 2017 — Watch, Attend and Spell (WAS) is a new artificial intelligence (AI) software system that has been developed by Oxford, in collaboration with the company DeepMind, and has the potential to lip-read more accurately than people to help those with hearing loss. The AI system uses computer vision and machine learning methods to learn how to lip-read from a dataset made up of more than 5,000 hours of TV footage, gathered from six different programmes including Newsnight, BBC Breakfast and Question Time. The videos contained more than 118,000 sentences in total, and a vocabulary of 17,500 words. Read more here.

multi-device system for handling emergencies

March 18, 2017 — Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have presented a prototype of a multi-device system that can involve citizens in managing emergencies. The system, which can be used through a smart tabletop, can identify individuals in the area of the hazard and communicate directly with them. The ability of the system to distinguish between different types of agents, more or less reliable and more or less prepared to act, can support decision-making at the control center and can be used to envision sustainable policies of service co-production. Read more here.


March 14, 2017 — Researchers at the University of Bristol have created a battery by encapsulating nuclear waste within diamonds, providing a small but steady stream of electricity for, perhaps, thousands of years. Nuclear waste management costs tens of millions of dollars annually of taxpayer money in the U.S. alone. Such innovations could provide maintenance-free power for portable, low-power electronics. Read more about it here.


March 11, 2017 — Jigsaw, a technology incubator within Alphabet, has developed a free new tool to help web publishers identify toxic comments. Called Perspective, it rates comments on a scale of 0 to 100 depending on toxicity level of the comment. Web publishers can then simply choose to remove comments above a certain level of toxicity. Read more here.

Studying the origins of altruism

March 10, 2017 — A computer-based environment has been developed with the aim to shed light on the origins of altruism. This new study immersed participants in a virtual environment that reproduced a building on fire which they had to evacuate in a hurry, deciding whether to save their lives or interrupt their escape and help rescue an injured person. The results showed that altruistic individuals self-reported to have greater concern for others’ wellbeing and had larger right anterior insula compared to non-altruists. Read more here.


March 4, 2017 — In a recent study, a quantum computer built at the University of Maryland was matched against another quantum computer built by IBM in an algorithm-crunching exercise. The result was inconclusive as one was faster while the other was more reliable. The positive takeaway was that, for the first time, two quantum computers were compared and tested on the same parameters. The two computers used dramatically different technologies. Read more here.

high-throughput computing resources to refine knee surgical procedures

March 3, 2017 — Darryl Thelen, Harvey D. Spangler Professor in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducts research while using computational models of the musculoskeletal system and high-throughput computing resources to refine knee surgical procedures. OpenSim software, a freely distributed open source software package developed under a Biocomputing grant from the National Institutes of Health is used to investigate joint contact pressures by simulating movements such as walking, running and stair climbing in his research. Read the report here.

framework to understand future terrorist behaviors

March 3, 2017 — In an attempt to uncover the intentions of terrorists, government agencies are now more carefully utilizing technologies for planning and preparing for attacks. Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have built a framework that is able to understand future terrorist behaviors by recognizing patterns in past attacks. The proposed Networked Pattern Recognition (NEPAR) framework, by defining the useful patterns of attacks to understand behaviors, to analyze patterns and connections in terrorist activity, to predict terrorists' future moves, finally, prevents and detects potential terrorist behaviors. Read the report here.

organic artificial synapse to recreate human brain

February 25, 2017 — For all the improvements in computer technology over the years, we still struggle to recreate the low-energy, elegant processing of the human brain. A new organic artificial synapse could support computers that better recreate the way the human brain processes information. It could also lead to improvements in brain-machine technologies. Find the report here.

first collision for Industry Security Standard SHA-1

February 25, 2017 — Researchers at CWI and Google jointly announced that they have broken the SHA-1 internet security standard in practice. The industry standard, used for digital signatures, file integrity verification and for securing credit card transactions, electronic documents, GIT open-source software repositories and software distribution, though deprecated by NIST in 2011 after exposed weaknesses is still in use. They successfully broke the industry standard SHA-1 using a so-called collision attack. Read the complete release here.

