- AI will upload and access our memories, predicts Siri co-inventor
- The Human To Mars Summit 2017
- Quadriplegia patient uses brain-computer interface to move his arm by just thinking
- The first 2D microprocessor — based on a layer of just 3 atoms
- Who can save Humanity from Superintelligence?
- In a neurotechnology future, human-rights laws will need to be revisited
- The AI Summit San Francisco
- ‘Negative mass’ created at Washington State University
- Elon Musk wants to enhance us as superhuman cyborgs to deal with superintelligent AI
- What if you could type directly from your brain at 100 words per minute?
- Neuron-recording nanowires could help screen drugs for neurological diseases
- Could there be life below Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa?
- How to condense water out of air using only sunlight for energy
- Graphene-oxide sieve turns seawater into drinking water
- New Cities Summit
- Solve at MIT
- Nanopores map small changes in DNA for early cancer detection
- Glowing nanoparticles open new window for live optical biological imaging
- CBC • The National | Ray Kurzweil predicts end of disease, AI leaps
- Uniform | solo the emotional radio
- Carnegie Mellon University AI beats top Chinese poker players
- Alpha Go to take on world’s number one Go player in China
- ‘Strange Beasts’: Is this the future of augmented reality?
- Patient moves paralyzed legs with help from electrical stimulation of spinal cord
- Starship Congress 2017
- Neural probes for the spinal cord
- Astronomers detect atmosphere around Earth-like planet
- This contact lens could someday measure blood glucose and other signs of disease
- Mass production of low-cost, flexible inkjet-printed electronics
- The New Yorker | Silicon Valley’s quest to live forever
- National Geographic | Beyond Human: how humans are shaping our own evolution
- Magnetically storing a bit on a single atom — the ultimate future data storage
- The next agricultural revolution: a ‘bionic leaf’ that could help feed the world
- GPU Technology Conference
- This advance could finally make graphene-based semiconductor chips feasible
- Scientists grow beating heart tissue on spinach leaves
- Vanity Fair | Elon Musk’s billion dollar crusade to stop the AI apocalypse
- The New York Times • Book Review | How we’ll end up merging with our technology
- Global night-time lights provide unfiltered data on human activities and socio-economic factors
- Graphene-based neural probe detects brain activity at high resolution and signal quality
- The Blockchain Alternative: rethinking macroeconomic policy & economic theory
- BICA 2017
- The Most Human Human: what artificial intelligence teaches us about being alive
- Musk launches company to pursue ‘neural lace’ brain-interface technology
- Disruptive Technologies: Understand, Evaluate, Respond
- Travelers to Mars risk leukemia cancer, weakened immune function from radiation, NASA-funded study finds
- Global Biotechnology Congress 2017
- Scientists reverse aging in mice by repairing damaged DNA
- Go-Mentum Station | New test track for high-tech automated vehicles
- A printable, sensor-laden ‘skin’ for robots (or an airplane)
"Hey Siri, what's the name of that person I met yesterday?" (credit: Apple Inc.)Instead of replacing humans with robots, artificial intelligence should be used more for augmenting human memory and other human weaknesses, Apple Inc. executive Tom Gruber suggested at the TED 2017 conference yesterday (April 25, 2017). Thanks to the internet and our smartphones, much of our personal data is already being captured, notes Gruber, who was one the inventors of voice-controlled intelligent-assistant Siri. Future AI memory enhancement could be especially life-changing for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, he suggested. LIMITLESS "Superintelligence should give us super-human abilities," he said. "As machines get smarter, so do we. Artificial intelligence can enable partnerships where each human on the team is doing what they do best. Instead of asking how smart we can make our machines, let's ask how smart our machines can make us. "I can't say when or what form factors are involved, but I think it is inevitable," he said. “What if you could have a memory that was as good as computer memory and is about your life? What if you could remember every person you ever met? How to pronounce their name? Their family details? Their favorite sports? The last conversation you had with them?” Gruber's ideas mesh with a prediction by Ray Kurzweil: "Once we have achieved complete models of human intelligence, machines will be capable of combining the flexible, subtle human levels of pattern recognition with the natural advantages of machine intelligence, in speed, memory capacity, and, most importantly, the ability to quickly share knowledge and skills." Two projects announced last week aim in that direction: Facebook's plan to develop a non-invasive brain-computer interface that will let you type at 100 words per minute and Elon Musks' proposal that we become superhuman cyborgs to deal with superintelligent AI. But trusting machines also raises security concerns, Gruber warned. "We get to choose what is and is not recalled," he said. "It's absolutely essential that this be kept very secure."
The Humans to Mars Summit (H2M) will be held from May 9-11, 2017 at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Register today at H2M.ExploreMars.org H2M is an annual Mars exploration conference that addresses the major technical, scientific, and policy challenges that need to be overcome in order to send humans to Mars by the 2030s. It is the most comprehensive conference in the world focused on landing humans on Mars, and the 2017 H2M is shaping up to be the biggest H2M yet. Topics will also include small business and space; Mars and Hollywood; diplomacy and space exploration; international Mars science; risk and Mars exploration; Mars missions architecture options; what role should the Moon play in Mars missions; and many other topics. Speakers Include * Buzz Aldrin (Apollo XI, Gemini XII) * William Gerstenmaier (NASA: Associate Administrator, HEO) * Penny Boston (NASA: Director, Astrobiology Institute) * Steve Jurczyk (NASA: Associate Administrator, STMD) * Clementine Poidatz (National Geographic Series, Mars) * John Grunsfeld (former NASA Associate Administrator and astronaut) * Artemis Westenberg (President, Explore Mars, Inc) * Thomas Zurbuchen (NASA: Associate Administrator, SMD) * Abigail 'Astronaut Abby' Harrison (Student; The Mars Generation) * Lance Bush (President and CEO of Challenger Center) * Jim Cantrell (CEO of Vector Space Systems) * James Green (NASA: Director, Planetary Science) * Janet Ivey (Janet's Planet) * Leonard David (Journalist; Author) * Talal Kaissi (Director of US-UAE Space Affairs) * Tiffany Montague (former Manager, Google space initiatives) * Jenn Gusteric (NASA: Program Executive for Small Business Innovation) * Joe Hartz (Senior Professional Staff, US House Small Business Committee) * Joe Cassady (Aerojet Rocketdyne: Executive Director, Space) * Mat Kaplan (Planetary Radio, The Planetary Society) * Mark Mozena (Senior Policy Adviser, Representative, Mike Honda) * Michael Raftery (President, TerraTrace Corp; former Boeing) * Ann Merchant (Science and Entertainment Exchange) * Grant Anderson (Paragon Space Development) * and many others… _--Event Producer_
Bill Kochevar, who was paralyzed below his shoulders in a bicycling accident eight years ago, is the first person with quadriplegia to have arm and hand movements restored without robot help (credit: Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland FES Center)A research team led by Case Western Reserve University has developed the first implanted brain-recording and muscle-stimulating system to restore arm and hand movements for quadriplegic patients.* In a proof-of-concept experiment, the system included a brain-computer interface with recording electrodes implanted under his skull and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system that activated his arm and hand -- reconnecting his brain to paralyzed muscles. The research was part of the ongoing BrainGate2 pilot clinical trial being conducted by a consortium of academic and other institutions to assess the safety and feasibility of the implanted brain-computer interface (BCI) system in people with paralysis. Previous Braingate designs required a robot arm.
In 2012 research, Jan Scheuermann, who has quadriplegia, was able to feed herself using a brain-machine interface and a computer-driven robot arm (credit: UPMC)Kochevar's eight years of muscle atrophy first required rehabilitation. The researchers exercised Kochevar’s arm and hand with cyclical electrical stimulation patterns. Over 45 weeks, his strength, range of motion. and endurance improved. As he practiced movements, the researchers adjusted stimulation patterns to further his abilities. To prepare him to use his arm again, Kochevar learned how to use his own brain signals to move a virtual-reality arm on a computer screen. The team then implanted the FES systems’ 36 electrodes that animate muscles in the upper and lower arm, allowing him to move the actual arm. Kochevar can now make each joint in his right arm move individually. Or, just by thinking about a task such as feeding himself or getting a drink, the muscles are activated in a coordinated fashion.
Neural activity (generated when Kochevar imagines movement of his arm and hand) is recorded from two 96-channel microelectrode arrays implanted in the motor cortex, on the surface of the brain. The implanted brain-computer interface translates the recorded brain signals into specific command signals that determine the amount of stimulation to be applied to each functional electrical stimulation (FES) electrode in the hand, wrist, arm, elbow and shoulder, and to a mobile arm support. (credit: A Bolu Ajiboye et al./The Lancet)"Our research is at an early stage, but we believe that this neuro-prosthesis could offer individuals with paralysis the possibility of regaining arm and hand functions to perform day-to-day activities, offering them greater independence," said lead author Dr Bolu Ajiboye, Case Western Reserve University. "So far, it has helped a man with tetraplegia to reach and grasp, meaning he could feed himself and drink. With further development, we believe the technology could give more accurate control, allowing a wider range of actions, which could begin to transform the lives of people living with paralysis." Work is underway to make the brain implant wireless, and the investigators are improving decoding and stimulation patterns needed to make movements more precise. Fully implantable FES systems have already been developed and are also being tested in separate clinical research. A study of the work was published in the _The Lancet _March 28, 2017. Writing in a linked Comment to _The Lancet_, Steve Perlmutter, M.D., University of Washington, said: "The goal is futuristic: a paralysed individual thinks about moving her arm as if her brain and muscles were not disconnected, and implanted technology seamlessly executes the desired movement… This study is groundbreaking as the first report of a person executing functional, multi-joint movements of a paralysed limb with a motor neuro-prosthesis. However, this treatment is not nearly ready for use outside the lab. The movements were rough and slow and required continuous visual feedback, as is the case for most available brain-machine interfaces, and had restricted range due to the use of a motorised device to assist shoulder movements… Thus, the study is a proof-of-principle demonstration of what is possible, rather than a fundamental advance in neuro-prosthetic concepts or technology. But it is an exciting demonstration nonetheless, and the future of motor neuro-prosthetics to overcome paralysis is brighter." _* The study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It was conducted by scientists from Case Western Reserve University, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering. The investigational BrainGate technology was initially developed in the Brown University laboratory of John Donoghue, now the founding director of the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva, Switzerland. The implanted recording electrodes are known as the Utah array, originally designed by Richard Normann, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Utah. The report in Lancet is the result of a long-running collaboration between Kirsch, Ajiboye and the multi-institutional BrainGate consortium. Leigh Hochberg, a neurologist and neuroengineer at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brown University and the VA RR&D Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology in Providence, Rhode Island, directs the pilot clinical trial of the BrainGate system and is a study co-author._ __ _ Case | Man with quadriplegia employs injury bridging technologies to move again - just by thinking_ ------------------------- ABSTRACT OF _RESTORATION OF REACHING AND GRASPING MOVEMENTS THROUGH BRAIN-CONTROLLED MUSCLE STIMULATION IN A PERSON WITH TETRAPLEGIA: A PROOF-OF-CONCEPT DEMONSTRATION_ BACKGROUND: People with chronic tetraplegia, due to high-cervical spinal cord injury, can regain limb movements through coordinated electrical stimulation of peripheral muscles and nerves, known as functional electrical stimulation (FES). Users typically command FES systems through other preserved, but unrelated and limited in number, volitional movements (eg, facial muscle activity, head movements, shoulder shrugs). We report the findings of an individual with traumatic high-cervical spinal cord injury who coordinated reaching and grasping movements using his own paralysed arm and hand, reanimated through implanted FES, and commanded using his own cortical signals through an intracortical brain–computer interface (iBCI). METHODS: We recruited a participant into the BrainGate2 clinical trial, an ongoing study that obtains safety information regarding an intracortical neural interface device, and investigates the feasibility of people with tetraplegia controlling assistive devices using their cortical signals. Surgical procedures were performed at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (Cleveland, OH, USA). Study procedures and data analyses were performed at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH, USA) and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Cleveland, OH, USA). The study participant was a 53-year-old man with a spinal cord injury (cervical level 4, American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale category A). He received two intracortical microelectrode arrays in the hand area of his motor cortex, and 4 months and 9 months later received a total of 36 implanted percutaneous electrodes in his right upper and lower arm to electrically stimulate his hand, elbow, and shoulder muscles. The participant used a motorised mobile arm support for gravitational assistance and to provide humeral abduction and adduction under cortical control. We assessed the participant's ability to cortically command his paralysed arm to perform simple single-joint arm and hand movements and functionally meaningful multi-joint movements. We compared iBCI control of his paralysed arm with that of a virtual three-dimensional arm. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00912041. FINDINGS: The intracortical implant occurred on Dec 1, 2014, and we are continuing to study the participant. The last session included in this report was Nov 7, 2016. The point-to-point target acquisition sessions began on Oct 8, 2015 (311 days after implant). The participant successfully cortically commanded single-joint and coordinated multi-joint arm movements for point-to-point target acquisitions (80–100% accuracy), using first a virtual arm and second his own arm animated by FES. Using his paralysed arm, the participant volitionally performed self-paced reaches to drink a mug of coffee (successfully completing 11 of 12 attempts within a single session 463 days after implant) and feed himself (717 days after implant). INTERPRETATION: To our knowledge, this is the first report of a combined implanted FES+iBCI neuroprosthesis for restoring both reaching and grasping movements to people with chronic tetraplegia due to spinal cord injury, and represents a major advance, with a clear translational path, for clinically viable neuroprostheses for restoration of reaching and grasping after paralysis. FUNDING: National Institutes of Health, Department of Veterans Affairs.
Overview of the entire chip. AC = Accumulator, internal buffer; PC = Program Counter, points at the next instruction to be executed; IR = Instruction Register, used to buffer data- and instruction-bits received from the external memory; CU = Control Unit, orchestrates the other units according to the instruction to be executed; OR = Output Register, memory used to buffer output-data; ALU = Arithmetic Logic Unit, does the actual calculations. (credit: TU Wien)Researchers at Vienna University of Technology (known as TU Wien) in Vienna, Austria, have developed the world's first two-dimensional microprocessor -- the most complex 2D circuitry so far. Microprocessors based on atomically thin 2D materials promise to one day replace traditional microprocessors as well as open up new applications in flexible electronics. Consisting of 115 transistors, the microprocessor can run, simple user-defined programs stored in an external memory, perform logical operations, and communicate with peripheral devices. The microprocessor is based on molybdenum disulphide (MoS2), a three-atoms-thick 2D semiconductor transistor layer consisting of molybdenum and sulphur atoms, with a surface area of around 0.6 square millimeters.
Schematic drawing of an inverter (“NOT” logic) circuit (top) and an individual MoS2 transistor (bottom) (credit: Stefan Wachter et al./Nature Communications)For demonstration purposes, the microprocessor is currently a 1-bit design, but it's scalable to a multi-bit design using industrial fabrication methods, says Thomas Mueller, PhD., team leader and senior author of an open-access paper on the research published in _Nature Communications.*_ NEW SENSORS AND FLEXIBLE DISPLAYS Two-dimensional materials are flexible, making future 2D microprocessors and other integrated circuits ideal for uses such as medical sensors and flexible displays. They promise to extend computing to the atomic level, as silicon reaches its physical limits. However, to date, it has only been possible to produce individual 2D digital components using a few transistors. The first 2D MoS2 transistor with a working 1-nanometer (nm) gate was created in October 2016 by a team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists, as KurzweilAI reported. Mueller said much more powerful and complex circuits with thousands or even millions of transistors will be required for this technology to have practical applications. Reproducibility continues to be one of the biggest challenges currently being faced within this field of research, along with the yield in the production of the transistors used, he explained. * "We also gave careful consideration to the dimensions of the individual transistors," explains Mueller. "The exact relationships between the transistor geometries within a basic circuit component are a critical factor in being able to create and cascade more complex units. … the major challenge that we faced during device fabrication is yield. Although the yield for subunits was high (for example, ∼80% of ALUs were fully functional), the sheer complexity of the full system, together with the non-fault tolerant design, resulted in an overall yield of only a few per cent of fully functional devices. Imperfections of the MoS2 film, mainly caused by the transfer from the growth to the target substrate, were identified as main source for device failure. However, as no metal catalyst is required for the synthesis of TMD films, direct growth on the target substrate is a promising route to improve yield. ------------------------- Abstract Of A Microprocessor Based On A Two-dimensional Semiconductor The advent of microcomputers in the 1970s has dramatically changed our society. Since then, microprocessors have been made almost exclusively from silicon, but the ever-increasing demand for higher integration density and speed, lower power consumption and better integrability with everyday goods has prompted the search for alternatives. Germanium and III–V compound semiconductors are being considered promising candidates for future high-performance processor generations and chips based on thin-film plastic technology or carbon nanotubes could allow for embedding electronic intelligence into arbitrary objects for the Internet-of-Things. Here, we present a 1-bit implementation of a microprocessor using a two-dimensional semiconductor—molybdenum disulfide. The device can execute user-defined programs stored in an external memory, perform logical operations and communicate with its periphery. Our 1-bit design is readily scalable to multi-bit data. The device consists of 115 transistors and constitutes the most complex circuitry so far made from a two-dimensional material.
