Tech news stories

DARPA: We’re on cusp of merging human and machine
20th February 2017 | | Tech

We are at the point where computers and machines are no longer going to be simply tools. Computers are becoming, literally, part of us.

“There are a couple of very interesting things happening as we speak facilitating humans and machines working together in a very different way,” said Justin Sanchez, director of the Biological Technologies Office at DARPA.

New AI Can Write and Rewrite Its Own Code to Increase Its Intelligence
20th February 2017 | Tech

A company has developed a type of technology that allows a machine to effectively learn from fewer examples and refine its knowledge as further examples are provided.

This technology could be applied to everything from teaching a smartphone to recognize a user’s preferences to helping autonomous driving systems quickly identify obstacles.

Humans Can Now “Print” Genetic Code and Engineer Life
20th February 2017 | Tech

Scientists’ ability to create organisms through synthetic biology is getting easier and cheaper fueling the start of a new era in biology.

Synthetic biology has already lead to some innovations such as lab-grown meat, advancement in medicine, and even helping to bring back extinct species.

Future Robots May be Considered “Electronic Persons”
20th February 2017 | Tech

Few government bodies are considering how we will categorize machines with advanced artificial intelligence.

Some have proposed creating a separate category known as “electronic persons” as a basis for deciding questions of legal standing.

Could This Tiny Drone Covered in Sticky Goop Do the Work of Bees?
20th February 2017 | | Animal Life, Tech

With the mass bee extinction showing no signs of stopping—we lost 44 percent of all bee colonies last year—efforts to save the bees might need some supplementation.

Eijiro Miyako, a researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, has crafted what he thinks might be a temporary solution

Turning sunshine into liquid gold
19th February 2017 | Tech

Tiny metalic-gold particles are being used to convert sunlight into fuel. The technology is being developed in South Australia to store solar energy as an alternative to battery storage.

This Battery Turns Carbon Dioxide Into Energy
19th February 2017 | Tech

Penn State University scientists have discovered a way to build a flow battery that converts carbon dioxide into usable energy

While this technology might not be commercially available for a long time, it could eventually help to drastically decrease carbon emissions as we move away from fossil fuels

This Startup Uses A Particle Accelerator To Make Solar Panels Much, Much Cheaper
19th February 2017 | | Earth, Tech

The cost of solar panels is dropping exponentially, and solar power is now 80% cheaper than it was in 2010. A new startup plans to make it even more of a threat to fossil fuels, while also making panels much more efficient.

Four-stroke engine cycle produces hydrogen from methane and captures CO2
19th February 2017 | Tech

By adding a catalyst, a hydrogen separating membrane and carbon dioxide sorbent to the century-old four-stroke engine cycle, researchers have demonstrated a laboratory-scale hydrogen reforming system that produces the green fuel at relatively low temperature in a process that can be scaled up or down to meet specific needs.

Ford just invested $1 billion in self-driving cars
19th February 2017 | Tech

The race to build a self-driving car keeps getting more intense — and expensive.

Related: World’s First Self-Driving Tesla Taxis Will Hit the Road in Dubai
Related: Dutch trial foot-level traffic lights for phone users

You Can Now Pre-Order a Flying Car and Have It Delivered by 2018
19th February 2017 | Tech

Five years since it completed its first flight demonstration, Dutch company PAL-V is finally accepting pre-orders for Liberty. The vehicle’s three wheels and retractable top-mounted rotor may make the vehicle looks more like a gyrocopter than a traditional sedan, but it can drive and fly.

Dubai Plans a Taxi That Skips the Driver, and the Roads
19th February 2017 | | Tech

Like a scene from “The Jetsons,” commuters in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, may soon climb aboard automated flying taxis, soaring over busy streets and past the desert city’s gleaming skyscrapers, all — quite literally — at the push of a button.

Alt: Dubai aims to launch hover-taxi by July

Magma Power: Scientists Drill into Volcano to Harness its Energy
18th February 2017 | | Earth, Tech

It’s not every day that scientists can study a volcano up close, but researchers investigating the feasibility of volcano-powered electricity successfully drilled into the core of one in Iceland.

Cambridge scientists consider fake news ‘vaccine’
18th February 2017 | | Humans, Tech

The appearance of fake news on websites and social media has inspired scientists to develop a “vaccine” to immunise people against the problem.

A University of Cambridge study devised psychological tools to target fact distortion.

Hacking the Human Brain—New Tech Could Make It a Reality
17th February 2017 | Tech

Your thoughts are your own, right? Perhaps not. New technology is bringing that day closer when the unscrupulous may actually be able to hack human thoughts.

An Exhaust Pipe Device Turns Air Pollution Into Printing Ink
17th February 2017 | | Earth, Tech

An MIT spinoff company in India is proposing a novel solution to air pollution problems in Asia — turning vehicle exhaust into ink.

It involves attaching a device, called a Kaalink, to the business end of a standard automobile exhaust pipe.

We finally have a computer that can survive the surface of Venus
16th February 2017 | Space, Tech

Venus is one of the most inhospitable places in the solar system. Descending through the clouds of boiling sulphuric rain is actually the easy bit—the hard bit is not being cremated by the surface temperature of 470°C (878°F) or crushed by the atmospheric pressure, which is about 90 times that of Earth, the same as swimming 900 metres under water.

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