Can a computer care for the creatures you love?

February 25, 2017 — For scientists who monitor endangered species, sedating and capturing animals are tried-and-true methods to count and track individuals in a given population—along with photography and experts’ sharp eyes. Biologists and computer scientists at Michigan State University have built a facial recognition system, called LemurFaceID, which with a little training, correctly identified individuals in a set of red-bellied lemur photos with 98 percent accuracy. Read more here.


February 21, 2017 — A new report by the Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center concluded that algorithms and advances in technology can lead to loss in human judgment. The report included responses from 1,300 technology experts, scholars, businesspeople, and government officials. Their responses suggest they feel humanity and human judgment are lost when data and predictive modeling become paramount, and that as algorithms take on human responsibilities, and essentially begin to create themselves, “humans may get left out of the loop. Read more here.


February 17, 2017 — Researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering are making a critical machine-to-machine handshake possible with onboard artificial intelligence technology in autonomous vehicles to be able to link them to highly detailed maps that reflect every change in the status of lanes, hazards, obstacles, and speed-limits in real time. They are developing a deep learning system that will allow self-driving cars to navigate, maneuver, and respond to changing road conditions by mating data from onboard sensors to information on HERE HD Live Map, a cloud-based service for automated driving. Read more here.


February 17, 2017 — Engineering researchers at Michigan State University have developed the first stretchable integrated circuit that is made entirely using an inkjet printer, raising the possibility of inexpensive mass production of smart fabric. The smart fabric is made up of several materials fabricated from nanomaterials and organic compounds. These compounds are dissolved in solution to produce different electronic inks, which are run through the printer to make the devices. Read more here.


February 14, 2017 — The second phase of SpaceX's Hyperloop competition included 27 competing teams testing fully functional pods at the company's facility in Hawthorne, CA. SpaceX had invited them to build prototype vehicles for Hyperloop, its proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at greater-than-airline speed. The Delft Hyperloop team from the Delft University of Technology scored the highest overall score. The next phase of the competition is scheduled for later this year. Read more about Hyperloop here.


February 11, 2017 — The $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE is a competition to challenge and inspire engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration, sending the first private spacecraft to the surface of the Moon. Out of the initial 16 contestant teams, five—SpaceIL, Moon Express, Synergy Moon, Team Indus, and Hakuto—are officially moving forward into the competition’s final stretch. The finalists are based in various countries, including India, Israel, Japan, and the U.S., as well as an international team. The competitors have until the end of the year to launch their spacecraft. Visit the XPRIZE website here.

spectrometry to detect harmful cells in the body

February 10, 2017 — A special spectrometry method that is normally used in analyses of computer chips, lacquers and metals has been further developed so that it can help researchers better detect harmful cells in the body at University of Gothenburg.The refined mass spectrometry method also reveals that the area where the cancer tumour was found and displays a variety of lipid profiles. Find more here.

governing traffic flow in engineered and biological systems

February 10, 2017 — Deciding on how to route information fairly and efficiently through a distributed system with no central authority was a priority for the Internet’s founders, based on which a discovery from Salk Institute shows that an algorithm used for the Internet is also at work in the human brain, an insight that improves our understanding of engineered and neural networks and potentially even learning disabilities. Read more here.

human brain inspires deep learning method

February 6, 2017 — In an attempt to uncover the semisupervised learning algorithm implemented by the neural circuits in the visual cortex and how that relates to the theory of deep learning, neuroscientists and artificial intelligence experts from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have taken inspiration from the human brain in creating a new deep learning method that enables computers to learn about the visual world largely on their own, much as human babies do.  Read more here.

artificial player that excels at the arcade game Ms Pac-Man

February 6, 2017 — Engineers at Cornell have developed an AI that has managed the highest score in the game Ms Pac-Man. Indications seem to be that the project will be revisited further down the line. Professor Silvia Ferrari has stated that they would improve their artificial player by allowing it to learn from its own mistakes as it plays more games. Read more here.