In this presentation, Tony Czarnecki, Managing Partner of Sustensis, will share his views on how Humanity could be saved from its biggest existential risk, Superintelligence. The presentation will cover four overlapping crises Humanity faces today - crises in the domains of politics, economics, society, and existential risk. The presentation will also provide a vision of a possible solution, with a reformed European Union becoming the core of a new supranational organization having the best chance to tackle these problems. About The Crises: The world faces a series of existential risks. When combined, the chance of one of these risks materializing in just 20 years is at least 5%. We already had one such “near miss” that could have annihilated the entire civilization. That was the Cuban crisis in October 1962, which almost started a global nuclear war. Today, the biggest risk facing our civilization and humanity isSuperintelligence. Additionally, mainly due to the advancement in technology, the world is changing at almost an exponential pace. That means that change, not just in technology but also in political or social domains, which might previously have taken a decade to produce a significant effect, can now happen in just a year or two. No wonder that people, even in the most developed countries, cannot absorb the pace of change that happens simultaneously in so many domains of our lives. That’s why emotions have overtaken reason. People are voting in various elections and referenda against the status quo, not really knowing what the problem is, even less what could be the solution. Even if some politicians know what the overall, usually unpleasant solutions could be, they are unlikely to share that with their own electorate because they would be deselected in the next election. The vicious circle continues but at an increasingly faster pace. The crises that we are experiencing right now lie in four domains: * Existential survival – the biggest crisis because it is barely visible * Political – the crisis of democracy * Economic – the crisis of capitalism * Social – the crisis of wealth distribution where the wealthy become wealthier even faster. At the same time, anyone wanting to improve the situation faces three problems: * Existential risks require fast action, while the world’s organisations act very slowly * People want more freedom and more control, while we need to give up some of our freedoms and national sovereignty for the greater good of civilisation and humanity * Most people can’t see beyond tomorrow and act emotionally, while we need to see the big picture and act rationally. Therefore, anybody that sees the need for the world to take urgent action faces a formidable task of proposing pragmatic, fast and very radical changes in the ways the world is governed. The key problem is that the world cannot put faith in the United Nations - the organisation that should by default be responsible for leading the humanity through this most difficult period of existential threats. Neither do we have time to build such an organisation from scratch. But more importantly, we cannot reasonably expect that all major blocs - the USA, China, Russia or the EU - would suddenly replace their own set of values and interests with a unified set of new human values and responsibilities. Therefore, the only plausible solution is to rely on an organisation emerging from a deeply transformed existing organisation, such as the European Union and/or NATO, which would lead humanity to a new era, where we may be living side by side with Superintelligence. This would also mean that in the transition period, this enlarged organization would have to co-exist with China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and many other countries with deeply different values and interests. About The Speaker: Tony Czarnecki is Managing Partner of Sustensis, a management consultancy that has specialized for over 20 years in the area of long-term sustainable growth. The objective of Sustensis is to help companies make a gradual transition from a short-term to a long-term business growth. In recent years, Tony has applied his experience in “long-termism” to find solutions for the crises facing our civilisation and humanity – the subject that has been the focus of London Futurists. Meeting Logistics: 2pm-4pm, Saturday 29th April 2017. Venue: Room TBA (to-be-announced), Birkbeck College, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London. Room TBA is on the TBA-th level in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations. Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building, either ahead of or after the meeting. _The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub - The Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ._ Event Hashtag: #LonFut Covering Meeting Costs: A small fee (£7) is payable to attend this meetup. This fee covers room hire costs. Please pay in advance, online, after you RSVP. (NB you don't need a PayPal account to use the PayPal interface.) This will be refunded if the meeting is cancelled or rearranged, or if the attendee cancels at least 2 days before the meetup. In case of difficulty using the meetup app to RSVP and pay, please use a laptop or desktop web browser. Alternatively, _if there are still seats available, _payment of £10 in that case can be made in cash at the door on the day. (Requesting payment in advance assists with accurate planning of the event.) _Journalists are welcome to attend the meeting free-of-charge - please contact the organiser, notifying us in advance of your plans to attend._
New forms of brainwashing include transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to neuromodulate the brain regions responsible for social prejudice and political and religious beliefs, say researchers. (credit: U.S. National Library of Medicine)New human rights laws to prepare for rapid current advances in neurotechnology that may put "freedom of mind" at risk have been proposed in the open access journal _Life Sciences, Society and Policy_. Four new human rights laws could emerge in the near future to protect against exploitation and loss of privacy, the authors of the study suggest: The right to cognitive liberty, the right to mental privacy, the right to mental integrity, and the right to psychological continuity. Advances in neural engineering, brain imaging, and neurotechnology put freedom of the mind at risk, says Marcello Ienca, lead author and PhD student at the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel. "Our proposed laws would give people the right to refuse coercive and invasive neurotechnology, protect the privacy of data collected by neurotechnology, and protect the physical and psychological aspects of the mind from damage by the misuse of neurotechnology." POTENTIAL MISUSES Sophisticated brain imaging and the development of brain-computer interfaces have moved away from a clinical setting into the consumer domain. There's a risk that the technology could be misused and create unprecedented threats to personal freedom. For example: * Uses in criminal court as a tool for assessing criminal responsibility or even the risk of re-offending.* * Consumer companies using brain imaging for "neuromarketing" to understand consumer behavior and elicit desired responses from customers. * "Brain decoders" that can turn a person's brain imaging data into images, text or sound.** * Hacking, allowing a third-party to eavesdrop on someone's mind.*** International human rights laws currently make no specific mention of neuroscience. But as with the genetic revolution, the on-going neurorevolution will require consideration of human-rights laws and even the creation of new ones, the authors suggest. _* "A possibly game-changing use of neurotechnology in the legal field has been illustrated by Aharoni et al. (2013). In this study, researchers followed a group of 96 male prisoners at prison release. Using fMRI, prisoners’ brains were scanned during the performance of computer tasks in which they had to make quick decisions and inhibit impulsive reactions. The researchers followed the ex-convicts for 4 years to see how they behaved. The study results indicate that those individuals showing low activity in a brain region associated with decision-making and action (the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, ACC) are more likely to commit crimes again within 4 years of release (Aharoni et al. 2013). According to the study, the risk of recidivism is more than double in individuals showing low activity in that region of the brain than in individuals with high activity in that region. Their results suggest a “potential neurocognitive biomarker for persistent antisocial behavior”. In other words, brain scans can theoretically help determine whether certain convicted persons are at an increased risk of reoffending if released." -- Marcello Ienca and Roberto Andorno/_Life Sciences, Society and Policy _** NASA and Jaguar are jointly developing a technology called Mind Sense, which will measure brainwaves to monitor the driver’s concentration in the car (Biondi and Skrypchuk 2017). If brain activity indicates poor concentration, then the steering wheel or pedals could vibrate to raise the driver’s awareness of the danger. This technology can contribute to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers who are stressed or distracted. However, it also opens theoretically the possibility for third parties to use brain decoders to eavesdropping on people’s states of mind. __-- Marcello Ienca and Roberto Andorno/_Life Sciences, Society and Policy _*** Criminally motivated actors could selectively erase memories from their victims’ brains to prevent being identified by them later on or simply to cause them harm. On the long term-scenario, they could be used by surveillance and security agencies with the purpose of selectively erasing dangerous, inconvenient from people’s brain as portrayed in the movie Men in Black with the so-called _neuralyzer_. __-- Marcello Ienca and Roberto Andorno/_Life Sciences, Society and Policy ------------------------- Abstract Of _Towards New Human Rights In The Age Of Neuroscience And Neurotechnology_ Rapid advancements in human neuroscience and neurotechnology open unprecedented possibilities for accessing, collecting, sharing and manipulating information from the human brain. Such applications raise important challenges to human rights principles that need to be addressed to prevent unintended consequences. This paper assesses the implications of emerging neurotechnology applications in the context of the human rights framework and suggests that existing human rights may not be sufficient to respond to these emerging issues. After analysing the relationship between neuroscience and human rights, we identify four new rights that may become of great relevance in the coming decades: the right to cognitive liberty, the right to mental privacy, the right to mental integrity, and the right to psychological continuity.
AI is already here. It’s being implemented in most industries by leading organisations spanning finance, law, healthcare, manufacturing, transport, energy, education and many more. The AI Summit is the world’s first and largest conference & exhibition to look at the practical implications of AI for enterprise organisations, the actual solutions that are transforming business productivity. Supported by the leading AI solution providers, including our 2017 Industry Partners Amazon Alexa, Google Cloud Platform, HCL, IBM Watson, Microsoft, Publicis.Sapient and PwC; The AI Summit San Francisco gathers 1000+ business CxOs, AI start-up innovators, press/media and acclaimed researchers. The quality of our programme is unrivalled – you will hear exclusive, inspirational insights from acclaimed speakers. _--Event Producer_
Experimental images of an expanding spin-orbit superfluid Bose-Einstein condensate at different expansion times (credit: M. A. Khamehchi et al./Physical Review Letters)Washington State University (WSU) physicists have created a fluid with "negative mass," which means that if you push it, it accelerates _toward_ you instead of away, in apparent violation of Newton's laws. The phenomenon can be used to explore some of the more challenging concepts of the cosmos, said Michael Forbes, PhD, a WSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington. The research appeared Monday (April 17, 2017) in the journal _Physical Review Letters_. HOW TO CREATE NEGATIVE MASS The researchers created the conditions for negative mass by cooling about 10,000 rubidium atoms to just above absolute zero, creating a Bose-Einstein condensate (in which individual atoms move as one object). In this state, particles move extremely slowly and, following the principles of quantum mechanics, behave like waves. They also synchronize and move in unison as a "superfluid" that flows without losing energy. The lasers trapped the atoms as if they were in a bowl measuring less than a hundred micrometers across. At this point, the rubidium superfluid has regular mass. Breaking the bowl will allow the rubidium to rush out, expanding as the rubidium in the center pushes outward. To create negative mass, the researchers applied a second set of lasers that kicked the atoms back and forth and changed the way they spin. Now when the rubidium rushes out fast enough, if behaves as if it has negative mass. The technique used by the WSU researchers avoids some of the underlying defects encountered in previous attempts to create negative mass. It could hold clues to the behavior occurring in the heart of ultracold neutron stars, which also act as superfluids, and cosmological phenomena like black holes and dark energy, said Forbes. The work was supported in part by a WSU New Faculty Seed Grant and the National Science Foundation. ------------------------- Abstract Of _Negative-Mass Hydrodynamics In A Spin-Orbit–Coupled Bose-Einstein Condensate_ A negative effective mass can be realized in quantum systems by engineering the dispersion relation. A powerful method is provided by spin-orbit coupling, which is currently at the center of intense research efforts. Here we measure an expanding spin-orbit coupled Bose-Einstein condensate whose dispersion features a region of negative effective mass. We observe a range of dynamical phenomena, including the breaking of parity and of Galilean covariance, dynamical instabilities, and self-trapping. The experimental findings are reproduced by a single-band Gross-Pitaevskii simulation, demonstrating that the emerging features—shock waves, soliton trains, self-trapping, etc.—originate from a modified dispersion. Our work also sheds new light on related phenomena in optical lattices, where the underlying periodic structure often complicates their interpretation.
(credit: Neuralink Corp.)_It's the year 2021. A quadriplegic patient has just had one million “neural lace” microparticles injected into her brain, the world’s first human with __an internet communication system_ _using a wireless implanted brain-mind interface -- and empowering her as the first superhuman cyborg. …_ No, this is not a science-fiction movie plot. It’s the actual first public step -- just four years from now -- in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s business plan for his latest new venture, Neuralink. It's now explained for the first time on Tim Urban’s _WaitButWhy_ blog. DEALING WITH THE SUPERINTELLIGENCE EXISTENTIAL RISK Such a system would allow for radically improved communication between people, Musk believes. But for Musk, the big concern is AI safety. “AI is obviously going to surpass human intelligence by a lot,” he says. “There’s some risk at that point that something bad happens, something that we can’t control, that humanity can’t control after that point -- either a small group of people monopolize AI power, or the AI goes rogue, or something like that.” “This is what keeps Elon up at night,” says Urban. “He sees it as only a matter of time before superintelligent AI rises up on this planet -- and when that happens, he believes that it’s critical that we don’t end up as part of ‘everyone else.’ That’s why, in a future world made up of AI and everyone else, he thinks we have only one good option: To _be _AI.”
Neural dust: an ultrasonic, low power solution for chronic brain-machine interfaces (credit: Swarm Lab/UC Berkeley)To achieve his, Neuralink CEO Musk has met with more than 1,000 people, narrowing it down initially to eight experts, such as Paul Merolla, who spent the last seven years as the lead chip designer at IBM on their DARPA-funded SyNAPSE program to design neuromorphic (brain-inspired) chips with 5.4 billion transistors (each with 1 million neurons and 256 million synapses), and Dongjin (DJ) Seo, who while at UC Berkeley designed an ultrasonic backscatter system for powering and communicating with implanted bioelectronics called neural dust for recording brain activity.*
Mesh electronics being injected through sub-100 micrometer inner diameter glass needle into aqueous solution (credit: Lieber Research Group, Harvard University)BECOMING ONE WITH AI -- A GOOD THING? Neuralink's goal its to create a “digital tertiary layer”_ _to augment the brain's current cortex and limbic layers -- a radical high-bandwidth, long-lasting, biocompatible, bidirectional communicative, non-invasively implanted system made up of micron-size (millionth of a meter) particles communicating wirelessly via the cloud and internet to achieve super-fast communication speed and increased bandwidth (carrying more information). “We’re going to have the choice of either being left behind and being effectively useless or like a pet -- you know, like a house cat or something -- or eventually figuring out some way to be symbiotic and merge with AI. … A house cat’s a _good_ outcome, by the way."
Thin, flexible electrodes mounted on top of a biodegradable silk substrate could provide a better brain-machine interface, as shown in this model. (credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)But machine intelligence is already vastly superior to human intelligence in specific areas (such as Google's Alpha Go) and often inexplicable. So how do we know superintelligence has the best interests of humanity in mind? "JUST AN ENGINEERING PROBLEM" Musk's answer: “If we achieve tight symbiosis, the AI wouldn’t be ‘other’ -- it would be _you_ and with a relationship to your cortex analogous to the relationship your cortex has with your limbic system.” OK, but then how does an inferior intelligence _know_ when it's achieved full symbiosis with a superior one -- or when AI goes rogue?
Brain-to-brain (B2B) internet communication system: EEG signals representing two words were encoded into binary strings (left) by the sender (emitter) and sent via the internet to a receiver. The signal was then encoded as a series of transcranial magnetic stimulation-generated phosphenes detected by the visual occipital cortex, which the receiver then translated to words (credit: Carles Grau et al./PLoS ONE)And what about experts in neuroethics, psychology, law? Musk says it's just "an engineering problem. … If we can just use engineering to get neurons to talk to computers, we’ll have done our job, and machine learning can do much of the rest." However, it's not clear how we could be assured our brains aren't hacked, spied on, and controlled by a repressive government or by other humans -- especially those with a more recently updated software version or covert cyborg hardware improvements.
NIRS/EEG brain-computer interface system using non-invasive near-infrared light for sensing "yes" or "no" thoughts, shown on a model (credit: Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering)In addition, the devices mentioned in _WaitButWhy_ all require some form of neurosurgery, unlike Facebook’s research project to use non-invasive near-infrared light, as shown in this experiment, for example.** And getting implants for non-medical use approved by the FDA will be a challenge, to grossly understate it. “I think we are about 8 to 10 years away from this being usable by people with no disability,” says Musk, optimistically. However, Musk does not lay out a technology roadmap for going further, as _MIT Technology Review_ notes. Nonetheless, Neuralink sounds awesome -- it should lead to some exciting neuroscience breakthroughs. And Neuralink now has 16 San Francisco job listings here. _* Other experts: Vanessa Tolosa, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, one of the world’s foremost researchers on biocompatible materials; Max Hodak, who worked on the development of some groundbreaking BMI technology at Miguel Nicolelis’s lab at Duke University, Ben Rapoport, Neuralink’s neurosurgery expert, with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT; Tim Hanson, UC Berkeley post-doc and expert in flexible Electrodes for Stable, Minimally-Invasive Neural Recording; Flip Sabes, professor, UCSF School of Medicine expert in cortical physiology, computational and theoretical modeling, and human psychophysics and physiology; and Tim Gardner, Associate Professor of Biology at Boston University, whose lab works on implanting BMIs in birds, to study “how complex songs are assembled from elementary neural units” and learn about “the relationships between patterns of neural activity on different time scales.”_ _** This binary experiment and the binary Brain-to-brain (B2B) internet communication system mentioned above are the equivalents of the first binary (dot-dash) telegraph message, sent May 24, 1844: "What hath God wrought?"_
(credit: Facebook)Regina Dugan, PhD, Facebook VP of Engineering, Building8, revealed today (April 19, 2017) at Facebook F8 conference 2017 a plan to develop a non-invasive brain-computer interface that will let you type at 100 wpm -- by decoding neural activity devoted to speech. Dugan previously headed Google's Advanced Technology and Projects Group, and before that, was Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She explained in a Facebook post that over the next two years, her team will be building systems that demonstrate "a non-invasive system that could one day become a speech prosthetic for people with communication disorders or a new means for input to AR [augmented reality]." Dugan said that "even something as simple as a ‘yes/no’ brain click … would be transformative." That simple level has been achieved by using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (_f_NIRS) to measure changes in blood oxygen levels in the frontal lobes of the brain, as _KurzweilAI_ recently reported. (Near-infrared light can penetrate the skull and partially into the brain.) Dugan agrees that optical imaging is the best place to start, but her Building8 team team plans to go way beyond that research -- sampling hundreds of times per second and precise to millimeters. The research team began working on the brain-typing project six months ago and she now has a team of more than 60 researchers who specialize in optical neural imaging systems that push the limits of spatial resolution and machine-learning methods for decoding speech and language. The research is headed by Mark Chevillet, previously an adjunct professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. Besides replacing smartphones, the system would be a powerful speech prosthetic, she noted -- allowing paralyzed patients to "speak" at normal speed.
(credit: Facebook)Dugan revealed one specific method the researchers are currently working on to achieve that: a ballistic filter for creating quasi ballistic photons (avoiding diffusion) -- creating a narrow beam for precise targeting -- combined with a new method of detecting blood-oxygen levels.
Neural activity (in green) and associated blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) waveform (credit: Facebook)Dugan also described a system that may one day allow hearing-impaired people to hear directly via vibrotactile sensors embedded in the skin. "In the 19th century, Braille taught us that we could interpret small bumps on a surface as language," she said. "Since then, many techniques have emerged that illustrate our brain’s ability to reconstruct language from components." Today, she demonstrated "an artificial cochlea of sorts and the beginnings of a new a ‘haptic vocabulary’."
A Facebook engineer with acoustic sensors implanted in her arm has learned to feel the acoustic shapes corresponding to words (credit: Facebook)Dugan's presentation can be viewed in the F8 2017 Keynote Day 2 video (starting at 1:08:10).
