News, Technology

Google’s AI beats pro gamers at classic ATARI video games – yes, this is actually important

ATARI's classic arcade video game Breakout. Image: Emuparadise.com

A complex artificial intelligence program developed by DeepMind, a London-based company which was acquired by Google last year for $400 million, mastered classic ATARI video games, like Breakout, Video Pinball, and Space Invaders. It was so effective that it outperformed professional game testers in 29 of the 49 games it tried out. As is the case with such demonstrations, there’s more to it than just humiliating humans. The same algorithms could be used to develop and improve autonomous robots or self-driving cars.

Health & Medicine, News, Technology

Three Austrian men become real-life Cyborgs

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Bionic hands – artificial limbs controlled through thought power – they’re as awesome as they sound, and they’re now a reality. Three Austrian men have become real-life cyborgs after having losing their hands to injury and then undergoing innovative surgery.

Design, News, Technology

MIT Creates Beautiful LED Origami Robot Garden

mit-csail-robot-garden_0

In an attempt to make programming more attractive, MIT has developed a stunning “robot garden”, dozens of fast-changing LED lights and more than 100 origami robots that can crawl, swim, and blossom like flowers. I’ll tell you, if this doesn’t make kids want to code… nothing will! The “garden” was created by a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab

Inventions, News

New beehive extracts honey without disturbing the bees

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Beekeeping can be quite difficult, but thanks to a new invention – it just got a lot easier. Stuart and Cedar Anderson, a father-and-son developed a tap system which allows the honey to be harvested without actually disturbing the bees. The Flow Hive not only reduces bee stress, but also eliminates one of the most laborious and unpleasant activities connected to

News, Research

Indo-european languages appeared 6,500 years ago on Russian steps

Steppe migration

Languages like English, Greek or Hindu, all Indo-European tongues, stem from a common ancestral language family which originated 5,500 – 6,500 years ago, on the Pontic-Caspian steppe stretching from Moldova and Ukraine to Russia and western Kazakhstan. The findings were reported by a group of linguists at University of California, Berkeley after data from more than 150 languages were analyzed. Today, some 3 billion people speak the more than 400 languages and dialects that belong to the Indo-European family.

News, Research

STEM gender gap needs rethinking: men and women just as likely to earn PHD

gender gap in STEM

Many scholars who still seek to explain why more women leave the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pipeline than men are stuck in old times. If in the 1970s, men were 1.6 to 1.7 times as likely as women to later earn a STEM Ph.D., by the 1990s the gender gap had closed and both sexes are as likely to complete their education. Efforts to bridge the gap and promote gender diversity have thus been fruitful. There’s still gender gap in STEM among those who first enroll in college, with roughly three times as many men than women.

Health & Medicine, News, Technology

Three ways gold nanotubes are helping beat cancer

Pulsed near infrared light (shown in red) is shone onto a tumor (shown in white) that is encased in blood vessels. The tumor is imaged by multispectral optoacoustic tomography via the ultrasound emission (shown in blue) from the gold nanotubes. (credit: Jing Claussen/iThera Medical, Germany)

British researchers have demonstrated three ways gold nanotubes can be used against cancer: 1) high resolution in-vivo imaging; 2) drug delivery vehicles; 3) agents that destroy cancer itself. Their work shouldn’t be viewed as yet “another” hack that seeks to eradicate cancer. We need to be more realistic than this. Instead, the findings have the potential to be a great measure that both diagnoses and treats cancer at the same time, complementing conventional surgery and, hopefully, avoiding the need for chemotherapy.

Biology, Materials, News

Limpet Teeth May Be World’s Strongest Material

Limpet species Patella vulgata on a rock surface in Wales. Image via Wiki Commons.

According to a new study, limpet teeth may be the strongest material known to man, stronger than spider silk or kevlar. Scientists from Portsmouth University made the surprising discovery after analyzing limpets with a technique called atomic force microscopy.

News, Space, Technology

NASA wants to explore Titan’s methane oceans with a robot submarine

saturn titan methane sea

At this years’ Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium, NASA’s Glenn COMPASS Team discussed at large the possibility of exploring Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, with a robotic submarine that would dive deep inside the oceans of liquefied natural gas. Such a mission, if ever funded, could help answer some important questions like what are the defining chemical building blocks required to birth and sustain life. Titan is very similar to Earth in terms of cycling systems, elemental composition and terrestrial geography, so there’s much insight to be gained.