Artisanal pizza – with a robot’s personal touch

by Maura Judkis, The Boston Globe

When robots inevitably take over our planet, as the dystopian vision of science fiction writers foretells, we’ll lose our jobs, our freedom, our humanity. But take comfort in one thing the robots will provide for us lowly carbon-based life-forms: artisanal pizza.

They’re already making it in a commercial kitchen in the heart of Silicon Valley: Two robots named Pepe and Giorgio squirt sauce on dough, and another robot, Marta, spreads it. A robotic arm named Bruno puts the pizza in the oven. Continue reading Artisanal pizza – with a robot’s personal touch

WiFi for the Internet of Things gets a name: ‘WiFi HaLow’

by Matt Hamblen, Network World

Look for low-power, long-range gear to be certified in 2018

A new low-power, long-range version of WiFi that bolsters Internet of Things (IoT) connections will be dubbed WiFi HaLow, the WiFi Alliance revealed today in advance of CES.

WiFi HaLow (pronounced HAY-Low) is based on the pending IEEE 802.11ah specification. It will be used in coming years for everything from smart homes and wearables to smart cities and connected cars where thousands of battery-operated sensors can be connected to a single WiFi Access Point (AP). Continue reading WiFi for the Internet of Things gets a name: ‘WiFi HaLow’

Robot surgeon can slice eyes finely enough to remove cataracts

by Sally Adee, New Scientist

See what it can do. A new surgical robot can make the micro-scale movements needed for a particularly delicate procedure: cataract surgery.

Axsis, a system developed by Cambridge Consultants, is a small, tele-operated robot with two arms tipped with tiny pincers. It’s designed to operate on the eye with greater accuracy than a human.

Globally, 20 million people have cataract surgery every year, making it one of the most common surgeries in the world. Although complications are very rare, they still affect tens of thousands of people. Continue reading Robot surgeon can slice eyes finely enough to remove cataracts

Is Stephen Hawking right: Could the rise of artificial intelligence mark humanity’s final chapter?

The Conversation

Star physicist Stephen Hawking has reiterated his concerns that the rise of powerful artificial intelligence (AI) systems could spell the end for humanity. Speaking at the launch of the University of Cambridge’s Center for the Future of Intelligence on 19 October, he did, however, acknowledge that AI equally has the potential to be one of the best things that could happen to us.

So are we on the cusp of creating super-intelligent machines that could put humanity at existential risk?

There are those who believe that AI will be a boom for humanity, improving health services and productivity as well as freeing us from mundane tasks. However, the most vocal leaders in academia and industry are convinced that the danger of our own creations turning on us is real. Continue reading Is Stephen Hawking right: Could the rise of artificial intelligence mark humanity’s final chapter?

Is WiFi finally ‘fast enough’?

by Jon Gold, NetworkWorld

The answer to this question about WiFi is surprisingly complicated

WiFi has become so ubiquitous over the past decade and a half that we talk about it – and complain about it – like it’s part of the weather. Be honest, average user – the first thing you think when your connection starts acting up is “damn it, what’s wrong with the WiFi now?” Continue reading Is WiFi finally ‘fast enough’?

Zotac’s new VR Go mini PC comes with straps, so you don’t have to buy a backpack

by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Zotac has introduced multiple mini PCs that are VR-ready and able to fit in backpacks, but now the company is planning to release a computer that comes with removable straps attached, according to Anandtech. I love an all-in-one purchase. The VR Go PC is packed with:

  • Intel Core i7 processor
  • GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card
  • Removable battery
  • 2.5-inch HDD or SSD bay
  • One HDMI output
  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • A power connector
  • A proprietary cooling system

Continue reading Zotac’s new VR Go mini PC comes with straps, so you don’t have to buy a backpack

Face electrodes let you taste and chew in virtual reality

by Victoria Turk, New Scientist

You’re having dinner in a virtual reality game. The banquet scene in front of you looks so real that your mouth is watering. Normally, you would be disappointed, but not this time. You approach the food, stick out your tongue – and taste the flavors on display. You move your jaw to chew – and feel the food’s texture between your teeth.

Experiments with “virtual food” use electronics to emulate the taste and feel of the real thing, even when there’s nothing in your mouth. This tech could add new sensory inputs to virtual reality or augment real-world dining experiences, especially for people with restricted diets or health issues that affect their ability to eat. Continue reading Face electrodes let you taste and chew in virtual reality

Forget your old alarm system – This drone will protect your house

by Matt McFarland, CNN Money

A new startup wants to turn drones into guardian angels for our homes.

Sunflower Labs — with headquarters in Silicon Valley and Zurich, Switzerland — announced a new security system on Thursday that detects possible threats and investigates them with a drone.

The drone streams video to your smartphone, so you can see and decide if your home is at risk or not.

Sunflower Labs, which is now accepting participant applications, will start beta tests in mid-2017. The startup sees itself as a complement to traditional alarms. Continue reading Forget your old alarm system – This drone will protect your house

RPI researchers use nanoparticles to treat influenza in mice

by Zachary Matson, The Daily Gazette

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute demonstrated in a paper published last month how they successfully treated immune-compromised mice exposed to the influenza virus with a new nano-particle drug.

The drug, designed and tested by a team of RPI and South Korean researchers, uses “structural decoys” to attract the virus’ coat protein that would otherwise bind to lung cells. Once the virus adheres to the drug, it eventually “self-destructs.” Continue reading RPI researchers use nanoparticles to treat influenza in mice

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