Colorized scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of a neuron (orange) interfaced with the nanowire array (green). (credit: Integrated Electronics and Biointerfaces Laboratory, UC San Diego)A research team* led by engineers at the University of California San Diego has developed nanowire technology that can non-destructively record the electrical activity of neurons in fine detail. The new technology, published April 10, 2017 in _Nano Letters_, could one day serve as a platform to screen drugs for neurological diseases and help researchers better understand how single cells communicate in large neuronal networks. A BRAIN IMPLANT The researchers currently create the neurons _in vitro_ (in the lab) from human induced pluripotent stem cells. But the ultimate goal is to “translate this technology to a device that can be implanted in the brain,” said Shadi Dayeh, PhD, an electrical engineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and the team’s lead investigator. The technology can uncover details about a neuron’s health, activity, and response to drugs by measuring ion channel currents and changes in the neuron's intracellular voltage (generated by the difference in ion concentration between the inside and outside of the cell).__ The researchers cite five key innovations of this new nanowire-to-neuron technology: * It's nondestructive (unlike current methods, which can break the cell membrane and eventually kill the cell). * It can simultaneously measure voltage changes in multiple neurons and in the future could bridge or repair neurons.** * It can isolate the electrical signal measured by each individual nanowire, with high sensitivity and high signal-to-noise ratios. Existing techniques are not scalable to 2D and 3D tissue-like structures cultured _in vitro_, according to Dayeh. * It can also be used for heart-on-chip drug screening for cardiac diseases. * The nanowires can integrate with CMOS (computer chip) electronics.***
A colorized scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of the silicon-nickel-titanium nanowire array. The nanowires are densely packed on a small chip that is compatible with CMOS chips. The nanowires poke inside cells without damaging them, and are sensitive enough to measure small voltage changes (millivolt or less). (credit: Integrated Electronics and Biointerfaces Laboratory, UC San Diego)_* The project was a collaborative effort between researchers at UC San Diego, the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics at the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and Sandia National Laboratories. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Center for Brain Activity Mapping at UC San Diego, Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Institutes of Health, the March of Dimes, and UC San Diego Frontiers of Innovation Scholar Program. __Dayeh’s laboratory holds several pending patent applications for this technology._ ___** “Highly parallel _in vitro___ drug screening experiments can be performed using the human-relevant iPSC cell line and without the need of the laborious patch-clamp … which is destructive and unscalable to large neuronal densities and to long recording times, or planar multielectrode arrays that enable long-term recordings but can just measure extracellular potentials and lack the sensitivity to subthreshold potentials._ … In vivo_ targeted modulation of individual neural circuits or even single cells within a network becomes possible, and implications for bridging or repairing networks in neurologically affected regions become within reach.” -- Ren Liu et al./_Nanoletters *** The researchers invented a new wafer bonding approach to fuse the silicon nanowires to the nickel electrodes. Their approach involved a process called silicidation, which is a reaction that binds two solids (silicon and another metal) together without melting either material. This process prevents the nickel electrodes from liquidizing, spreading out and shorting adjacent electrode leads. Silicidation is usually used to make contacts to transistors, but this is the first time it is being used to do patterned wafer bonding, Dayeh said. “And since this process is used in semiconductor device fabrication, we can integrate versions of these nanowires with CMOS electronics, but it still needs further optimization for brain-on-chip drug screening.” ------------------------- Abstract Of _High Density Individually Addressable Nanowire Arrays Record Intracellular Activity From Primary Rodent And Human Stem Cell Derived Neurons_ We report a new hybrid integration scheme that offers for the first time a nanowire-on-lead approach, which enables independent electrical addressability, is scalable, and has superior spatial resolution in vertical nanowire arrays. The fabrication of these nanowire arrays is demonstrated to be scalable down to submicrometer site-to-site spacing and can be combined with standard integrated circuit fabrication technologies. We utilize these arrays to perform electrophysiological recordings from mouse and rat primary neurons and human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neurons, which revealed high signal-to-noise ratios and sensitivity to subthreshold postsynaptic potentials (PSPs). We measured electrical activity from rodent neurons from 8 days in vitro (DIV) to 14 DIV and from hiPSC-derived neurons at 6 weeks in vitro post culture with signal amplitudes up to 99 mV. Overall, our platform paves the way for longitudinal electrophysiological experiments on synaptic activity in human iPSC based disease models of neuronal networks, critical for understanding the mechanisms of neurological diseases and for developing drugs to treat them.
Illustration (not to scale) of the plume (white ejections) of Saturnian moon Enceladus, based on analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which dived through the Enceladus plume in 2015. Scientists have now discovered hydrogen gas in the erupting material in the plume -- providing further evidence for hydrothermal activity and making it more likely that the underground ocean of Enceladus could have conditions suitable for microbial life. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)Two NASA missions -- Cassini and Hubble -- have provided new evidence for life on icy, ocean-bearing moons of Saturn and Jupiter, NASA announced Friday, April 14, 2017. Scientists from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) have discovered hydrogen gas in the plume of material erupting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus -- suggesting conditions suitable for microbial life in an underground ocean. The finding, published April 14, 2017 in the journal _Science_, was based on analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The researchers suggest that the hydrogen was most likely formed in chemical reactions between the moon’s rocky core and warm water from vents in the moon's subsurface ocean floor. These vents could have features similar to hydrothermal vents on Earth, which emit hot, mineral-laden fluid containing hydrogen (in the form of hydrogen sulfide) and are thought to power microbe life on the seafloor.*
This infographic illustrates how scientists on NASA's Cassini mission think water interacts with rock at the bottom of the ocean of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, producing hydrogen gas (H2). The graphic shows water from the ocean circulating through the seafloor, where it is heated and interacts chemically with the rock. This warm water, laden with minerals and dissolved gases (including hydrogen and possibly methane) then pours into the ocean, creating chimney-like vents through the ice. The scientists have determined that nearly 98 percent of the gas in the plume is water vapor, about 1 percent is hydrogen, and the rest is a mixture of other molecules including carbon dioxide, methane (CH4), and ammonia (NH3). (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Southwest Research Institute)“The amount of molecular hydrogen we detected is high enough to support microbes similar to those that live near hydrothermal vents on Earth,” said SwRI’s Christopher Glein, PhD, a co-author on the paper and a pioneer of extraterrestrial chemical oceanography. “If similar organisms are present in Enceladus, they could ‘burn’ the hydrogen to obtain energy for chemosynthesis, which could conceivably serve as a foundation for a larger ecosystem.” New Hubble observations suggest where to look for signs of life on Europa
Best evidence yet for reoccurring water vapor plumes erupting from Jupiter’s Europa moon (credit: NASA, ESA W. Sparks (STScI), USGS Astrogeology Science Center)NASA also announced new Hubble Space Telescope observations of Jupiter's moon Europa, reported in a paper published in _The Astrophysical Journal Letters_. A newly discovered plume seen towering 62 miles above the surface in 2016 is at precisely the same location as a similar plume seen on the moon two years earlier by Hubble. The scientists suggest this offers a promising location for study of Europa's internal water and ice -- and for seeking evidence of Europa's habitability. Scientists hope to learn more with NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, planned for launch in the 2020s. It will feature a powerful ultraviolet camera that will make similar measurements to Hubble's (but from thousands of times closer) and a next-generation version of the Cassini instrument. _* NASA astrobiologists suggest that bacteria living in and around the dark hydrothermal vents extract their energy from hydrogen sulfide (HS) and other molecules that billow out of the seafloor. Just like plants, the bacteria use their energy to build sugars out of carbon dioxide and water; sugars then provide fuel and raw material for the rest of the microbe's activities. But instead of photosynthesis, the microbes derive their energy from chemicals in a process called "chemosynthesis": Hydrothermal vents extract their energy from hydrogen sulfide (HS) and other molecules that billow out of the seafloor. Recently, researchers have determined that fossilized evidence of bacteria from ancient seafloor hydrothermal vent-precipitates (found in the Nuvvuagittuq belt in Quebec, Canada) is at least 3.77 billion years old (or possibly as much as 4.28 billion years old). The minimum age of the fossils would make them the oldest indication of life on Earth so far. _ _ScienceAtNASA | ScienceCasts: Ocean Worlds_ _NASA Goddard | Europa Water Vapor Plumes -- More Hubble Evidence_ _UCLTV | World's oldest fossils unearthed (UCL)_ ------------------------- Abstract Of _Cassini Finds Molecular Hydrogen In The Enceladus Plume: Evidence For Hydrothermal Processes_ Saturn’s moon Enceladus has an ice-covered ocean; a plume of material erupts from cracks in the ice. The plume contains chemical signatures of water-rock interaction between the ocean and a rocky core. We used the Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer onboard the Cassini spacecraft to detect molecular hydrogen in the plume. By using the instrument’s open-source mode, background processes of hydrogen production in the instrument were minimized and quantified, enabling the identification of a statistically significant signal of hydrogen native to Enceladus. We find that the most plausible source of this hydrogen is ongoing hydrothermal reactions of rock containing reduced minerals and organic materials. The relatively high hydrogen abundance in the plume signals thermodynamic disequilibrium that favors the formation of methane from CO2 in Enceladus’ ocean. Abstract Of _Active Cryovolcanism On Europa?_ Evidence for plumes of water on Europa has previously been found using the _Hubble Space Telescope_ using two different observing techniques. Roth et al. found line emission from the dissociation products of water. Sparks et al. found evidence for off-limb continuum absorption as Europa transited Jupiter. Here, we present a new transit observation of Europa that shows a second event at the same location as a previous plume candidate from Sparks et al., raising the possibility of a consistently active source of erupting material on Europa. This conclusion is bolstered by comparison with a nighttime thermal image from the _Galileo_ Photopolarimeter-Radiometer that shows a thermal anomaly at the same location, within the uncertainties. The anomaly has the highest observed brightness temperature on the Europa nightside. If heat flow from a subsurface liquid water reservoir causes the thermal anomaly, its depth is ≈1.8–2 km, under simple modeling assumptions, consistent with scenarios in which a liquid water reservoir has formed within a thick ice shell. Models that favor thin regions within the ice shell that connect directly to the ocean, however, cannot be excluded, nor modifications to surface thermal inertia by subsurface activity. Alternatively, vapor deposition surrounding an active vent could increase the thermal inertia of the surface and cause the thermal anomaly. This candidate plume region may offer a promising location for an initial characterization of Europa's internal water and ice and for seeking evidence of Europa's habitability.
A water harvester designed and built at MIT condenses water from air. The harvester uses sunlight to heat metal-organic framework (MOF) material (inserted just below the glass plate on top), driving off the water vapor and condensing it (in the yellow and red condenser sitting at the bottom) for home use. (photo credit: Hyunho Kim/MIT)MIT scientists have invented a water harvester that uses only sunlight to pull water out of the air under desert conditions, using a "metal-organic framework" (MOF) powdered material developed at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Under conditions of 20-30 percent humidity (a level common in arid areas), the prototype device was able to pull 2.8 liters (3 quarts) of water from the air over a 12-hour period, using one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of MOF.
(Left) A schematic of metal-organic framework (MOF) material. The three large yellow, orange, and green balls are porous spaces for capturing and concentrating water molecules. (Right) As ambient air diffuses through the porous MOF, water molecules preferentially attach to the interior surfaces. Sunlight entering through a window heats up the MOF and drives the bound water toward the condenser, which is at the temperature of the outside air. The vapor condenses as liquid water and drips into a collector. (credit: UC Berkeley and MIT)In 2014, a UC Berkeley team team led by chemist Omar Yaghi*, PhD, synthesized a porous MOF -- a combination of zirconium metal and adipic acid** -- that was able to bind water vapor. He suggested to Evelyn Wang, PhD, a mechanical engineer at MIT, that they join forces to turn the MOF into a water-collecting system. Today (April 13, 2017), the system was announced in a paper published in the journal _Science_, with Yaghi and Wang as co-senior authors.*** -------------------------
“We wanted to demonstrate that if you are cut off somewhere in the desert, you could survive because of this device. A person needs about a Coke can of water per day. That is something one could collect in less than an hour with this system.” -- Evelyn Wang------------------------- The new solar-powered harvester is a major breakthrough in the long-standing challenge of harvesting water from the air at low humidity, according to Yaghi. “There is no other way to do that right now, except by using extra energy. Your electric dehumidifier at home ‘produces’ very expensive water.”
Regions with desert climates (2011). Red: hot desert climates. Pink: cold desert climates. (credit: Koppen World Map/CC)"We wanted to demonstrate that if you are cut off somewhere in the desert, you could survive because of this device," Wang said. "A person needs about a Coke can of water per day. That is something one could collect in less than an hour with this system. … This work offers a new way to harvest water from air that does not require high relative humidity conditions and is much more energy efficient than other existing technologies." Running water and carbon-dioxide capture next Yaghi and his team are currently working on improving their MOFs, while Wang continues to improve the harvesting system to produce more water. The current MOF can absorb only 20 percent of its weight in water, but other MOF materials could possibly absorb 40 percent or more, and the material can be tweaked to be more effective at higher or lower humidity levels, Yaghi believes.
Rooftop tests at MIT confirmed that the water harvester works in real-world conditions. (photo credit: Hyunho Kim/MIT)“It’s not just that we made a passive device that sits there collecting water; we have now laid both the experimental and theoretical foundations so that we can screen other MOFs, thousands of which could be made, to find even better materials,” he said. “There is a lot of potential for scaling up the amount of water that is being harvested. It is just a matter of further engineering now.” “To have water running all the time, you could design a system that absorbs the humidity during the night and evolves it during the day,” Wang added. “Or design the solar collector to allow for this at a much faster rate, where more air is pushed in." Some MOFs being developed by Yaghi's team could hold gases such as hydrogen or methane. The chemical company BASF is testing one of Yaghi’s MOFs in natural gas-fueled trucks; MOF-filled tanks hold three times the methane that can be pumped under pressure into an empty tank. Other MOFs are able to capture carbon dioxide from flue gases, catalyze the reaction of adsorbed chemicals, or separate petrochemicals in processing plants. _* Yaghi holds the James and Neeltje Tretter chair in chemistry at UC Berkeley and is a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. __He is also the founding director of the Berkeley Global Science Institute, and a co-director of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute and the California Research Alliance by BASF._ _He invented metal-organic frameworks more than 20 years ago, combining metals like magnesium or aluminum with organic molecules in a tinker-toy arrangement to create rigid, porous structures ideal for storing gases and liquids. Since then, more than 20,000 different MOFs have been created by researchers worldwide._ ** _Metal-organic framework-801 [Zr6O4(OH)4(fumarate)6]_ _*** The work was supported in part by ARPA-E, a program of the U.S. Department of Energy. The work on MOFs in Yaghi’s laboratory is supported by BASF and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia._ __ _ UC Berkeley | Pulling drinkable water out of dry air_ _Omar Yaghi explains how to make a MOF and their tremendous ability to absorb gases and liquids, including water directly from low-humidity air. A MOF he synthesized was used by MIT engineers to construct a water harvester that sucks water from dry air and condenses it for drinking. Video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally, UC Berkeley. Harvester photos courtesy of MIT._ ------------------------- ABSTRACT OF _WATER HARVESTING FROM AIR WITH METAL-ORGANIC FRAMEWORKS POWERED BY NATURAL SUNLIGHT_ Atmospheric water is a resource equivalent to ~10% of all fresh water in lakes on Earth. However, an efficient process for capturing and delivering water from air, especially at low humidity levels (down to 20%), has not been developed. We report the design and demonstration of a device based on porous metal-organic framework-801 [Zr6O4(OH)4(fumarate)6] that captures water from the atmosphere at ambient conditions using low-grade heat from natural sunlight below one sun (1 kW per square meter). This device is capable of harvesting 2.8 liters of water per kilogram of MOF daily at relative humidity levels as low as 20%, and requires no additional input of energy.
Schematic illustrating the direction of ion/water permeation along graphene planes (credit: J. Abraham et al./ Nature Nanotechnology)British scientists have designed a way to use graphene-oxide (GO) membranes to filter common salts out of salty water and make the water safe to drink. Graphene-oxide membranes developed at the National Graphene Institute had already demonstrated the potential of filtering out small nanoparticles, organic molecules, and even large salts. And previous research at The University of Manchester also found that if immersed in water, graphene-oxide membranes become slightly swollen and smaller salts flow through the membrane along with water, but larger ions or molecules are blocked. The researchers have now found a strategy to avoid the swelling of the membrane when exposed to water by building smaller sieves. When the common salts are dissolved in water, they form a "shell" of water molecules around the salt molecules. This allows the tiny capillaries of the graphene-oxide membranes to block the salt from flowing along with the water. Water molecules are able to pass through the membrane barrier and flow faster, which is ideal for application of these membranes for desalination. “Realization of scalable membranes with uniform pore size down to atomic scale is a significant step forward and will open new possibilities for improving the efficiency of desalination technology," said The University of Manchester Professor Rahul Nair. The researchers also believe the atomic scale tunability of the pore size will make it possible in the future to fabricate membranes with on-demand filtration, capable of filtering out ions according to their sizes. The research was published April 3, 2017 in the journal _Nature Nanotechnology._ By 2025 the UN expects that 14% of the world’s population will encounter water scarcity. This technology has the potential to revolutionize water filtration across the world, in particular in countries which cannot afford large scale desalination plants, the researchers suggest. The goal is to build membrane systems on smaller scales, making this technology accessible to countries that do not have the financial infrastructure to fund large plants without compromising the yield of fresh water produced. _The University of Manchester – The home of graphene | Graphene: Membranes and their practical applications_ ------------------------- ABSTRACT OF _TUNABLE SIEVING OF IONS USING GRAPHENE OXIDE MEMBRANES_ Graphene oxide membranes show exceptional molecular permeation properties, with promise for many applications. However, their use in ion sieving and desalination technologies is limited by a permeation cutoff of ∼9 Å, which is larger than the diameters of hydrated ions of common salts. The cutoff is determined by the interlayer spacing (_d_) of ∼13.5 Å, typical for graphene oxide laminates that swell in water. Achieving smaller _d_ for the laminates immersed in water has proved to be a challenge. Here, we describe how to control _d_ by physical confinement and achieve accurate and tunable ion sieving. Membranes with _d_ from ∼9.8 Å to 6.4 Å are demonstrated, providing a sieve size smaller than the diameters of hydrated ions. In this regime, ion permeation is found to be thermally activated with energy barriers of ∼10–100 kJ mol–1 depending on _d_. Importantly, permeation rates decrease exponentially with decreasing sieve size but water transport is weakly affected (by a factor of <2). The latter is attributed to a low barrier for the entry of water molecules and large slip lengths inside graphene capillaries. Building on these findings, we demonstrate a simple scalable method to obtain graphene-based membranes with limited swelling, which exhibit 97% rejection for NaCl.