February 5, 2017 — Libratus, an artificial intelligence program developed at Carnegie Mellon University, beat four human players in a poker marathon lasting 20 days. In a similar tournament in 2015, the humans won. The algorithms behind Libratus can also take information and output a strategy in a range of non-poker-playing scenarios, including negotiation, finance, medical treatment, and cyber security. Read more here.


February 3, 2017 — A team of British and Czech scientists successfully tested a “super laser” they claim is 10 times more powerful than any other of its kind on Earth. The so-called super laser, developed by Britain’s Central Laser Facility and the Czech Institute of Physics’ high average power pulsed laser, or HiLASE, has a 1,000-watt average power output, a benchmark of sustained high-energy pulses. The super laser has potential for hardening metal surfaces, processing semiconductors, and micro-machining material. Nicknamed “Bivoj,” after a Hercules-like hero in Czech mythology, it weighs approximately 20 ton and costs $48 million.Read about it here.


January 29, 2017 — Researchers at Binghamton University in New York have created a bacteria-powered battery on a single sheet of paper. The project is aimed at creating batteries for disposable microelectronics that can run for weeks using bacteria-rich liquid. The battery generates power through cellular respiration, and a configuration of six such batteries can generate 31.51 microwatts at 125.53 microamps. The manufacturing technique developed by the researchers reduces fabrication time and cost, and the design could revolutionize the use of bio-batteries as a power source in remote, dangerous, and resource-limited areas.Read more here.


January 28, 2017 — Researchers at Stanford University have designed a lithium-ion battery that contains a fire-extinguishing material to be released if the battery gets too hot. Triphenyl phosphate (TPP), a flame retardant, sits inside a shell that melts when the temperature reaches 150°C, releasing the triphenyl phosphate. Previous attempts to incorporate TPP inside batteries without the shell have hampered battery performance. In tests, battery fires were extinguished in 0.4 seconds. Read the research article here.

helping heart patients to take their medications correctly

January 27, 2017 — A tablet computer application, called MyIDEA - My Interventional Drug-Eluting Stent Education App, was developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago to help heart patients with drug-eluting stents to take their medications correctly. The app uses a patient-centered narrative to help patients understand the importance of taking their medication The educational application is set to be tailored to patients by incorporating their own health information, from symptoms and treatment to care team information. Find more here.


January 27, 2017 — In hopes of creating better access to medical care, researchers at Stanford University have trained an algorithm to diagnose skin cancer. They made a database of nearly 130,000 skin disease images and trained the algorithm to visually diagnose potential cancer. From the very first test, it performed with inspiring accuracy. Although this algorithm currently exists on a computer, the team would like to make it smartphone compatible in the near future, bringing reliable skin cancer diagnoses to our fingertips. Read more here.


January 26, 2017 — IBM, known for making bold predictions about the future, announced a "5 in 5" list, highlighting the five technology innovations it thinks will have the greatest effect on human lives over the next five years.The company predicts we will see significant developments in AI technology, ultra-powerful telescopes, smart sensors, and medical devices—with benefits ranging from healthcare and the environment to our understanding of the Earth and the Universe itself. All these predictions are based on technology and research developments happening right now. Watch the videos here.


January 21, 2017 — Adobe Research is working on "intelligent digital assistant photo editing" that interacts with the user and helps crop, reframe, and share the picture entirely through voice commands. Users with limited photo editing skills, limited mobility, or no access to desktop Adobe services could greatly benefit from the digital assistant if it becomes capable of recognizing natural voice commands with accuracy. The software isn’t real at the moment, but it’s certainly an interesting idea. Adobe says it is “a first step towards a robust multimodal voice-based interface which allows our creative customers to search and edit images in an easy and engaging way using Adobe mobile applications”. Watch the demo video here.

