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Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Oct 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking Predicted Race of ‘Superhumans’ –“There Will be a Race of Self-Designing Beings”

Posted by in categories: alien life, engineering, evolution, genetics

“Once such superhumans appear, there are going to be significant political problems with the unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete,” suggests the late physicist and author Stephen Hawking in The Sunday Times. “Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving themselves at an ever-increasing rate. If the human race manages to redesign itself, it will probably spread out and colonize other planets and stars.”

Hawking has caused an uproar by suggesting a new race of superhumans could develop from wealthy people choosing to edit their DNA. “There is no time to wait for Darwinian evolution to make us more intelligent and better natured. But we are now entering a new phase of what might be called self-designed evolution, in which we will be able to change and improve our DNA. We have now mapped DNA, which means we have read “the book of life”, so we can start writing in corrections.”

Hawking, who died in March, presented the possibility that genetic engineering could create a new species of superhuman that could destroy the rest of humanity. The essays, published in the Sunday Times, were written in preparation for a book that will be published on Tuesday.

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Oct 14, 2018

​Australia gets Women in STEM Ambassador in astrophysicist professor

Posted by in categories: computing, education, engineering, government

The federal government has announced the appointment of Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador, with Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith charged with overseeing the country’s attempt to diversify its science, technology, engineering, and mathematics sectors.

An astrophysicist professor, Harvey-Smith will specifically advocate for girls and women in STEM education and careers, aiming also to raise awareness in the male-dominated industry and drive cultural and social change for gender equity.

SEE: The state of women in computer science: An investigative report [PDF download] (TechRepublic cover story)

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Oct 13, 2018

China plan to win AI with lots of money, data and easy regulations

Posted by in categories: economics, engineering, policy, robotics/AI, transportation

China wants to integrate four areas for stronger AI. China will use abundant data, hungry entrepreneurs, many AI scientists, and AI-friendly policy.

29 U.S. states have enacted their own laws regulating autonomous vehicles. And governors in 10 states have issued executive orders curbing testing and use.

In 2018, China adopted national self-driving car guidelines that allow any city to perform tests on self-driving cars. China has started engineering multi-tiered roads and entire cities tailored to incorporate driverless vehicles.

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Oct 12, 2018

The mind-blowing world of tomorrow’s smart materials

Posted by in categories: business, engineering, sustainability

For businesses that want to maintain or increase their bottom line, this means re-engineering the fundamentals of their supply chain by developing or adopting new material solutions that achieve a lot more with a lot less.

“The smart companies, manufacturers and brands are the ones who are starting to invest in sustainable material innovation,” says Caroline Till, co-author of Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future, adding, “There’s a thirst from consumers for this.” It’s clear that tomorrow’s leaders will be those who are brave enough to invest in this research today.

For The Future Laboratory’s new Material Far Futures report, we’ve compiled the most transformative case studies in material innovation into the 10 paradigms that we believe will disrupt industry in the coming decades, each with original visualisations from Studio Brasch. From fabrics that generate power through motion and new forms of kinetic architecture to bio-engineering’s impact on luxury fashion, the materials of tomorrow will be smarter, stronger, more dynamic and, crucially, less ecologically damaging.

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Oct 10, 2018

Invariant Natural Killer T Cells Might Be The Next Step in Cancer Therapy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, neuroscience

Invariant natural killer T cells might lead to cheaper and more effective immunotherapy.


Researchers at the Imperial College London have discovered that specifically employing invariant natural killer T cells, rather than generic T cells, in cancer immunotherapies based on chimeric antigen receptors might lead to significantly more effective, cheaper, and more easily mass-produced treatments [1].

Abstract

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Oct 8, 2018

Engineers build smallest integrated Kerr frequency comb generator

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, engineering, security

Optical frequency combs can enable ultrafast processes in physics, biology, and chemistry, as well as improve communication and navigation, medical testing, and security. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2005 was awarded to the developers of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique, and microresonator combs have become an intense focus of research over the past decade.

A major challenge has been how to make such comb sources smaller and more robust and portable. In the past 10 years, major advances have been made in the use of monolithic, chip-based microresonators to produce such combs. While the microresonators generating the are tiny—smaller than a human hair—they have always relied on external lasers that are often much larger, expensive, and power-hungry.

Researchers at Columbia Engineering announced today in Nature that they have built a Kerr frequency comb generator that, for the first time, integrates the together with the , significantly shrinking the system’s size and power requirements. They designed the laser so that half of the laser cavity is based on a semiconductor waveguide section with high optical gain, while the other half is based on waveguides, made of , a very low-loss material. Their results showed that they no longer need to connect separate devices in the lab using fiber—they can now integrate it all on photonic chips that are compact and energy efficient.

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Oct 5, 2018

This Agile Robot Assists with Various Construction Tasks

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI

AIST recently unveiled its HRP-5, the fifth iteration of a humanoid robot design at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots. The long-term vision for the robot is to assist, not replace, workers with certain repetitive tasks. HRP-4 weighed 39kg and stood 151 cm tall with a 0.5kg maximum payload (per hand), so most likely the newest version will at the least boast an increased payload and sensor technology.

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Oct 4, 2018

Flowing salt water over this super-hydrophobic surface can generate electricity

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, sustainability

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a super-hydrophobic surface that can be used to generate electrical voltage. When salt water flows over this specially patterned surface, it can produce at least 50 millivolts. The proof-of-concept work could lead to the development of new power sources for lab-on-a-chip platforms and other microfluidics devices. It could someday be extended to energy harvesting methods in water desalination plants, researchers said.

A team of researchers led by Prab Bandaru, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, and first author Bei Fan, a graduate student in Bandaru’s research group, published their work in the Oct. 3 issue of Nature Communications.

The main idea behind this work is to create electrical by moving ions over a charged . And the faster you can move these ions, the more voltage you can generate, explained Bandaru.

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Oct 3, 2018

Silicon Valley’s Keystone Problem: ‘A Monoculture of Thought’

Posted by in category: engineering

Ms. Powell does not have any easy or obvious ideas for how to address tech’s monoculture. She thinks of her book as starting a conversation. But any solution, she said, will involve “a fundamental, bottoms-up cultural change” — and one that we should not expect to see overnight.


In a satirical new novel, a former Google executive identifies the technology industry’s chief issue: its narrow engineering-focused bubble.

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Sep 28, 2018

Researchers find inspiration in nature to improve ceramic armor

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, cybercrime/malcode, engineering, military

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Future American Soldiers will be better protected in combat by stronger and lighter body armor thanks to innovative work at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Materials science engineers are using nature as the inspiration for breakthroughs in additive manufacturing.

“My project is to design a system that can 3D print armor ceramics that will allow production of parts with graded structures similar to an abalone structure in nature that will improve the ceramic armor’s toughness and survivability with lower weight,” said Joshua Pelz, a materials science and engineering doctoral candidate at the University of California San Diego. He spent this summer working with Army scientists at ARL’s Rodman Materials Science Laboratory at APG to design and build a unique 3D printer.

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