The NewCities Summit gathers top entrepreneurs, policymakers, corporate leaders, designers and thinkers to work together to improve life in cities. The sixth edition of the Summit will take place in Incheon Songdo, South Korea from June 7-9, 2017 on the theme Thriving Cities: The Building Blocks of Urban Wellbeing. The new city of Incheon Songdo has been built with sustainability and wellbeing at its very core. This emerging Asian hub is a unique and dynamic backdrop for one of the most critically important conversations of our time: the future wellbeing of our cities and those who live in them. Humans are now an urban species. To truly thrive, cities must increasingly become ecosystems of health and wellbeing, where each part works towards one goal: improving people’s quality of life. Old cities are being refashioned and recast as havens of wellbeing, while new cities are more and more placing people’s wellbeing at their heart from the earliest stages of the planning process. The most successful cities will engage citizens and empower them to harness new economic levers and urban tech to their advantage. The Summit attracts business leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and innovators as well as thought leaders in research, science, the civic sector, the arts, and the media who share a passion for urban innovation. Participants come from over 200 organizations and 50 countries. _--Event Producer_
Solve at MIT is the annual flagship Solve event, which takes place on MIT’s campus. Solvers present their solutions to Solve challenges, and participate in workshops with Solve members to develop partnerships to pilot and implement the solutions. The next set of Solve challenges are also announced at this event. THREE DAYS OF SOLUTIONS, CONNECTIONS, AND PARTNERSHIPS Solve at MIT will feature our selected Solvers, as well as the foremost leaders from corporations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, government, academia, and the media. The Solve community is united by a common goal-partnering to implement the best solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. * Five plenary sessions: Panel discussions featuring top speakers. * Challenge workshops: Working sessions that focus on Solve’s current and new challenges, with the aim of developing partnerships to pilot and scale solutions. * Jeffersonian dinners: Facilitated intimate dinners encourage group conversation around a specific topic. _--Event Producer_
To detect DNA methylation changes (for cancer early warning), researchers punched a tiny hole (pore) in a flat sheet of graphene (or other 2D material). They then submerged the material in a salt solution and applied an electrical voltage to force the DNA molecule through the pore. A dip in the ionic current (black A) identified a methyl group (green) is passing through, but a dip in the electrical current (blue A) could detect smaller DNA changes. (credit: Beckman Institute Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group)University of Illinois researchers have designed a high-resolution method to detect, count, and map tiny additions to DNA called methylations*, which can be a early-warning sign of cancer. The method threads DNA strands through a tiny hole, called a nanopore, in an atomically thin sheet of graphene or other 2D material** with an electrical current running through it. Many methylations packed close together suggest an early stage of cancer, explained study leader Jean-Pierre Leburton, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois. There have been previous attempts to use nanopores to detect methylation (by measuring ionic changes), which have been limited in resolution (how precise the measurement is). The Illinois group instead applied a current directly to the conductive sheet surrounding the pore. Working with Klaus Schulten, a professor of physics at Illinois, Leburton’s group at Illinois’ Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, they used advanced computer simulations to test applying current to different flat materials, such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide, while methylated DNA was threaded through. “Our simulations indicate that measuring the current through the membrane instead of just the solution around it is much more precise,” Leburton said. “If you have two methylations close together, even only 10 base pairs away, you continue to see two dips and no overlapping. We also can map where they are on the strand, so we can see how many there are and where they are.” Leburton’s group is now working with collaborators to improve DNA threading, to cut down on noise in the electrical signal, and to perform experiments to verify their simulations. The study was published in _2D Materials and Applications_, a new open-access journal from Nature Press. Grants from Oxford Nanopore Technology, the Beckman Institute, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation supported this work. _* Methylation refers to the addition of a methyl group, which contains one carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms, with the formula CH3._ __ _** Such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2)._ _NewsIllinois | Nanopore detection of DNA methylation_
(a) High-resolution, high-speed quantum-dot shortwave infrared imaging was used to image the blood-vessel network of a mouse glioblastoma brain tumor (b) at 60 frames per second and to compare it to the blood-vessel network (c) in the opposite (healthy) brain hemisphere. (credit: Oliver T. Bruns et al./ Nature Biomedical Engineering)A team of researchers has created bright, glowing nanoparticles called quantum dots that can be injected into the body, where they emit light at shortwave infrared (SWIR) wavelengths that pass through the skin -- allowing internal body structures such as fine networks of blood vessels to be imaged _in vivo_ (in live animals) on high-speed video cameras for the first time. The new findings are described in an open-access paper in the journal _Nature Biomedical Engineering_ by Moungi Bawendi, MIT Lester Wolf Professor of Chemistry, and 22 other researchers.* Near-infrared imaging for research on biological tissues, with wavelengths between 700 and 900 nanometers (billionths of a meter), is widely used because these wavelengths can shine through tissues. But wavelengths of around 1,000 to 2,000 nanometers have the potential to provide even better results, because body tissues are more transparent at that longer light-wavelength range. The problem in doing that has been the lack of light-emitting materials that could work at those longer wavelengths and that were bright enough to be easily detected through the surrounding skin and muscle tissues. LIVE INTERNAL IMAGES OF AWAKE, MOVING MICE
Contact-free video monitoring of heart and respiratory rate in mice using quantum dots covered with biocompatible lipid molecules and injected into mice. A newly developed camera is highly sensitive to shortwave infrared light. (credit: Oliver T. Bruns et al./ Nature Biomedical Engineering)Now the team has succeeded in making particles that are “orders of magnitude better than previous materials, and that allow unprecedented detail in biological imaging,” says lead author Oliver T. Bruns, an MIT research scientist. The synthesis of these new particles was initially described in an open-access paper by researchers from the Bawendi group in _Nature Communications_ last year. These new light-emitting nanoparticles are the first that are bright enough to allow imaging of internal organs in mice that are awake and moving, as opposed to previous methods that required them to be anesthetized, Bruns says. Initial applications would be for preclinical research in animals, as the compounds contain some materials, such as indium arsenide, that are unlikely to be approved for use in humans. The researchers are also working on developing versions that would be safer for humans.
Quantum dots, made of semiconductor materials, emit light whose frequency can be precisely tuned by controlling the exact size and composition of the particles. These were functionalized via three distinct surface coatings that tailor the physiological properties for specific shortwave infrared imaging applications. The quantum dots are so bright, their emissions can be captured with very short exposure times. That makes it possible to produce not just single images but video that captures details of motion, such as the flow of blood -- making it possible to distinguish between veins and arteries. (credit: Oliver T. Bruns et al./ Nature Biomedical Engineering)Not only can the new method determine the direction of blood flow, Bruns says, it is detailed enough to track individual blood cells within that flow. “We can track the flow in each and every capillary, at super-high speed,” he says. “We can get a quantitative measure of flow, and we can do such flow measurements at very high resolution, over large areas.” Such imaging could potentially be used, for example, to study how the blood flow pattern in a tumor changes as the tumor develops, which might lead to new ways of monitoring disease progression or responsiveness to a drug treatment. “This could give a good indication of how treatments are working that was not possible before,” he says. * The team included members from Harvard Medical School, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Raytheon Vision Systems, and University Medical Center in Hamburg, Germany. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the National Foundation for Cancer Research, the Warshaw Institute for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the Massachusetts General Hospital Executive Committee on Research, the Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation.
------------------------- video | CBC • _The National _ _Host Duncan McCue interviews futurist Ray Kurzweil._ ------------------------- about from CBC • _The National_ | Ray Kurzweil predicts end of disease and AI leaps. Tech guru Ray Kurzweil predicts that by the 2030s, nanotechnology will eliminate disease and humans will have relationships with artificial intelligence. CBC • _The National_, presented by Duncan McCue, is the flagship news and current affairs program of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada's public broadcaster. Broadcast 7 days a week, the show reports on major international news stories. * CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation * AI is artificial intelligence ------------------------- on the web | _essentials_ CBC | main CBC | news CBC | _The National_ CBC | YouTube channel: main CBC | YouTube channel: news CBC | YouTube channel: _The National_ _Wikipedia_ | CBC • _The National_ ------------------------- collection | Canadian Broadcasting Corporation _Ray Kurzweil featured stories, interviews & dialog._ -- 2016 -- CBC | Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts computers as small as blood cells more headline: _Nanobots will battle disease, aging, inventor tells Vancouver tech conference._ date: January 25, 2016 CBC | British Columbia Tech Summit hopes to push province into the future more headline: _Fascinating forecasts & keynote by Ray Kurzweil._ date: January 17, 2016 -- 2015 -- CBC | Artificial intelligence, human brain to merge in 2030s, says futurist Ray Kurzweil more headline: _Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google, says we're close to linking brains with AI._ date: June 9, 2015 CBC | Sex-bots, laundroids & killer drones: the robot revolution got real in 2015 more headline: _Most terrifying robot stories of 2015: from spying toys to human-crushing machines._ date: December 29, 2015 -- 2012 -- CBC | Building a better brain: Ray Kurzweil on the future of artificial intelligence more headline: _Hostess Nora Young with Ray Kurzweil on his principles for understanding the brain, new advances._ date: October, 18, 2012 * CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
video | Uniform _Solo the emotional radio, picks music for your mood._ ------------------------- about from Uniform | Imagine the impossible. Uniform is a a design and innovation company. We use design, innovation and imagination to create change. Solo is an emotional radio that heralds the future of friendlier, more playful computer artificial intelligence. Through exploring the creative, interpretive potential of AI*, solo connects to our emotions through mood inspired radio. Born from a design sprint exploring the shift towards a more human artificial intelligence, solo combines facial feature recognition with music valence to read the nuance of expression and match tracks to your current mood. Sensing movement, solo draws you in with its playful antenna. As you approach it takes your photo. It then sends that photo to a Microsoft application program interface that analyses features and sends that information back again as an emotional breakdown with values measuring your happiness, sadness and upset. Solo translates these figures into a valence rating that corresponds with Spotify’s track valence ratings. Solo then plays the track it thinks you want to hear most. Kind of like a mix CD from a friend with great taste. Solo highlights an artificial intelligence ability called atypical feature recognition. And we predict that capability will improve as computer algorithms increase in sophistication. AI has a lot to learn about our aesthetic individuality, and solo helps that because when it gets it wrong, it’s through the medium of music. Through solo, we’ve learned the tech possibilities for designing AI through human characteristics (such as emotion) are endless. Solo instills empathy in AI -- and predicts the future of designing AI will go beyond data and service, towards the human. Solo shows how tech can mean something to people, not just the tech industry. When you try Solo, you think about how tech is changing -- and how its relationship with us is changing. As computer intelligence goes deeper into our daily life, it should understand us on an emotional level, and use that understanding in playful and engaging ways. While the idea of a mood dependent radio may seem simple, we knew the challenge of incorporating human characteristics -- here, the fallibility of musical selection based on emotion -- would be significant. * AI is artificial intelligence ------------------------- on the web | _essentials_ Uniform | main Uniform | solo Uniform | Vimeo channel ------------------------- on the web | _background_ Microsoft | main Spotify | main -------------------------
Carnegie Mellon University professor Tuomas Sandholm talks to Kai-Fu Lee, head of Sinovation Ventures, a Chinese venture capital firm, as Lee plays poker against Lengpudashi AI (credit: Sinovation Ventures)Artificial intelligence (AI) triumphed over human poker players again (see "Carnegie Mellon AI beats top poker pros -- a first"), as a computer program developed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers beat six Chinese players by a total of $792,327 in virtual chips during a five-day, 36,000-hand exhibition that ended today (April 10, 2017) in Hainan, China. The AI software program, called Lengpudashi ("cold poker master") is a version of Libratus, the CMU AI that beat four top poker professionals during a 20-day, 120,000-hand Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold'em competition in January in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Strategic Machine Inc.*, a company founded by Tuomas Sandholm, professor of computer science and co-creator of Libratus/Lengpudashi with Noam Brown, a Ph.D. student in computer science, will take home a pot worth approximately $290,000.
Results of the tournament pitting Lengpudashi AI against four top poker professionals (credit: Sinovation Ventures)The human players, called Team Dragons, were led by Alan Du, a Shanghai venture capitalist who won a 2016 World Series of Poker bracelet. The exhibition was organized by Kai-Fu Lee, a CMU alumnus and former faculty member who is CEO of Sinovation Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in startups in China and the United States. He is a former executive of Apple, Microsoft and Google, and is one of the most prominent figures in China's internet sector. _* Strategic Machine has exclusively licensed Libratus and other technologies from Sandholm's CMU laboratory. Strategic Machine targets a broad set of applications: poker and other recreational games, business strategy, negotiation, cybersecurity, physical security, military applications, strategic pricing, finance, auctions, political campaigns, and medical treatment planning._
The world’s number one Go player, Ke Jie (far right) and associates have recreated the opening moves of one of AlphaGo’s games with Lee Sedol from memory to explain the beauty of its moves to Google CEO Sundar Pichai (second from left) during a visit Pichai made to Nie Weiping’s Go school in Beijing last year (credit: DeepMind)DeepMind's Alpha Go AI software will take on China’s top Go players in “The Future of Go Summit” -- a five-day festival of Go and artificial intelligence in the game's birthplace, China, on May 23-27, DeepMind Co-Founder & CEO Demis Hassabis announced today (April 10, 2017). The summit will feature a variety of game formats involving AlphaGo and top Chinese players, specifically designed to explore the mysteries of the game together, but "the centerpiece of the event will be a classic 1:1 match of three games between AlphaGo and the world’s number one player, Ke Jie, to push AlphaGo to its limits," Hassabis said. The festival will also include a forum on the “Future of A.I.” in which leading experts from Google and China will explore "how AlphaGo has created new knowledge about the oldest of games, and how the technologies behind AlphaGo, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are bringing solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges into reach." In January 2016, the AlphaGo deep learning computer system was the first computer program to defeat a Go champion, Korean Lee Sudow, shocking many observers of the game and marking a major breakthrough for AI. DeepMind was founded in London in 2010 and backed by successful tech entrepreneurs. Having been acquired by Google in 2014, it is now part of the Alphabet group.
(credit: Magali Barbe)"Strange Beasts" -- a five-minute short science fiction movie produced by Magali Barbe, is in the form of an augmented-reality-game promo. Victor Weber, founder of Strange Beasts, says the game "allows players to create, customize, and grow your very own creature.”
Supervision (credit: Magali Barbe)Weber explains that this is made possible by "nanoretinal technology" that "superimposes computer-graphics-composed imagery over real world objects by projecting a digital light field directly into your eye." The imagery is reminiscent of Magic Leap promos -- but using surgically implanted "supervision" displays. The movie's surprise ending raises disturbing questions about where augmented-reality may one day take us.
Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord (credit: Mayo Clinic)Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord and intense physical therapy have been used by Mayo Clinic researchers to help Jared Chinnock intentionally move his paralyzed legs, stand, and make steplike motions for the first time in three years. The chronic traumatic paraplegia case marks the first time a patient has intentionally controlled previously paralyzed functions within the first two weeks of stimulation. The case was documented April 3, 2017 in an open-access paper in _Mayo Clinic Proceedings_. The researchers say these results offer further evidence that a combination of this technology and rehabilitation may help patients with spinal cord injuries regain control over previously paralyzed movements, such as steplike actions, balance control, and standing. “We’re really excited, because our results went beyond our expectations,” says neurosurgeon Kendall Lee, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator and director of Mayo Clinic’s Neural Engineering Laboratory. “These are initial findings, but the patient is continuing to make progress.” Chinnock injured his spinal cord at the sixth thoracic vertebrae in the middle of his back three years earlier. He was diagnosed with a "motor complete spinal cord injury," meaning he could not move or feel anything below the middle of his torso. ELECTRICAL STIMULATION The study started with the patient going through 22 weeks of physical therapy. He had three training sessions a week to prepare his muscles for attempting tasks during spinal cord stimulation, and was tested for changes regularly. Some results led researchers to characterize his injury further as "discomplete," suggesting dormant connections across his injury may remain. Following physical therapy, he underwent surgery to implant an electrode in the epidural space near the spinal cord below the injured area. The electrode is connected to a computer-controlled device under the skin in the patient’s abdomen that which sends electrical current to the spinal cord, enabling the patient to create movement.* The data suggest that people with discomplete spinal cord injuries may be candidates for epidural stimulation therapy, but more research is needed into how a discomplete injury contributes to recovering function, the researchers note.
After a three-week recovery period from surgery, the patient resumed physical therapy with stimulation settings adjusted to enable movements. In the first two weeks, he intentionally was able to control his muscles while lying on his side, resulting in leg movements, make steplike motions while lying on his side and standing with partial support, and stand independently using his arms on support bars for balance. Intentional (volitional) movement means the patient’s brain is sending a signal to motor neurons in his spinal cord to move his legs purposefully. (credit: Mayo Clinic)_* The Mayo Clinic received permission from the FDA for off-label use. _ The Mayo researchers worked closely with the team of V. Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D., at UCLA on this study, which replicates earlier research done at the University of Louisville. Teams from Mayo Clinic’s departments of Neurosurgery and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Division of Engineering collaborated on this project. The research was funded by Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Jack Jablonski BEL13VE in Miracles Foundation, Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, Mayo Clinic Rehabilitation Medicine Research Center, Mayo Clinic Transform the Practice, and The Grainger Foundation. _Mayo Clinic | Researchers Strive to Help Paralyzed Man Make Strides - Mayo Clinic_ _Mayo Clinic |Epidural Stimulation Enables Motor Function After Chronic Paraplegia_ ------------------------- Abstract Of _Enabling Task-Specific Volitional Motor Functions Via Spinal Cord Neuromodulation In A Human With Paraplegia_ We report a case of chronic traumatic paraplegia in which epidural electrical stimulation (EES) of the lumbosacral spinal cord enabled (1) volitional control of task-specific muscle activity, (2) volitional control of rhythmic muscle activity to produce steplike movements while side-lying, (3) independent standing, and (4) while in a vertical position with body weight partially supported, voluntary control of steplike movements and rhythmic muscle activity. This is the first time that the application of EES enabled all of these tasks in the same patient within the first 2 weeks (8 stimulation sessions total) of EES therapy.