Framework to improve cyber physical systems

January 20, 2017   However streamlined as cyber-physical systems may appear, the technology developed within manufacturing systems are not designed to accommodate it. To change that, researchers banded together from Michigan Technological University, Boston University, University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, Riverside to lay the groundwork for better design in cyber-physical systems. They are trying to decipher that whether a durable design methodology, such as the design flow, will emerge for cyber-physical systems. The answer, they say, depends on how well cross-disciplinary teams learn to manage heterogeneous and dynamic technologies across large scales while accounting for human users. Read here.

using heart's electrical pattern as encryption key

January 20, 2017   Researchers at Binghamton University have devised a new way to protect personal electronic health records using a patient's own heartbeat. Traditional security measures like cryptography or encryption can be expensive, time-consuming, and computing-intensive. Binghamton researchers encrypted patient data using a person's unique electrocardiograph (ECG), a measurement of the electrical activity of the heart measured by a biosensor attached to the skin, as the key to lock and unlock the files. Find the report here.


January 18, 2017   The members of the European Parliament think that it is essential to establish comprehensive rules about artificial intelligence and robots. The parliament thinks that we are on a threshold of a "new industrial revolution" and it has issued a report that looks into the need to create a legal status just for robots which would see them dubbed as “electronic persons”. Having their own legal status would mean that robots would have their own legal rights and obligations, including taking responsibility for autonomous decisions or independent interactions. Read the full report here.

gaming algorithm to enhance a DNA sequencing Android app

January 13, 2017   GelApp, developed by intern Jia-Zhi Sim under the supervision of Samuel Ken-En Gan and Hwee Kuan Lee at the A*STAR Bioinformatics Institute, analyzes and labels outputs from 'gel electrophoresis'—a common laboratory technique that separates and identifies molecules, such as DNA and proteins, by passing a sample through a gel under electric charge. They are now employing the Monte Carlo Tree Search algorithm, used to great effect in Google’s Alpha-Go, which is being trained using expertly labeled gel band images and then continues to learn from individual GelApp users according to their own laboratory set-up and inputs. Learn more here.


January 13, 2017   In an attempt to disambiguate people with common names, two computer scientists from the School of Science at the Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis and a Purdue University doctoral student have developed a novel-machine learning method to provide better solutions to this perplexing problem. They report that the new method is an improvement on currently existing approaches of name disambiguation because the IUPUI method works on streaming data that enables the identification of previously unencountered common names. Read more here.


January 11, 2017   Facebook co-founder Mark Zukerberg published a video about an AI that he developed in 2016. The AI named Jarvis has powerful capabilities, like understanding natural language, face recognition, speech recognition, and many more features. The fundamental approach of the entire AI system is the use of pattern matching techniques in some form or another. A central feature of Jarvis is to associate the context with commands given by the user. This is critical for proper interpretation of the instruction. The AI responds to open-ended user requests such as "play me some music" by analyzing the user's past behavior. Jarvis improves itself whenever it makes a mistake and users correct it. Jarvis already has an iOS app and an Android app is in the making. Zukerberg plans to make the source code public soon. Read more about Jarvis here.

Baidu family robot a Chinese spin on Amazon Echo

January 10, 2017   In a year of conversational computing, Baidu released its robot called Xiaoyu Zaijia at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas ahead of its release in China later this year. While using voice to interact with computers that are able to essentially learn from experience was among the hot trends at CES, but unlike faceless Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices that rely on people asking for information or controlling devices by speaking, the device also features a touch-screen on top of its orb-shaped base. Read more here


January 5, 2017   Kaspersky Lab experts have discovered a Trojan malware infecting Android devices. Called "Switcher", the malware targets Wi-Fi routers connected to the infected device and gains web administrator access. Switcher achieves this by a brute force attack on the web interface of the router. After the malware has obtained access to the router, it then changes the DNS server settings of the router so that all traffic from the router is directed through the attacker's server. All devices connected to the hacked router become susceptible to malware infections and phishing attacks. The malware is distributed as a fake clone of an Android client of the Baidu search engine. The rise of malware attacks like Switcher and Gooligan is raising serious concerns over the security of Android mobile OS, which runs on more than a billion devices today. Read more about Switcher here. 

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