THE MOON: OUR STEPPING STONE TO THE STARS If we want to see interstellar accomplishments in our lifetime we need a staging area in space and we need to be able to get our people and our machines up there. We dedicate each day of our meeting to addressing actions towards making them a reality and welcome the community to submit papers/presentations for each of the following: Day 1: The Moon as a Stepping Stone to the Stars (MOON): * Living on the Moon: Lunar city planning, lunar resources, construction, power, water, radiation shielding, living and working, economy, sociology. * Planetary, Deep Space and Interstellar exploration centered around the Moon: Spacecraft Shipyards, Lunar Space elevators, Planetary and Deep Space remote sensing Telescopes Day 2: Massive Space Access Project (MSAP) aka "Children in Space": * Earth to Moon and back: transport vehicles and systems, global logistics, tourism, legal and safety considerations, military presence. * Children in Space: Space education, youth space education program, people with disabilities in space, when will we send the first child to space? (_when children can go to the moon, everyone will want to go!_) Day 3: Massive Space Based Infrastructure (MSBI): * Space and Lunar Industry: Space stations, mining stations, space services, telecommunications, zero gravity and lunar gravity manufacturing technology development * Space arts, sports, community and culture: everything not traditionally considered infrastructure, but which is necessary for humans to live, love and learn on the Moon and in space. _--Event Producer_
Researchers have developed a rubber-like fiber, shown here, that can flex and stretch while simultaneously delivering both optical impulses for optoelectronic stimulation,and electrical connections for stimulation and monitoring. (credit: Chi (Alice) Lu and Seongjun Park)A research team led by MIT scientists has developed rubbery fibers for neural probes that can flex and stretch and be implanted into the mouse spinal cord. The goal is to study spinal cord neurons and ultimately develop treatments to alleviate spinal cord injuries in humans. That requires matching the stretchiness, softness, and flexibility of the spinal cord. In addition, the fibers have to deliver optical impulses (for optoelectronic stimulation of neurons with blue or yellow laser light) and have electrical connections (for electrical stimulation and monitoring of neurons). Implantable fibers have allowed brain researchers to stimulate specific targets in the brain and monitor electrical responses. But similar studies in the nerves of the spinal cord have been more difficult to carry out. That’s because the spine flexes and stretches as the body moves, and the relatively stiff, brittle fibers used today could damage the delicate spinal cord tissue. The scientists used a newly developed elastomer (a tough elastic polymer material that can flow and be stretched) that is transparent (like a fiber optic cable) for transmitting optical signals, and formed an external mesh coating of silver nanowires as a conductive layer for electrical signals. Think of it as tough, transparent, silver spaghetti.
Fabrication of flexible neural probes. (A) Thermal (heat) drawing produced a flexible optical fiber that also served as a structural core for the probe. (B) Spool of a fiber transparent polycarbonate (PC) core and cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) cladding, which enabled the fiber to be drawn into a fiber and was dissolved away after the drawing process. (C) Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of silver nanowires (AgNW). (D) Cross-sectional image of the fiber probe with biocompatible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) coating. (E) Scanning electron microscopy image showing a portion of the ring silver nanowire electrode cross section. (F) Scanning electron microscopy image of the silver nanowire mesh on top of the fiber surface. (credit: Chi Lu et al./Science Advances)The fibers are “so floppy, you could use them to do sutures and deliver light at the same time,” says MIT Professor Polina Anikeeva. The fiber can stretch by at least 20 to 30 percent without affecting its properties, she says. “Eventually, we’d like to be able to use something like this to combat spinal cord injury. But first, we have to have biocompatibility and to be able to withstand the stresses in the spinal cord without causing any damage.” Scientists doing research on spinal cord injuries or disease usually must use larger animals in their studies, because the larger nerve fibers can withstand the more rigid wires used for stimulus and recording. While mice are generally much easier to study and available in many genetically modified strains, there was previously no technology that allowed them to be used for this type of research.
The fibers are not only stretchable but also very flexible. (credit: Chi (Alice) Lu and Seongjun Park)The team included researchers at the University of Washington and Oxford University. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and the U.S. Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT. ------------------------- Abstract Of _Flexible And Stretchable Nanowire-coated Fibers For Optoelectronic Probing Of Spinal Cord Circuits_ Studies of neural pathways that contribute to loss and recovery of function following paralyzing spinal cord injury require devices for modulating and recording electrophysiological activity in specific neurons. These devices must be sufficiently flexible to match the low elastic modulus of neural tissue and to withstand repeated strains experienced by the spinal cord during normal movement. We report flexible, stretchable probes consisting of thermally drawn polymer fibers coated with micrometer-thick conductive meshes of silver nanowires. These hybrid probes maintain low optical transmission losses in the visible range and impedance suitable for extracellular recording under strains exceeding those occurring in mammalian spinal cords. Evaluation in freely moving mice confirms the ability of these probes to record endogenous electrophysiological activity in the spinal cord. Simultaneous stimulation and recording is demonstrated in transgenic mice expressing channelrhodopsin 2, where optical excitation evokes electromyographic activity and hindlimb movement correlated to local field potentials measured in the spinal cord.
Artist’s impression of atmosphere around super-Earth planet GJ 1132b (credit: MPIA)Astronomers have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet beyond our solar system for the first time: the super-Earth planet GJ 1132b in the Southern constellation Vela, at a distance of 39 light-years from Earth. The team, led by Keele University's John Southworth, PhD, used the 2.2 m ESO/MPG telescope in Chile to take images of the planet's host star GJ 1132. The astronomers made the detection by measuring the slight decrease in brightness, finding that its atmosphere absorbed some of the starlight while transiting (passing in front of) the host star. Previous detections of exoplanet atmospheres all involved gas giants reminiscent of a high-temperature Jupiter. POSSIBLE "WATER WORLD" “With this research, we have taken the first tentative step into studying the atmospheres of smaller, Earth-like, planets," said Southworth. "We simulated a range of possible atmospheres for this planet, finding that those rich in water and/or methane would explain the observations of GJ 1132b. The planet is significantly hotter and a bit larger than Earth, so one possibility is that it is a 'water world' with an atmosphere of hot steam.” Very low-mass stars are extremely common (much more so than Sun-like stars), and are known to host lots of small planets. But they also show a lot of magnetic activity, causing high levels of X-rays and ultraviolet light to be produced, which might completely evaporate the planets' atmospheres. The properties of GJ 1132b show that an atmosphere can endure for a billion years without being destroyed, the astronomers say. Given the huge number of very low-mass stars and planets, this could mean the conditions suitable for life are common in the Universe, the astronomers suggest. The discovery, reported March 31 in _Astronomical Journal_, makes GJ 1132b one of the highest-priority targets for further study by current top facilities, such as the Hubble Space Telescope and ESO's Very Large Telescope, as well as the James Webb Space Telescope, slated for launch in 2018. The team also included astronomers at Luigi Mancini Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), University of Rome, University of Cambridge, and Stockholm University.
Transparent biosensors in contact lenses (made visible in this artist's rendition) could soon help track our health. (credit: Jack Forkey/Oregon State University)Transparent biosensors embedded into contact lenses could soon allow doctors and patients to monitor blood glucose levels and many other telltale signs of disease from teardops without invasive tests, according to Oregon State University chemical engineering professor Gregory S. Herman, Ph.D. who presented his work Tuesday April 4, 2017 at the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting & Exposition. Herman and two colleagues previously invented a compound composed of indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO). This semiconductor is the same one that has revolutionized electronics, providing higher resolution displays on televisions, smartphones and tablets while saving power and improving touch-screen sensitivity. In his research, Herman's goal was to find a way to help people with diabetes continuously monitor their blood glucose levels more efficiently using bio-sensing contact lenses. Continuous glucose monitoring -- instead of the prick-and-test approach -- helps reduce the risk of diabetes-related health problems. But most continuous glucose monitoring systems require inserting electrodes in various locations under the skin. This can be painful, and the electrodes can cause skin irritation or infections. Herman says bio-sensing contact lenses could eliminate many of these problems and improve compliance since users can easily replace them on a daily basis. And, unlike electrodes on the skin, they are invisible, which could help users feel less self-conscious about using them.
A schematic illustration of an experimental device (credit: Du X et al./ ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces)To test this idea, Herman and his colleagues first developed an inexpensive method to make IGZO electronics. Then, they used the approach to fabricate a biosensor containing a transparent sheet of IGZO field-effect transistors and glucose oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down glucose. When they added glucose to the mixture, the enzyme oxidized the blood sugar. As a result, the pH level in the mixture shifted and, in turn, triggered changes in the electrical current flowing through the IGZO transistor. In conventional biosensors, these electrical changes would be used to measure the glucose concentrations in the interstitial fluid under a patient’s skin. But glucose concentrations are much lower in the eye. So any biosensors embedded into contact lenses will need to be far more sensitive. To address this problem, the researchers created nanostructures within the IGZO biosensor that were able to detect glucose concentrations much lower than found in tears.* In theory, Herman says, more than 2,000 transparent biosensors -- each measuring a different bodily function -- could be embedded in a 1-millimeter square patch of an IGZO contact lens. Once developed, the biosensors could transmit vital health information to smartphones and other Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled devices. Herman’s team has already used the IGZO system in catheters to measure uric acid, a key indicator of kidney function, and is exploring the possibility of using it for early detection of cancer and other serious conditions. However, Herman says it could be a year or more before a prototype bio-sensing contact lens is ready for animal testing.
(credit: Google)The concept appears similar to Goggle's smart contact lens project, using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material, announced in 2014, but Herman says the Google design is more limited and that the research has stalled. Herman acknowledges funding from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Northwest Nanotechnology Infrastructure, a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, which is supported by the National Science Foundation. _* "We have functionalized the back-channel of IGZO-FETs with aminosilane groups that are cross-linked to glucose oxidase and have demonstrated that these devices have high sensitivity to changes in glucose concentrations. Glucose sensing occurs through the decrease in pH during glucose oxidation, which modulates the positive charge of the aminosilane groups attached to the IGZO surface. The change in charge affects the number of acceptor-like surface states which can deplete electron density in the n-type IGZO semiconductor. Increasing glucose concentrations leads to an increase in acceptor states and a decrease in drain-source conductance due to a positive shift in the turn-on voltage. The functionalized IGZO-FET devices are effective in minimizing detection of interfering compounds including acetaminophen and ascorbic acid." -- Du X, Li Y, Motley JR, Stickle WF, Herman GS, Glucose Sensing Using Functionalized Amorphous In-Ga-Zn-O Field-Effect Transistors. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2016 03 30. _ ------------------------- Abstract Of _Implantable Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide Field Effect Biosensors_ Amorphous indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) field effect transistors (FETs) are a promising technology for a wide range of electronic applications including implantable and wearable biosensors. We have recently developed novel, low-cost methods to fabricate IGZO-FETs, with a wide range of form factors. Attaching self-assembled monolayers (SAM) to the IGZO backchannel allows us to precisely control surface chemistry and improve stability of the sensors. Functionalizing the SAMs with enzymes provides excellent selectivity for the sensors, and effectively minimizes interference from acetaminophen/ascorbic acid. We have recently demonstrated that a nanostructured IGZO network can significantly improve sensitivity as a sensing transducer, compared to blanket IGZO films. In Figure (a) we show a scanning electron microscopy image of a nanostructured IGZO transducer located between two indium tin oxide source/drain electrodes. In Figure (b) we show an atomic force microscope image of the close packed hexagonal IGZO nanostructured network (3×3 mm2), and Figure (c) shows the corresponding height profile along the arrow shown in (b). We will discuss reasons for improved sensitivity for the nanostructured IGZO, and demonstrate high sensitivity for glucose sensing. Finally, fully transparent glucose sensors have been fabricated directly on catheters, and have been characterized by a range of techniques. These results suggest that IGZO-FETs may provide a means to integrate fully transparent, highly-sensitive sensors into contact lenses.
Experimental flexible resistive memory printed on a polyimide foil. The lines are silver contacts; four memory cells can be seen around the lines by zooming in. (credit: Michael Kaiser)A group of researchers at Munich University of Applied Sciences in Germany and INRS-EMT in Canada is paving the way for mass-producing low-cost printable electronics by demonstrating a fully inkjet-printable, flexible resistive memory.* Additive manufacturing (commonly used in 3-D printing), allows for a streamlined process flow, replacing complex lithography (used in making chips), at the detriment of feature size, which however is usually not critical for memory devices in less computationally demanding uses. Inkjet printing allows for roll-to-roll printing, making possible mass-produced printable electronics. In an open-access paper appearing this week in _Applied Physics Letters_, from AIP Publishing, the group presents a proof of concept for using inkjet printing of resistive memory (ReRAM). “We use functional inks to deposit a capacitor structure -- conductor-insulator-conductor -- with commercially available materials** that have already been deployed in cleanroom processes,” said Bernhard Huber, a doctoral student at INRS-EMT and working in the Laboratory for Microsystems Technology at Munich University of Applied Sciences. “This process is identical to that of an office inkjet printer, with an additional option of fine-tuning the droplet size and heating the target material.” The process enables extremely low-cost flexible electronics and may lead to print-on-demand electronics, which shows huge potential for small, flexible lines of production and end-user products, the researchers suggest. Examples include supermarkets printing their own smart tags, public transport providers customizing multifunctional tickets on demand, and wearables. * Currently, computing devices use two different types of memory: a non-volatile but slow storage memory like Flash and a fast but volatile random access memory (RAM) like DRAM. Resistive RAM combines non-volatile behavior and fast read-and-write access in one device. The two memory states (0 and 1) are defined by the resistance of the memory cell. _** Silver/spin-on-glass (SOG)/poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) cells were fabricated by inkjet printing alone. The cells feature low switching voltages, low write currents, and a high ratio between high and low resistance state of 10,000._ UPDATE April 9. 2017: "3D-printed" removed and new higher-resolution image used. ------------------------- Abstract Of _Fully Inkjet Printed Flexible Resistive Memory_ Resistively switching memory cells (ReRAM) are strong contenders for next-generation non-volatile random access memories. In this paper, we present ReRAM cells on flexible substrates consisting of Ag/spin-on-glass/PEDOT:PSS (poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate). The complete cell is fabricated using a standard inkjet printer without additional process steps. Investigations on the spin-on-glass insulating layer showed that low sintering temperatures are sufficient for good switching behavior, providing compatibility with various foils. The cells feature low switching voltages, low write currents, and a high ratio between high and low resistance state of 104. Combined with excellent switching characteristics under bending conditions, these results pave the way for low-power and low-cost memory devices for future applications in flexible electronics.
------------------------- publication: _The New Yorker_ column: A Reporter at Larger story title: Silicon Valley's quest to live forever story author: by Tad Friend date: April 3, 2017 issue issue: Health, Medicine + the Body ------------------------- story excerpts from interview with Ray Kurzweil: 1. | _Can billions of dollars of high-tech research succeed in making death optional?_ Can billions of dollars of high-tech research succeed in making death optional? One approach to end aging is replacing body parts as they fail. Another is finding a master key to youth. Bill Maris is founder & CEO of successful investment company GV, owned by Alphabet. He comforts himself by imagining how he can end aging & disease -- how can we fix the problem permanently for everyone? He decided to build a company that would solve death, now called Calico, also owned by Alphabet. He discussed his idea with Ray Kurzweil, the futurist who popularized the concept of singularity -- the idea that humans will merge with computer artificial intelligence, and by year 2045 transcend our biological limitations. Kurzweil was enthusiastic. ------------------------- 2. | _Ray Kurzweil is an optimizer_ Immortalists fall into 2 camps. One camp believes we can re-tool human biology, remain in our bodies. The second camp, led by Ray Kurzweil, says we’ll eventually merge with mechanical bodies and / or with the cloud. Kurzweil is an optimizer, he invented a machine that reads books to the blind. His inventions improved dramatically over time. He’s sure what he calls “the law of accelerating returns for human longevity" is beginning. ------------------------- 3. | _We will have regenerated organs & personally tailored therapies_ I met with Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google. Kurzweil uses the term _Bridge 1_ to describe current medical technology to slow aging. He thinks _Bridge 2_ will be in 15 years: we will have regenerated organs, and personally tailored therapies for cancer. _Bridge 3_ in the 2030s will be nano robots the size of blood cells -- cleaning up damage from inside the human body. In _Bridge 4_ nano robots will connect our brains to the cloud, then human intelligence will expand. For Ray Kurzweil, the acceptance of elderly death is no saner than early death. “Death is a great robber of meaning. It's a robber of love, a complete loss of ourselves, and a tragedy.” ------------------------- ------------------------- on the web | _essentials_ Alphabet | main Alphabet | Calico Alphabet | GV Alphabet | Google ------------------------- on the web | _background_ _Wikipedia_ | Silicon Valley _Wikipedia_ | Bill Maris _Wikipedia_ | longevity _Wikipedia_ | biological immportality _Wikipedia_ | nano-robotics _Wikipedia_ | molecular nano-technology ------------------------- good stories on this topic | _reading_ _Scientific American_ | Future of Medicine 2015: special report _7 stories on the way nano-medicine is revolutionizing health care._ -------------------------
------------------------- publication: _National Geographic_ story: cover story story title: Beyond Human: how humans are shaping our own evolution story author: by DT Max date: April 2017 issue issue: The Next Human: taking evolution into our own hands ------------------------- ------------------------- story excerpts from cover story with Ray Kurzweil: 1. | JUMP STARTING RAY KURZWEIL'S VISION IS THE FIRST OFFICIAL CYBORG Like any other species, we are the product of millions of years of evolution. Now we're taking matters into our own hands. A first step toward the goal that visionary futurists have, what Ray Kurzweil in his well-known book _The Singularity Is Near_ calls “the vast expansion of human potential.” Jump starting Kurzweil’s dream, is the world’s first official cyborg. “We will transcend all of the limitations of our biology,” Kurzweil said. “That is what it means to be human --- to extend who we are.” ------------------------- 2. | THE EVOLUTION OF EVOLUTION Our bodies, our brains, and the machines around us may all one day merge, as Ray Kurzweil predicts, into a single massive communal intelligence. But if there’s one thing natural evolution has shown, it’s that there are many paths to the same goal. We are the animal that tinkers ceaselessly with our own limitations. The evolution of evolution travels multiple parallel roads. ------------------------- graphic feature from the story: _National Geographic_ | Beyond Human: a visual time-line of our evolution 1. 12,500 years ago -- _evolved to live at high altitudes_ 2. 8,000 years ago -- _adapted to a desert climate_ 3. present day -- _technology vs. natural selection_ 4. present day & near future -- _do-it-yourself evolution_ 5. near future -- _science fiction becomes reality_ 6. distant future -- _can humans adapt to the red planet?_ illustrations: by Owen Freeman -------------------------
Dysprosium atoms (green) on the surface of nanoparticles can be magnetized in one of two possible directions: "spin up" or "spin down." (credit: ETH Zurich / Université de Rennes)Imagine you could store a bit on a single atom or small molecule -- the ultimate magnetic data-storage system. An international team of researchers led by chemists from ETH Zurich has taken a step toward that idea by depositing single magnetizable atoms onto a silica surface, with the atoms retaining their magnetism. In theory, certain atoms can be magnetized in one of two possible directions: “spin up” or “spin down” (representing zero or one); information could then be stored and read based on the sequence of the molecules’ magnetic spin directions. But finding molecules that can store the magnetic information permanently is a challenge, and it's even more difficult to arrange these molecules on a solid surface to build actual data storage devices. Magnetizing Atoms On Nanoparticles
Strategy for immobilization of dysprosium atoms (blue, surrounded by molecular scaffold) on a silica nanoparticle surface, based on a grafting step (a) and a thermolytic (chemical decomposition caused by heat) step (b) (credit: Florian Allouche et al./ ACS Central Science)Nonetheless, Christophe Copéret, a professor at the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry at ETH Zurich, and his team have developed a method using a dysprosium atom (dysprosium is a metal belonging to the rare-earth elements). The atom is surrounded by a molecular scaffold that serves as a vehicle. The scientists also developed a method for depositing such molecules on the surface of silica nanoparticles and fusing them by annealing (heating) at 400 degrees Celsius. The scaffold molecular structure disintegrates in the process, yielding nanoparticles with dysprosium atoms well-dispersed at the surface. The scientists showed that these atoms can then be magnetized and that they maintain their magnetic information. One advantage of their new method is its simplicity. Nanoparticles bonded with dysprosium can be made in any chemical laboratory. No cleanroom and complex equipment required. And the magnetizable nanoparticles can be stored at room temperature and re-utilized. Their magnetization process currently only works at around minus 270 degrees Celsius (near absolute zero), and the magnetization can only be maintained for up to one and a half minutes. So the scientists are now looking for methods that will allow the magnetization to be stabilized at higher temperatures and for longer periods of time. They are also looking for ways to fuse atoms to a flat surface instead of to spherical nanoparticles. Other preparation methods also involve direct deposition of individual atoms onto a surface, but the materials are only stable at very low temperatures, mainly due to the agglomeration of these individual atoms. Alternatively, molecules with ideal magnetic properties can be deposited onto a surface, but this immobilization often negatively affects the structure and the magnetic properties of the final object. Scientists from the Universities of Lyon and Rennes, Collège de France in Paris, Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, and Berkeley National Laboratory were involved in the research. ------------------------- Abstract Of _Magnetic Memory From Site Isolated Dy(III) On Silica Materials_ Achieving magnetic remanence at single isolated metal sites dispersed at the surface of a solid matrix has been envisioned as a key step toward information storage and processing in the smallest unit of matter. Here, we show that isolated Dy(III) sites distributed at the surface of silica nanoparticles, prepared with a simple and scalable two-step process, show magnetic remanence and display a hysteresis loop open at liquid 4He temperature, in contrast to the molecular precursor which does not display any magnetic memory. This singular behavior is achieved through the controlled grafting of a tailored Dy(III) siloxide complex on partially dehydroxylated silica nanoparticles followed by thermal annealing. This approach allows control of the density and the structure of isolated, “bare” Dy(III) sites bound to the silica surface. During the process, all organic fragments are removed, leaving the surface as the sole ligand, promoting magnetic remanence.
The radishes on the right were grown with the help of a bionic leaf that produces fertilizer with bacteria, sunlight, water, and air. (credit: Nocera lab, Harvard University)__Harvard University chemists have invented a new kind of “bionic” leaf that uses bacteria, sunlight, water, and air to make fertilizer right in the soil where crops are grown. It could make possible a future low-cost commercial fertilizer for poorer countries in the emerging world. The invention deals with the renewed challenge of feeding the world as the population continues to balloon.* “When you have a large centralized process and a massive infrastructure, you can easily make and deliver fertilizer,” Daniel Nocera, Ph.D., says. “But if I said that now you’ve got to do it in a village in India onsite with dirty water -- forget it. Poorer countries in the emerging world don’t always have the resources to do this. We should be thinking of a distributed system because that’s where it’s really needed.” The research was presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) today (April 3, 2017). The new bionic leaf builds on a previous Nocera-team invention: the "artificial leaf" -- a device that mimics photosynthesis: When exposed to sunlight, it mimics a natural leaf by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. These two gases would be stored in a fuel cell, which can use those two materials to produce electricity from inexpensive materials. That was followed by "bionic leaf 2.0," a water-splitting system that carbon dioxide out of the air and uses solar energy plus hydrogen-eating _Ralstonia eutropha_ bacteria to produce liquid fuel with 10 percent efficiency, compared to the 1 percent seen in the fastest-growing plants. It provided biomass and liquid fuel yields that greatly exceeded those from natural photosynthesis. FERTILIZER CREATED FROM SUNLIGHT + WATER + CARBON DIOXIDE AND NITROGEN FROM THE AIR For the new "bionic leaf," Nocera’s team has designed a system in which __bacteria use hydrogen from the water split by the artificial leaf plus carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make a bioplastic that the bacteria store inside themselves as fuel. “I can then put the bug [bacteria] in the soil because it has already used the sunlight to make the bioplastic,” Nocera says. “Then the bug pulls nitrogen from the air and uses the bioplastic, which is basically stored hydrogen, to drive the fixation cycle to make ammonia for fertilizing crops.” The researchers have used their approach to grow five crop cycles of radishes. The vegetables receiving the bionic-leaf-derived fertilizer weigh 150 percent more than the control crops. The next step, Nocera says, is to boost throughput so that one day, farmers in India or sub-Saharan Africa can produce their own fertilizer with this method. Nocera said a paper describing the new system will be submitted for publication in about six weeks. _* The first “green revolution” in the 1960s saw the increased use of fertilizer on new varieties of rice and wheat, which helped double agricultural production. Although the transformation resulted in some serious environmental damage, it potentially saved millions of lives, particularly in Asia, according to the United Nations (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization. But the world’s population continues to grow and is expected to swell by more than 2 billion people by 2050, with much of this growth occurring in some of the poorest countries, according to the U.N. Providing food for everyone will require a multi-pronged approach, but experts generally agree that one of the tactics will have to involve boosting crop yields to avoid clearing even more land for farming._ _American Chemical Society | A ‘bionic leaf’ could help feed the world_
__ Eighth Annual GPU Technology Conference Set for May 8-11 in San Jose NVIDIA, a world leader in AI computing technology, will host its eighth annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC) on May 8-11, at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang will deliver a keynote on Wednesday, May 10, to an expected audience of 8,000 attendees. GTC is the largest event of the year for developers, data scientists and executives in the fields of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and self-driving cars. Attendance has grown fourfold since the first event in 2009. This year's conference will occupy the entire 373,000-square-foot convention center. The four-day conference will feature more than 500 speaking sessions and 150 exhibitors. Topics include deep learning and AI, data center and cloud computing, analytics, healthcare, self-driving and AI cars, life sciences, defense, virtual and augmented reality, computer and machine vision, smart cities, robotics and IoT. Speakers include tech leaders from Adobe, Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, Argo AI, Audi, Baidu, Boeing, Facebook, Ford, GE, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, HERE, Honda, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, MIT, NASA, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, NYU, Oculus, OpenAI, Pixar, Salesforce, Samsung, Stanford and VMware. GTC is a great opportunity for developers and data scientists to sharpen their skills. 4,000 developers will attend 70 labs this year, including self-paced and hands-on instruction in autonomous vehicle technology, CUDA, deep learning, embedded applications, OpenACC, virtual reality and more. The NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute will conduct more than a dozen self-paced and instructor-led labs, using the latest AI frameworks and SDKs, for 2,500 data scientists. Every year NVIDIA recognizes disruptive AI startups at the show. This year the company will award $600,000 in prizes to three winners from the 2,000 AI startups in its Inception program. As part of its Global Impact Award, an additional $150,000 in prizes will go to two research groups for pioneering work addressing important social and humanitarian problems. View the GTC session schedule and register to attend at www.gputechconf.com. Discounted rates are available through April 5th. _--Event Producer_
Atomic force microscopy images of as-deposited (left) and laser-annealed (right) reduced graphene oxide (rGO) thin films. The entire "pulsed laser annealing" process is done at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, using high-power laser pulses to convert p-type rGO material into n-type and completed in about one fifth of a microsecond. (credit: Anagh Bhaumik and Jagdish Narayan/Journal of Applied Physics)Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State) have developed a layered material that can be used to develop transistors based on graphene -- a long-sought goal in the electronics industry. Graphene has attractive properties, such as extremely high conductivity, meaning it conducts the flow of electrical current really well (compared to copper, for example), but it's not a semiconductor, so it can't work in a transistor (aside from providing great connections). A form of graphene called "graphene oxide" _is_ a semiconductor, but it does not conduct well. However, a form of graphene oxide called "reduced graphene oxide" (rGO) _does_ conduct well*. Despite that, rGO still can't function in a transistor. That's because the design of a transistor is based on creating a junction between two materials: one that is positively charged (p-type) and one that is negatively charged (n-type), and native rGO is only a p-type. The NC State researchers' solution was to use high-powered laser pulses to disrupt chemical groups on an rGO thin film. This disruption moved electrons from one group to another, effectively converting p-type rGO to n-type rGO. They then used the two forms of rGO as two layers (a layer of n-type rGO on the surface and a layer of p-type rGO underneath) -- creating a layered thin-film material that could be used to develop rGO-based transistors for use in future semiconductor chips. The researchers were also able to integrate the rGO-based transistors onto sapphire and silicon wafers across the entire wafer. The paper was published in the _Journal of Applied Physics_. The work was done with support from the National Science Foundation. _* Reduction is a chemical reaction that involves the gaining of electrons. _ ------------------------- Abstract Of _Conversion Of P To N-type Reduced Graphene Oxide By Laser Annealing At Room Temperature And Pressure_ Physical properties of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) are strongly dependent on the ratio of _sp_2 to _sp_3hybridized carbon atoms and the presence of different functional groups in its structural framework. This research for the very first time illustrates successful wafer scale integration of graphene-related materials by a pulsed laser deposition technique, and controlled conversion of _p_ to _n-_type 2D rGO by pulsed laser annealing using a nanosecond ArF excimer laser. Reduced graphene oxide is grown onto c-sapphire by employing pulsed laser deposition in a laser MBE chamber and is intrinsically _p_-type in nature. Subsequent laser annealing converts _p_ into _n-_type rGO. The XRD, SEM, and Raman spectroscopy indicate the presence of large-area rGO onto c-sapphire having Raman-active vibrational modes: D, G, and 2D. High-resolution SEM and AFM reveal the morphology due to interfacial instability and formation of _n-_type rGO. Temperature-dependent resistance data of rGO thin films follow the Efros-Shklovskii variable-range-hopping model in the low-temperature region and Arrhenius conduction in the high-temperature regime. The photoluminescence spectra also reveal less intense and broader blue fluorescence spectra, indicating the presence of miniature sized _sp_2 domains in the vicinity of π* electronic states, which favor the VRH transport phenomena. The XPS results reveal a reduction of the rGO network after laser annealing with the C/O ratio measuring as high as 23% after laser-assisted reduction. The _p_ to _n-_type conversion is due to the reduction of the rGO framework which also decreases the ratio of the intensity of the D peak to that of the G peak as it is evident from the Raman spectra. This wafer scale integration of rGO with c-sapphire and _p_ to _n-_type conversion employing a laser annealing technique at room temperature and pressure will be useful for large-area electronic devices and will open a new frontier for further extensive research in graphene-based functionalized 2D materials.
(credit: Worcester Polytechnic Institute)A research team headed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) scientists* has _s_olved a major tissue engineering problem holding back the regeneration of damaged human tissues and organs: how to grow small, delicate blood vessels, which are beyond the capabilities of 3D printing.** The researchers used plant leaves as scaffolds (structures) in an attempt to create the branching network of blood vessels -- down to the capillary scale -- required to deliver the oxygen, nutrients, and essential molecules required for proper tissue growth. In a series of unconventional experiments, the team cultured beating human heart cells on spinach leaves that were stripped of plant cells.*** The researchers first decellularized spinach leaves (removed cells, leaving only the veins) by perfusing (flowing) a detergent solution through the leaves’ veins. What remained was a framework made up primarily of biocompatible cellulose, which is already used in a wide variety of regenerative medicine applications, such as cartilage tissue engineering, bone tissue engineering, and wound healing.
A spinach leaf (left) was decellularized in 7 days, leaving only the scaffold (right), which served as an intact vascular network. As a test, red dye was pumped through its veins, simulating blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Cardiomyocytes (cardiac muscle cells) derived from human pluripotent stem cells were then seeded onto the surface of the leaf scaffold, forming cell clusters that demonstrated cardiac contractile function and calcium-handling capabilities for 21 days. (credit: Worcester Polytechnic Institute)After testing the spinach vascular (leaf vessel structure) system mechanically by flowing fluids and microbeads similar in size to human blood cells through it, the researchers seeded the vasculature with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) to grow endothelial cells (which line blood vessels). Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) and human pluripotent stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes (cardiac muscle cells) (hPS-CM) were then seeded to the outer surfaces of the plant scaffolds. The cardiomyocytes spontaneously demonstrated cardiac contractile function (beating) and calcium-handling capabilities over the course of 21 days.
The decellurize-recellurize process (credit: Joshua R. Gershlak et al./Biomaterials)THE FUTURE OF "CROSSING KINGDOMS" These proof-of-concept studies may open the door to using multiple spinach leaves to grow layers of healthy heart muscle, and a potential tissue engineered graft based upon the plant scaffolds could use multiple leaves, where some act as arterial support and some act as venous return of blood and fluids from human tissue, say the researchers. “Our goal is always to develop new therapies that can treat myocardial infarction, or heart attacks,” said Glenn Gaudette, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering at WPI and corresponding author of an open-access paper in the journal_ Biomaterials_, published online in advance of the May 2017 issue__. “Unfortunately, we are not doing a very good job of treating them today. We need to improve that. We have a lot more work to do, but so far this is very promising.”__ Currently, it's not clear how the plant vasculature would be integrated into the native human vasculature and whether there would be an immune response, the authors advise. The researchers are also now optimizing the decellularization process and seeing how well various human cell types grow while they are attached to (and potentially nourished by) various plant-based scaffolds that could be adapted for specialized tissue regeneration studies. "The cylindrical hollow structure of the stem of _Impatiens capensis_ might better suit an arterial graft," the authors note. "Conversely, the vascular columns of wood might be useful in bone engineering due to their relative strength and geometries." Other types of plants could also provide the framework for a wide range of other tissue engineering technologies, the authors suggest.**** The authors conclude that "development of decellularized plants for scaffolding opens up the potential for a new branch of science that investigates the mimicry between kingdoms, e.g., between plant and animal. Although further investigation is needed to understand future applications of this new technology, we believe it has the potential to develop into a 'green' solution pertinent to a myriad of regenerative medicine applications." _* The research team also includes human stem cell and plant biology researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Arkansas State University-Jonesboro._ ** The research is driven by the pressing need for organs and tissues available for transplantation, which far exceeds their availability. More than 100,000 patients are on the donor waiting list at any given time and an average of 22 people die each day while waiting for a donor organ or tissue to become available, according to a 2016 paper in the American Journal of Transplantation _*** In addition to spinach leaves, the team successfully removed cells from parsley, Artemesia annua (sweet wormwood), and peanut hairy roots. _ **** _"Tissue engineered scaffolds are typically produced either from animal-derived or synthetic biomaterials, both of which have a large cost and large environmental impact. Animal-derived biomaterials used extensively as scaffold materials for tissue engineering include native [extracellular matrix] proteins such as collagen I or fibronectin and whole animal tissues and organs. Annually, 115 million animals are estimated to be used in research. Due to this large number, a lot of energy is necessary for the upkeep and feeding of such animals as well as to dispose of the large amount of waste that is generated. Along with this environmental impact, animal research also has a plethora of ethical considerations, which could be alleviated by forgoing animal models in favor of more biologically relevant in vitro human tissue models,"_ _the authors advise_. _Worcester Polytechnic Institute | Spinach leaves can carry blood to grow human tissues_
------------------------- publication: _Vanity Fair_ column: Hive story title: Elon Musk's billion dollar crusade to stop the AI apocalpyse story author: by Maureen Dowd date: April 2017 issue ------------------------- story excerpts from interview with Ray Kurzweil: 1. | SPIRALING CAPABILITIES OF SELF-IMPROVING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Google has gobbled up almost every robotics & machine learning company.It bought Deep•Mind for $650 million, and built the Google Brain team to work on artificial intelligence. Google hired Geoffrey Hinton, PhD, pioneer in artificial neural networks. It also hired Ray Kurzweil, the futurist who predicted humans are 28 years away from “singularity” -- the moment when spiraling capabilities of self-improving artificial super-intelligence will exceed human intelligence, and humans will merge with AI to create hybrid beings of the future. ------------------------- 2. | COMPUTERS ARE ALREADY DOING MANY ATTRIBUTES OF THINKING Trying to puzzle out AI, I went to meet Ray Kurzweil -- author of book _The Singularity Is Near_, a Utopian vision of AI future. Kurzweil said computers are already “doing many attributes of thinking. Just a few years ago, AI couldn’t tell the difference between a dog and cat. Now it can. The list of things humans can do better than computers gets smaller and smaller. We create these tools to extend our long reach.” ------------------------- 3. | THE PROMISE & PERIL ARE DEEPLY INTERTWINED, THE STRATEGY IS CONTROL THE PERIL Ray Kurzweil uses the word “we” when talking about super-intelligent future beings -- compared to Elon Musk’s more ominous “they.” Elon Musk said he was bewildered that Ray Kurzweil isn't worried about AI hazards. “That’s not true. I’m the one who articulated the dangers,” Kurzweil said. “The promise and peril are deeply intertwined. There are strategies to control the peril, as there have been with bio-tech guidelines.” Kurzweil said Musk’s bête noire could come true. He said our AI children “may be friendly and may not. If it’s not friendly, we may have to fight it by getting an AI on our side that’s even smarter.” ------------------------- 4. | 3 STAGES OF THE HUMAN RESPONSE TO NEW TECH Kurzweil said there are 3 stages of the human response to new tech: 1. Wow! 2. Uh oh! 3. What other choice do we have but to move forward? Ray Kurzweil predicts by the 2030s, we will be cyborgs. Nanorobots the size of blood cells will heal our bodies from the inside -- connecting us to synthetic neo-cortex in the cloud, and to virtual & augmented reality. “We'll be funnier, more musical, wiser," he said. * AI is artificial intelligence ------------------------- ------------------------- one the web | background _Google's research & development._ Research at Google • welcome | main Research at Google • teams | Google Brain Research at Google • people | Geoffrey Hinton, PhD Alphabet | main Alphabet | Google Alphabet | Deep•Mind ------------------------- one the web | background _About inventor & business entrepreneur Elon Musk._ _Wikipedia _| Elon Musk -------------------------
------------------------- Dear readers, Ray Kurzweil wrote a book review for _The New York Time_s • Book Review section. His review is titled "How we we'll end up merging with our technology." He reviews 2 new books on computing and the future of society. Please click to read the full review here exploring these two popular books in science & tech non-fiction. Enjoy the details and excerpts from Ray Kurzweil's review below. -- _editors_ ------------------------- NO. 1 | _The New York Times_ • Book Review by Ray Kurzweil book: _HEART OF THE MACHINE: OUR FUTURE IN A WORLD OF ARTIFICIAL EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE_ book author: by Richard Yonck web link: full book review by Ray Kurzweil story title: How we'll end up merging with our technology date: March 14, 2017 excerpt: Richard Yonck's book _Heart of the Machine _provides an important insight in his title -- artificial intelligence is emotional intelligence. People often refer to emotion as a sideshow to human intelligence, that the essence of our thinking is the ability to think logically. If that were true, then machines are already vastly superior to us. The superiority of human thinking is our ability to express a loving sentiment, to create and appreciate music, to get the joke -- all examples of emotional intelligence. He describes today's emerging technologies for understanding our emotions using images of facial expressions, intonation patterns, respiration, galvanic skin response, and other signals. He shows how this will soon be used in applications from interactive augmented reality experiences to military engagements. Richard Yonck concludes we'll merge with our technology. He points out that humans “have been doing this for a long time already." And to merge with future, super-intelligent AI will require creating tech that can master human emotion. -- _Ray Kurzweil_ ------------------------- NO. 2 | _The New York Times_ • Book Review by Ray Kurzweil book: _THINKING MACHINES: THE QUEST FOR ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND WHERE IT'S TAKING US NEXT_ book author: by Luke Dormehl web link: full book review by Ray Kurzweil story title: How we'll end up merging with our technology date: March 14, 2017 excerpt: I recommend the book _Thinking Machines_ by Luke Dormehl to anyone with a lay scientific background who wants to understand what I would argue is the most important revolution in the world today, where it came from, how it works, and what is on the horizon. Luke Dormehl examines the pending social and economic impact of AI, for example on employment. He recounts the positive history of automation. Many economists are saying the future will be different due to unprecedented acceleration of progress. Although expressing some cautions, Luke Dormehl shares my optimism that we will be able to deploy the role of AI as brain extenders to keep ahead of this economic curve. Luke Dormehl is a gifted story-teller. He interweaves personal stories in the broad history of artificial intelligence to understand its progress. -- _Ray Kurzweil_ ------------------------- 1. about | book by Richard Yonck _Heart of the Machine: Our future in a world of artificial emotional intelligence_ Imagine a robotic stuffed animal that can read and respond to a child’s emotional state, a commercial that can recognize and change based on a customer’s facial expression, or a company that can actually create feelings as though a person were experiencing them naturally. The book _Heart of the Machine_ explores the next giant step between humans and tech -- the ability of computers to recognize, respond to, and replicate emotions. Computers have long been integral to our lives, advances continue at an exponential rate. Many people think artificial that's equal to humans will happen in the future, and maybe machines with consciousness will follow. Futurist Richard Yonck argues that emotion is how we will soon work with computers. Richard Yonck warns that computers with emotion recognition could lead to surveillance. In movies like _Her_ and _Ex Machina_, our society has anxiety about what could happen if machines can feel. _Heart of the Machine_ explores new ways humans and computers could interact. -- _publisher_ on the web Richard Yonck | main ------------------------- 2. about | book by Luke Dormehl _Thinking Machines_: _The quest for artificial intelligence, and where it's taking us next_ A fascinating look at the computer filed of artificial intelligence, from its humble Cold War beginnings to the dazzling future that is just around the corner. When most of us think about artificial intelligence, we think of cyborgs, robots, and science fiction thrillers where machines take over the world. But the truth is artificial intelligence is already among us. It exists in our smart-phones, fitness trackers, and refrigerators that tell us when the milk will expire. In some ways, the future people dreamed of at the World's Fair in the 1960s is already here. We're teaching our machines how to think like humans, and they're learning at an incredible rate. In the book _Thinking Machines_, tech journalist Luke Dormehl takes us through the history of artificial intelligence -- and how it makes up the foundations of the machines that think for us today. He speculates on the incredible, and possibly terrifying, future that's much closer than we imagine. This book invites us to marvel at what now seems common -- and dream about a future with intelligent machines. -- _publisher_ on the web Luke Dormehl | main ------------------------- ------------------------- on the web _The New York Times_ | main _The New York Times_ | Book Review _The New York Times_ | podcasts: main _The New York Times_ | podcasts: The Book Review _The New York Times_ | column: The Book Review podcast ------------------------- one the web | background _Essential links on this topic._ Wikipedia | computing Wikipedia | -------------------------
Night-time lights seen from space correlate to everything from electricity consumption and CO2 emissions, to gross domestic product, population and poverty. (credit: NASA)Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have developed an online tool that incorporates 21 years of night-time lights data to understand and compare changes in human activities in countries around the world. The research is published in _PLOS One_. The tool compares the brightness of a country’s night-time lights with the corresponding electricity consumption, GDP, population, poverty, and emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, and F-gases since 1992, without relying on national statistics with often differing methodologies and motivations by those collecting them. Consistent with previous research, the team found the highest correlations between night-time lights and GDP, electricity consumption, and CO2 emissions. Correlations with population, N2O, and CH4 emissions were still slightly less pronounced and, as expected, there was an inverse correlation between the brightness of lights and of poverty. “This is the most comprehensive tool to date to look at the relationship between night-time lights and a series of socio-economic indicators,” said Gernot Wagner, a research associate at SEAS and coauthor of the paper. The data source is the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) dataset, providing 21 years worth of night-time data. The researchers also use Google Earth Engine (GEE), a platform recently made available to researchers that allows them to explore more comprehensive global aggregate relationships at national scales between DMSP and a series of economic and environmental variables. ------------------------- Abstract Of _Night-time Lights: A Global, Long Term Look At Links To Socio-economic Trends_ We use a parallelized spatial analytics platform to process the twenty-one year totality of the longest-running time series of night-time lights data—the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) dataset—surpassing the narrower scope of prior studies to assess changes in area lit of countries globally. Doing so allows a retrospective look at the global, long-term relationships between night-time lights and a series of socio-economic indicators. We find the strongest correlations with electricity consumption, CO2 emissions, and GDP, followed by population, CH4 emissions, N2O emissions, poverty (inverse) and F-gas emissions. Relating area lit to electricity consumption shows that while a basic linear model provides a good statistical fit, regional and temporal trends are found to have a significant impact.
16 flexible graphene transistors (inset) integrated into a flexible neural probe enable electrical signals from neurons to be measured at high resolution and signal quality. (credit: ICN2)Researchers from the European Graphene Flagship* have developed a new microelectrode array neural probe based on graphene field-effect transistors (FETs) for recording brain activity at high resolution while maintaining excellent signal-to-noise ratio (quality). The new neural probe could lay the foundation for a future generation of _in vivo_ neural recording implants, for patients with epilepsy, for example, and for disorders that affect brain function and motor control, the researchers suggest. It could possibly play a role in Elon Musk's just-announced Neuralink "neural lace" research project. MEASURING NEURAL ACTIVITY WITH HIGH PRECISION
(Left) Representation of the graphene implant placed on the surface of the rat’s brain. (Right) microscope image of a multielectrode array with conventional platinum electrodes (a) vs. the miniature graphene device next to it (b). Scale bar is 1.25 mm. (credit: Benno M. Blaschke et al./ 2D Mater.)Neural activity is measured by detecting the electric fields generated when neurons fire. These fields are highly localized, so ultra-small measuring devices that can be densely packed are required for accurate brain readings. The new device has an microelectrode array of 16 graphene-based transistors arranged on a flexible substrate that can conform to the brain's surface. Graphene provides biocompatibility, chemical stability, flexibility, and excellent electrical properties, which make it attractive for use in medical devices, especially for brain activity, the researchers suggest.** (For a state-of-the-art example of microelectrode array use in the brain, see "Brain-computer interface advance allows paralyzed people to type almost as fast as some smartphone users.")
Schematic of the head of a graphene implant showing a graphene transistor array and feed lines. (Inset): cross section of a graphene transistor with graphene between the source and drain contacts, which are covered by an insulating polyimide photoresist. (credit: Benno M. Blaschke et al./ 2D Mater.)In an experiment with rats, the researchers used the new devices to record brain activity during sleep and in response to visual light stimulation. The graphene transistor probes showed good spatial discrimination (identifying specific locations) of the brain activity and outperformed state-of-the-art platinum electrode arrays, with higher signal amplification and a better signal-to-noise performance when scaled down to very small sizes. That means the graphene transistor probes can be more densely packed and at higher resolution, features that are vital for precision mapping of brain activity. And since the probes have transistor amplifiers built in, they remove the need for the separate pre-amplification required with metal electrodes. Neural probes are placed directly on the surface of the brain, so safety is important. The researchers determined that the flexible graphene-based probes are non-toxic, did not induce any significant inflammation, and are long-lasting. “Graphene neural interfaces have shown already a great potential, but we have to improve on the yield and homogeneity of the device production in order to advance towards a real technology,” said Jose Antonio Garrido, who led the research at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Spain. “Once we have demonstrated the proof of concept in animal studies, the next goal will be to work towards the first human clinical trial with graphene devices during intraoperative mapping of the brain. This means addressing all regulatory issues associated to medical devices such as safety, biocompatibility, etc.” The research was published in the journal _2D Materials_. _* With a budget of €1 billion, the Graphene Flagship consortium consists of more than 150 academic and industrial research groups in 23 countries. Launched in 2013, the goal is to take graphene from the realm of academic laboratories into European society within 10 years. The research was a collaborative effort involving Flagship partners Technical University of Munich (TU Munich. Germany), Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS, Spain), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, Spain), The Biomedical Research Networking Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN, Spain) and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2, Spain)._ _** "Using multielectrode arrays for high-density recordings presents important drawbacks. Since the electrode impedance and noise are inversely proportional to the electrode size, a trade-off between spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratio has to be made. Further, the very small voltages of the recorded signals are highly susceptible to noise in the standard electrode configuration. [That requires preamplification, which means] the fabrication complexity is significantly increased and the additional electrical components required for the voltage-to-current conversion limit the integration density. … Metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) where the gate metal is replaced with an electrolyte and an electrode, referred to as "solution-gated field-effect transistors (SGFETs) or electrolyte-gated field-effect transistors, can be exposed directly to neurons and be used to record action potentials with high fidelity. … Although the potential of graphene-based SGFET technology has been suggested in _in vitro_ studies, so far no i_n vivo _confirmation has been __demonstrated. Here we present the fabrication of flexible arrays of graphene SGFETs and demonstrate in vivo mapping of spontaneous slow waves, as well as visually evoked and pre-epileptic activity in the rat." -- Benno M. Blaschke et al./_2D Mater. ------------------------- Abstract Of _Mapping Brain Activity With Flexible Graphene Micro-transistors_ Establishing a reliable communication interface between the brain and electronic devices is of paramount importance for exploiting the full potential of neural prostheses. Current microelectrode technologies for recording electrical activity, however, evidence important shortcomings, e.g. challenging high density integration. Solution-gated field-effect transistors (SGFETs), on the other hand, could overcome these shortcomings if a suitable transistor material were available. Graphene is particularly attractive due to its biocompatibility, chemical stability, flexibility, low intrinsic electronic noise and high charge carrier mobilities. Here, we report on the use of an array of flexible graphene SGFETs for recording spontaneous slow waves, as well as visually evoked and also pre-epileptic activity in vivo in rats. The flexible array of graphene SGFETs allows mapping brain electrical activity with excellent signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), suggesting that this technology could lay the foundation for a future generation of in vivo recording implants.
------------------------- Examine what would happen if we were to deploy blockchain technology at the sovereign level and use it to create a decentralized cashless economy. This book explains how finance and economics work today, and how the convergence of various technologies related to the financial sector can help us find solutions to problems, such as excessive debt creation, banks getting too big to fail, and shadow banking. _The Blockchain Alternative _offers sensible corrections to outdated and incorrect dogmas, such as the efficient markets hypothesis and rational expectations theory. You’ll also be introduced to universal basic income, the consequences of going cashless, why complexity economics needs to be understood and what kinds of tools and theories you'll need to redefine the existing definition of capitalism. While the book does discuss technologies and methods that are primed for our future, a number of references are made to economic history and the works of great thinkers from a different era. You’ll see how the blockchain can be used to deploy solutions that were devised in the past, but which can serve as the antidote to our current economic malaises. You'll discover that what is required today is not an adaptation of the old theories, but a new methodology that is suited to this new era. Without undertaking such an endeavor, one will always be burdened with a definition of capitalism that is out of kilter with the evolution of our digital humanity. What would this mean to monetary and fiscal policy, market structure and our current understanding of economics? More importantly would we need to change our current understanding of capitalism? And if we were to change our perceptions, what would the future version look like? This book answers these questions, and analyses some of the most pertinent issues of our generation. What You’ll Learn * Examine fractional banking, debt, and the financialization of assets * Gain a firm understanding of the “too big to fail” theory, smart contracts, and Fintech * Review economics and agent-based modelling * Use the blockchain and complexity economics to rethink economics and capitalistic systems Who This Book Is For The audience is bankers and other finance professionals, policy makers, and students of finance and economics. The secondary audience is anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the current financial system, the blockchain, and the future of capitalism. _-- publisher_
2017 Annual International Conference on Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures: Eighth Annual Meeting of the BICA Society First International Early Research Career Enhancement School on Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures (Second Edition) FIERCES on BICA 2017 The conference and the school will be held together at the Baltschug Kempinski Hotel (across the Moscow river from the Kremlin) in Moscow, Russian Federation. A substantially discounted (over 50%) rate at the hotel is currently available to early registrants. Dates of the conference are from Tuesday, August 1, to Saturday, August 5, followed by excursions on Sunday, August 6, 2017. _--Event Producer_
------------------------- book summary from publisher: Each year, the artificial intelligence community convenes to administer the famous -- and famously controversial -- Turing test, pitting sophisticated software programs against humans to determine if a computer can “think.” The machine that most often fools the judges wins the Most Human Computer Award. But there is also a prize, strange and intriguing, for the “Most Human Human.” Brian Christian, a young poet with degrees in computer science and philosophy, was chosen to participate in a recent competition. This playful, profound book is not only a testament to his efforts to be deemed more human than a computer, but also a rollicking exploration of what it means to be human in the first place.
image credit | BloombergElon Musk has launched a California-based company called Neuralink Corp., _The Wall Street Journal _reported today (Monday, March 27, 2017), citing people familiar with the matter, to pursue “neural lace” brain-interface technology. Neural lace would help prevent humans from becoming “house cats” to AI, he suggests. "I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer,” Musk hinted at the Code Conference last year. It would be a "digital layer above the cortex that could work well and symbiotically with you. "We are already a cyborg," he added. "You have a digital version of yourself online in form of emails and social media. … But the constraint is input/output -- we're I/O bound … particularly output. … Merging with digital intelligence revolves around … some sort of interface with your cortical neurons." Reflecting concepts that have been proposed by Ray Kurzweil, "over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence,” Musk said at the recent World Government Summit in Dubai. Musk suggested the neural lace interface could be inserted via veins and arteries.
Image showing mesh electronics being injected through sub-100 micrometer inner diameter glass needle into aqueous solution. (credit: Lieber Research Group, Harvard University)_KurzweilAI_ reported on one approach to a neural-lace-like brain interface in 2015. A "syringe-injectable electronics" concept was invented by researchers in Charles Lieber’s lab at Harvard University and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing. It would involve injecting a biocompatible polymer scaffold mesh with attached microelectronic devices into the brain via syringe. The process for fabricating the scaffold is similar to that used to etch microchips, and begins with a dissolvable layer deposited on a biocompatible nanoscale polymer mesh substrate, with embedded nanowires, transistors, and other microelectronic devices attached. The mesh is then tightly rolled up, allowing it to be sucked up into a syringe via a thin (100 micrometers internal diameter) glass needle. The mesh can then be injected into brain tissue by the syringe. The input-output connection of the mesh electronics can be connected to standard electronics devices (for voltage insertion or measurement, for example), allowing the mesh-embedded devices to be individually addressed and used to precisely stimulate or record individual neural activity.
A schematic showing in vivo stereotaxic injection of mesh electronics into a mouse brain (credit: Jia Liu et al./Nature Nanotechnology)Lieber's team has demonstrated this in live mice and verified continuous monitoring and recordings of brain signals on 16 channels. "We have shown that mesh electronics with widths more than 30 times the needle ID can be injected and maintain a high yield of active electronic devices … little chronic immunoreactivity," the researchers said in a June 8, 2015 paper in _Nature Nanotechnology_. "In the future, our new approach and results could be extended in several directions, including the incorporation of multifunctional electronic devices and/or wireless interfaces to further increase the complexity of the injected electronics." This technology would require surgery, but would not have the accessibility limitation of the blood-brain barrier with Musk's preliminary concept. For direct delivery via the bloodstream, it's possible that the nanorobots conceived by Robert A. Freitas, Jr. (and extended to interface with the cloud, as Ray Kurzweil has suggested) might be appropriate at some point in the future. "Neuralink has reportedly already hired several high profile academics in the field of neuroscience: flexible electrodes and nano technology expert Venessa Tolosa, PhD; UCSF professor Philip Sabes, PhD, who also participated in the Musk-sponsored Beneficial AI conference; and Boston University professor Timothy Gardner, PhD, who studies neural pathways in the brains of songbirds," _Engadget _reports. UPDATE MAR. 28, 2017: _Recode | We are already cyborgs | Elon Musk | Code Conference 2016 _
__ ------------------------- book summary from publisher: _Disruptive Technologies_ outlines the steps businesses can take to engage with emerging technologies today in order to serve the consumer of tomorrow. This book offers the knowledge and tools to engage confidently with emerging technologies for better business. This highly practical book offers organizations a distinct response to emerging technologies including Blockchain (Bitcoin), artificial intelligence, graphene and nanotechnology (among others) and other external factors (such as the sharing economy, mobile penetration, millennial workforce, ageing populations) that impact on their business, client service and product model. _Disruptive Technologies_ provides a clear roadmap to assess, respond to and problem-solve: what are the upcoming changes in technology, roughly when to respond, and what's the best response? By using a quick-to-master evaluation and decision-making framework - structured around the key dimensions of Technology, Behaviour and Data (TBD). Emerging technologies guru Paul Armstrong offers a clear guide to the key disruptive technologies and a toolbox of frameworks, checklists, and activities to evaluate their possibilities. Disruptive Technologies enables forecasting of potential scenarios, implementation of plans, alternative strategies and the ability to handle change more effectively within an organization. The essential tool for all professionals who need to get to grips with emerging technologies fast and strategically.
The spleen from a mouse exposed to a mission-relevant dose (20 cGy, 1 GeV/n) of iron ions (bottom) was ~ 30 times the normal volume compared with the spleen from a control mouse (top). (credit: C Rodman et al./Leukemia)Radiation encountered in deep space travel may increase the risk of leukemia cancer in humans traveling to Mars, NASA-funded researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and colleagues have found, using mice transplanted with human stem cells. “Our results are troubling because they show radiation exposure could potentially increase the risk of leukemia,” said Christopher Porada, Ph.D., associate professor of regenerative medicine and senior researcher on the project. Radiation exposure is believed to be one of the most dangerous aspects of traveling to Mars, according to NASA. The average distance to Mars is 140 million miles, and a round trip could take three years. The goal of the study, published in the journal _Leukemia_, was to assess the direct effects of simulated solar energetic particles (SEP) and galactic cosmic ray (GCR) radiation on human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These stem cells comprise less than 0.1% of the bone marrow of adults, but produce the many types of blood cells that circulate through the body and work to transport oxygen, fight infection, and eliminate any malignant cells that arise. For the study, human HSCs from healthy donors of typical astronaut age (30-55 years) were exposed to Mars mission-relevant doses of protons and iron ions -- the same types of radiation that astronauts would be exposed to in deep space, followed by laboratory and animal studies to define the impact of the exposure. “Radiation exposure at these levels was highly deleterious to HSC function, reducing their ability to produce almost all types of blood cells, often by 60-80 percent,” said Porada. “This could translate into a severely weakened immune system and anemia during prolonged missions in deep space.” The radiation also caused mutations in genes involved in the hematopoietic process and dramatically reduced the ability of HSCs to give rise to mature blood cells. Previous studies had already demonstrated that exposure to high doses of radiation, such as from X-rays, can have harmful (even life-threatening) effects on the body’s ability to make blood cells, and can significantly increase the likelihood of cancers, especially leukemias. However, the current study was the first to show a damaging effect of lower, mission-relevant doses of space radiation. Mice develop T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, weakened immune function The next step was to assess how the cells would function in the human body. For that purpose, mice were transplanted with GCR-irradiated human HSCs, essentially “humanizing” the animals. The mice developed what appeared to be T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia -- the first demonstration that exposure to space radiation may increase the risk of leukemia in humans. “Our results show radiation exposure could potentially increase the risk of leukemia in two ways,” said Porada. “We found that genetic damage to HSCs directly led to leukemia. Secondly, radiation also altered the ability of HSCs to generate T and B cells, types of white blood cells involved in fighting foreign ‘invaders’ like infections or tumor cells. This may reduce the ability of the astronaut's immune system to eliminate malignant cells that arise as a result of radiation-induced mutations.” Porada said the findings are particularly troubling given previous work showing that conditions of weightlessness/microgravity present during spaceflight can also cause marked alterations in astronaut’s immune function, even after short duration missions in low-earth orbit, where they are largely protected from cosmic radiation. Taken together, the results indicate that the combined exposure to microgravity and SEP/GCR radiation that would occur during extended deep space missions, such as to Mars, could potentially exacerbate the risk of immune-dysfunction and cancer, NASA’s Human Research Program is also exploring conditions of microgravity, isolation and confinement, hostile and closed environments, and distance from Earth. The ultimate goal of the research is to make space missions as safe as possible. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the University of California Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center were also involved in the study. ------------------------- ABSTRACT OF _IN VITRO AND IN VIVO ASSESSMENT OF DIRECT EFFECTS OF SIMULATED SOLAR AND GALACTIC COSMIC RADIATION ON HUMAN HEMATOPOIETIC STEM/PROGENITOR CELLS_ Future deep space missions to Mars and near-Earth asteroids will expose astronauts to chronic solar energetic particles (SEP) and galactic cosmic ray (GCR) radiation, and likely one or more solar particle events (SPEs). Given the inherent radiosensitivity of hematopoietic cells and short latency period of leukemias, space radiation-induced hematopoietic damage poses a particular threat to astronauts on extended missions. We show that exposing human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSC) to extended mission-relevant doses of accelerated high-energy protons and iron ions leads to the following: (1) introduces mutations that are frequently located within genes involved in hematopoiesis and are distinct from those induced by γ-radiation; (2) markedly reduces in vitro colony formation; (3) markedly alters engraftment and lineage commitment in vivo; and (4) leads to the development, in vivo, of what appears to be T-ALL. Sequential exposure to protons and iron ions (as typically occurs in deep space) proved far more deleterious to HSC genome integrity and function than either particle species alone. Our results represent a critical step for more accurately estimating risks to the human hematopoietic system from space radiation, identifying and better defining molecular mechanisms by which space radiation impairs hematopoiesis and induces leukemogenesis, as well as for developing appropriately targeted countermeasures.
This event will focus on various important disciplines of biotechnology and its applications for improvement in health and quality of life the world over. It is anticipated that up to 1000 of the world's leading scientists, researchers, industrialists and academicians, including several Nobel Laureates, in the fields of biotechnology and medical and biological sciences, will attend this forum, in Boston, to share and discuss new scientific ideas, products and breakthroughs. We are indeed pleased to host such an international conference in the United States of America. This conference will have a variety of lectures from eminent scientists, including Noble Laureates, who will deliver lectures on plant and environmental technologies, transgenic plants and crops, bioremediation, microbial diversity and bio-monitoring. Focus will be given to medical biotechnology, stem cells, gene therapy, tissue engineering, bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing, cell based therapy, cell cultivation, diagnostics, imaging, pharmacogenomics, microarray technology, biomarkers, pharmaceutical biotechnology, vaccines, CNS, Cancer, antibodies, protein engineering. There will also be important lectures on food, marine, bio-safety systems biology, clinical reserved/clinical trials, bioethics and Nano biotechnology. We hope that the deliberations and recommendations of this conference will have a significant impact on the future directions of business development, strategic alliances, partnering trends, product opportunities, growth, business models and strategies, licensing merger and acquisitions, outsourcing, venture capital and financing and intellectual property. _--Event Producer_
A research team led by Harvard Medical School professor of genetics David Sinclair, PhD, has made a discovery that could lead to a revolutionary new drug that allows cells to repair DNA damaged by aging, cancer, and radiation. In a paper published in the journal _Science_ on Friday (March 24), the scientists identified a critical step in the molecular process related to DNA damage. The researchers found that a compound known as NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), which is naturally present in every cell of our body, has a key role as a regulator in protein-to-protein interactions that control DNA repair. In an experiment, they found that treating mice with a NAD+ precursor called NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) improved their cells’ ability to repair DNA damage. “The cells of the old mice were indistinguishable from the young mice, after just one week of treatment,” said senior author Sinclair.
Disarming a rogue agent: When the NAD molecule (red) binds to the DBC1 protein (beige), it prevents DBC1 from attaching to and incapacitating a protein (PARP1) that is critical for DNA repair. (credit: David Sinclair)Human trials of NMN therapy will begin within the next few months to “see if these results translate to people,” he said. A safe and effective anti-aging drug is "perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if the trials go well.” WHAT IT MEANS FOR ASTRONAUTS, CHILDHOOD CANCER SURVIVORS, AND THE REST OF US The researchers say that in addition to reversing aging, the DNA-repair research has attracted the attention of NASA. The treatment could help deal with radiation damage to astronauts in its Mars mission, which could cause muscle weakness, memory loss, and other symptoms (see "Mars-bound astronauts face brain damage from galactic cosmic ray exposure, says NASA-funded study"), and more seriously, leukemia cancer and weakened immune function (see "Travelers to Mars risk leukemia cancer, weakend immune function from radiation, NASA-funded study finds"). The treatment could also help travelers aboard aircraft flying across the poles. A 2011 NASA study showed that passengers on polar flights receive about 12 percent of the annual radiation limit recommended by the International Committee on Radiological Protection. The other group that could benefit from this work is survivors of childhood cancers, who are likely to suffer a chronic illness by age 45, leading to accelerated aging, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancers unrelated to the original cancer, the researchers noted. For the past four years, Sinclair's team has been working with spinoff MetroBiotech on developing NMN as a drug. Sinclair previously made a link between the anti-aging enzyme SIRT1 and resveratrol. “While resveratrol activates SIRT1 alone, NAD boosters [like NMN] activate all seven sirtuins, SIRT1-7, and should have an even greater impact on health and longevity,” he says. Sinclair is also a professor at the University of New South Wales School of Medicine in Sydney, Australia. ------------------------- ABSTRACT OF _A CONSERVED NAD+ BINDING POCKET THAT REGULATES PROTEIN-PROTEIN INTERACTIONS DURING AGING_ DNA repair is essential for life, yet its efficiency declines with age for reasons that are unclear. Numerous proteins possess Nudix homology domains (NHDs) that have no known function. We show that NHDs are NAD+ (oxidized form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) binding domains that regulate protein-protein interactions. The binding of NAD+ to the NHD domain of DBC1 (deleted in breast cancer 1) prevents it from inhibiting PARP1 [poly(adenosine diphosphate–ribose) polymerase], a critical DNA repair protein. As mice age and NAD+ concentrations decline, DBC1 is increasingly bound to PARP1, causing DNA damage to accumulate, a process rapidly reversed by restoring the abundance of NAD+. Thus, NAD+ directly regulates protein-protein interactions, the modulation of which may protect against cancer, radiation, and aging.
video 1. | _C • Net_ _Profile of Go-Mentum Station automated vehicle test track._ about from _C • Net _ | Inside a secretive test track for self-driving cars. A former military weapons depot is now a track where companies can test their autonomous cars in private. The media has never set foot in the guarded Go-Mentum Station, until today. The track is not only attracting the attention of auto-makers like Mercedes & Honda, but also tech companies like Google & Apple. Host Brian Cooley shows us how Honda is testing its latest self-driving car at the track. ------------------------- video 2. | Honda _Test track partner Honda at Go-Mentum Station._ about from Honda Research Institute | The Go-Mentum Station test track contains 20 miles of city road grids. In this video, Honda researchers are testing automated driving technologies using modified versions of Honda's flagship Acura RLX sedan. ------------------------- _Design of Go-Mentum Station for connected & autonomous vehicles._ Go-Mentum Station contains 20 miles of paved city street grids, buildings and urban infrastructure. Located 30 miles north of San Francisco, California -- the proving ground has become a high-tech center of cutting edge transportation research. Now on the test track, Honda's video shows researcher using the Go-Mentum facility to test automated driving tech, using modified versions of Acura's RLX sedan. Honda is Go-Mentum collabortive partner. Honda's new prototype sensors and cameras added to the vehicle will work hand-in-hand with its extensive array of forward, reverse and corner sensors that make-up a suite of Acura•Watch safety and driver assistive technologies on the RLX sedan. Go-Mentum Station in Concord, California is the largest secure testing facility in the world for autonomous and connected vehicle technology. It features miles of paved roads. The Contra Costa Transportation Authority and its partners lead a collaborative effort at Go-Mentum Station, bringing together automobile manufacturers, communications companies, tech companies, researchers and public agencies to accelerate the next generation of transportation technologies. _Go-Mentum Station is a center of cutting edge transportation.___ Formerly a naval weapons station, the 5,000 acre Go-Mentum Station is now the center of cutting edge transportation research for connected vehicles + autonomous vehicles. The innovative technology being explored at Go-Mentum Station will redefine the next generation of transportation, helping to invent the ways we will move through our communities in 25 years. The urban format facility is world-class, connected vehicle + automated vehicle test bed with active industry and government participation. ------------------------- ------------------------- Go-Mentum Station | collaborations _Partners in the future of mobility._ no. 1 -- shared autonomous vehicles | Easy•Mile no. 2 -- autonomous + connected private vehicles | Honda no. 3 -- autonomous commercial vehicles | Otto ------------------------- Go-Mentum Station | proving ground features _World center of cutting edge transportation research._ * Go-Mentum Station’s unique, varied terrain and infrastructure lets the latest developments in transportation tech be safely tested in conditions found on public streets. * Go-Mentum Station is built on a public + private partnership model, letting the private sector innovate and test -- and letting the public sector access new tech being developed. This helps policy, regulation + planning decisions. * Go-Mentum Station research and testing includes private, shared, commercial vehicles -- in a multi-modal environment. * Go-Mentum Station users converge in research development, testing validation + commercialization of connected vehicle applications + autonomous vehicles tech -- to define next generation transportation network infrastructure. ------------------------- best stories on this topic: Reuters | Honda shows off self-driving cars at new California testing facility _Time_ | Here's where driverless cars are learning the rules of the road _Fortune_ | Here’s the autonomous vehicle test bed Apple asked to see _Government Tech_ | US Department of Transportation names 10 proving ground sites for testing autonomous vehicles on the web: Go-Mentum Station | main Go-Mentum Station | news Honda | main Honda Research Institute | main Contra Costa Transportation Authority | main Contra Costa Transportation Authority | news _Wikipedia_ | autonomous car _Wikipedia_ | vehicular automation ------------------------- -------------------------
Illustration of 3D-printed sensory composite (credit: Subramanian Sundaram)MIT researchers have designed a radical new method of creating flexible, printable electronics that combine sensors and processing circuitry. Covering a robot -- or an airplane or a bridge, for example -- with sensors will require a technology that is both flexible and cost-effective to manufacture in bulk. To demonstrate the feasibility of their new method, the researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have designed and built a 3D-printed device that responds to mechanical stresses by changing the color of a spot on its surface. SENSORIMOTOR PATHWAYS “In nature, networks of sensors and interconnects [such as the human nervous system] are called sensorimotor pathways,” says Subramanian Sundaram, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), who led the project. “We were trying to see whether we could replicate sensorimotor pathways inside a 3-D-printed object. So we considered the simplest organism we could find” -- the golden tortoise beetle, or “goldbug,” an insect whose exterior usually appears golden but turns reddish orange if the insect is poked or prodded, that is, mechanically stressed. The researchers present their new design in the latest issue of the journal _Advanced Materials Technologies_. The key innovation was to 3D-print directly on the plastic substrate (support structure) instead of placing components on top. That greatly increases the range of devices that can be created; a printed substrate could consist of many materials, interlocked in intricate but regular patterns, which broadens the range of functional materials that printable electronics can use.* Printed substrates also open the possibility of devices that, although printed as flat sheets, can fold themselves up into more complex, three-dimensional shapes. Printable robots that spontaneously self-assemble when heated, for instance (see "Self-assembling printable robotic components"), are a topic of ongoing research at the CSAIL Distributed Robotics Laboratory, led by Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. 3D-printed sensory composite
The sensory composite is grouped into 4 sets of functional layers: a base with spatially varying mechanical stiffness and surface energy, electrical materials, electrolyte, and capping layers. All these materials are 3D-printed. (credit: Subramanian Sundaram et al./ Advanced Materials Technologies)The MIT researchers’ new device is approximately T-shaped, but with a wide, squat base and an elongated crossbar. The crossbar is made from an elastic plastic, with a strip of silver running its length; in the researchers’ experiments, electrodes were connected to the crossbar’s ends. The base of the T is made from a more rigid plastic. It includes two printed transistors and what the researchers call a “pixel,” a circle of semiconducting polymer whose color changes when the crossbars stretch, modifying the electrical resistance of the silver strip.** A transistor consists of semiconductor channel on top of which sits a “gate,” a metal wire that, when charged, generates an electric field that switches the semiconductor between its electrically conductive and nonconductive states. In a standard transistor, there’s an insulator between the gate and the semiconductor, to prevent the gate current from leaking into the semiconductor channel. The transistors in the MIT researchers’ device instead separate the gate and the semiconductor with an electrolyte -- a layer of water containing potassium chloride mixed with glycerol. Charging the gate drives potassium ions into the semiconductor, changing its conductivity.***
Photograph of the fully 3D-printed sensory composite shows a strain sensor (top) linked to an electrical amplifier that modulates the transparency of the electrochromic pixel (scale bar is 10mm). (credit: Subramanian Sundaram et al./ Advanced Materials Technologies)“I am very impressed with both the concept and the realization of the system,” says Hagen Klauk, who leads the Organic Electronic Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, in Stuttgart, Germany. “The approach of printing an entire optoelectronic system -- including the substrate and all the components -- by depositing all the materials, including solids and liquids, by 3-D printing is certainly novel, interesting, and useful, and the demonstration of the functional system confirms that the approach is also doable. By fabricating the substrate on the fly, the approach is particularly useful for improvised manufacturing environments where dedicated substrate materials may not be available.” The work was supported by the DARPA SIMPLEX program through SPAWAR. _* To build the device, the researchers used the MultiFab, a custom 3-D printer developed MIT. The MultiFab already included two different “print heads,” one for emitting hot materials and one for cool, and an array of ultraviolet light-emitting diodes. Using ultraviolet radiation to “cure” fluids deposited by the print heads produces the device’s substrate._ _** Sundaram added a copper-and-ceramic heater, which was necessary to deposit the semiconducting plastic: The plastic is suspended in a fluid that’s sprayed onto the device surface, and the heater evaporates the fluid, leaving behind a layer of plastic only 200 nanometers thick. The layer of saltwater lowers the device’s operational voltage, so that it can be powered with an ordinary 1.5-volt battery. _ _*** But it does render the device less durable. “I think we can probably get it to work stably for two months, maybe,” Sundaram says. “One option is to replace that liquid with something between a solid and a liquid, like a hydrogel, perhaps. But that’s something we would work on later. This is an initial demonstration.”_ ------------------------- Abstract Of _3D-Printed Autonomous Sensory Composites_ A method for 3D-printing autonomous sensory composites requiring no external processing is presented. The composite operates at 1.5 V, locally performs active signal transduction with embedded electrical gain, and responds to stimuli, reversibly transducing mechanical strain into a transparency change. Digital assembly of spatially tailored solids and thin films, with encapsulated liquids, provides a route for realizing complex autonomous systems.