ets take a close look at three related terms (Deep Learning vs Machine Learning vs Pattern Recognition), and see how they relate to some of the hottest tech-themes in 2015 (namely Robotics and Artificial Intelligence).
A new technique for finding and characterizing microbes has boosted the number of known bacteria by almost 50 percent, revealing a hidden world all around us.
A team of microbiologists based at the University of California, Berkeley, recently figured out one such new way of detecting life. At a stroke, their work expanded the number of known types — or phyla — of bacteria by nearly 50 percent, a dramatic change that indicates just how many forms of life on earth have escaped our notice so far.
“Some of the branches in the tree of life had been noted before,” said Chris Brown, a student in the lab of Jill Banfield and lead author of the paper. “With this study we were able to fill in many gaps.”
As an organizational tool, the tree of life has been around for a long time. Lamarck had his version. Darwin had another. The basic structure of the current tree goes back 40 years to the microbiologist Carl Woese, who divided life into three domains: eukaryotes, which include all plants and animals; bacteria; and archaea, single-celled microorganisms with their own distinct features. After a point, discovery came to hinge on finding new ways of searching. “We used to think there were just plants and animals,” said Edward Rubin, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute. “Then we got microscopes, and got microbes. Then we got small levels of DNA sequencing.”
DNA sequencing is at the heart of this current study, though the researchers’ success also owes a debt to more basic technology. The team gathered water samples from a research site on the Colorado River near the town of Rifle, Colo. Before doing any sequencing, they passed the water through a pair of increasingly fine filters — with pores 0.2 and 0.1 microns wide — and then analyzed the cells captured by the filters. At this point they already had undiscovered life on their hands, for the simple reason that scientists had not thought to look on such a tiny scale before. “Most people assumed that bacteria were bigger, and most bacteria are bigger,” Rubin said. “Banfield has shown that there are whole populations that are very small.”
The researchers extracted the DNA from the cellular material and sent it to the Joint Genome Institute for sequencing. What they got back was a mess. Imagine being handed a box of pieces from thousands of different jigsaw puzzles and having to assemble them without knowing what any of the final images look like. That’s the challenge researchers face when performing metagenomic analysis — sequencing scrambled genetic material from many organisms at once.
The Berkeley team began the reassembly process with algorithms that assembled bits of the sequenced genetic code into slightly longer strings called contigs. “You no longer have tiny pieces of DNA, you have bigger pieces,” Brown said. “Then you figure out which of these larger pieces are part of a single genome.”
This part of the process, in which contigs are combined to reconstruct the genome sequence, is called genome binning. To execute it, the researchers relied on another set of algorithms, customized for the task by Itai Sharon, a co-author of the study. They also assembled some of the genomes manually, making decisions about what goes where based on the fact that some characteristics are consistent for a given genome. For example, the percentage of Gs and Cs will be similar on any part of an organism’s DNA.
When the assembly was complete, the researchers had eight full bacterial genomes and 789 draft genomes that were roughly 90 percent complete. Some of the organisms had been glimpsed before; many others were completely new.
Researchers have for the first time succeeded in recording a binary code on a synthetic polymer. Inspired by the capacity of DNA to retain an enormous amount of genetic information, the team synthesized and read a multi-bit message on an artificial polymer.
The [ VOILESjSAILS ] project was born from architect and artist Nicolas Reeves’ will to evoke the age-oldmyth of an architecture freed from the law of gravity. Many challenges had to be solved in order to achieve this result, and many skills and expertises were required to implement the different modules of the project, from mechatronics to high-level behavior programming. Standing at the crossroads between Art, Architecture and Science, this highly interdisciplinary project brings together researchers from the artistic, technological and scientific realms in an international academic collaboration. Accordingly, the structure, software, mechatronics and artistic concepts were developed in order to allow rapid implementation of new behaviors and potentials for the robots. This paper presents an overview of the development required to create this robotic platform. It is shown that the modular architecture of both the mechatronics and the software was essential for this international and multidisciplinary initiative.
David St-Onge - Nicolas Reeves - Cĺement Gosselin
Brain-controlled prosthetics could be widely available in three years time. Iceland-based orthopaedics company Ossur made the announcement after publicly demonstrating the working technology, currently being trialled by two volunteers.
However, given WIRED's May issue featured the story of a tetraplegic woman who could control a robotic arm using only her thoughts -- thanks to a series of electrodes linked to her brain -- you'd be forgiven for thinking brain-controlled prostheses were already par for the course.
And yes the tech, known as myoelectric prostheses, has been in development for years. They work by implanting tiny sensors into the muscle adjacent to the site of amputation, using salvaged nerves to send signals from the brain, via the sensor, to the prosthetic, where a receiver translates that message into movement. Ordinary electronic prostheses, including Ossur's original Proprio Foot, use algorithms to process data from sensors to predict a wearer's next movement. The company, which made Oscar Pistorius' Flex-Foot Cheetah blades, only delivered the upgraded version to two patients 14 months ago.
A bio-inspired prototype “soft robot” material with greater dexterity and mobility than conventional hard robots has been created by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering.
“In biology, directed movement involves some form of shape changes, such as the expansion and contraction of muscles,” said Anna C. Balazs, PhD, the Swanson School’s Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “So we asked whether we could mimic these basic interconnected functions in a synthetic system so that it could simultaneously change its shape and move.”
Thinking through Digital Media offers a means of conceptualizing digital media by looking at projects that think through digital media, migrating between documentary, experimental, narrative, animation, video game, and live performance. Hudson and Zimmermann analyze projects at the intersections of imbedded technologies, transitory micropublics, human-machine interface, and critical cartographies to forward a set of speculations about how things work together rather than what they represent. The book frames debates on participation/surveillance, outsourcing, global warming, migrations, GMOs, and war across some of the most dynamic, innovative sites for digital media, including Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United States.
Special thanks to Thomas Shevory, Sharon Tay, and Claudia Pederson at FLEFF and to Gina Marchetti, Tim Murray, and Jan-Christopher Horak for the wonderful endorsements. Our book would not have been possible without the inspiring projects by artists/intellectuals/advocates and collectives, including Dena Al-Adeeb, Rico Loco Aditjondro, Nicole Əntēbī, Craig Baldwin, Mez Breeze, Rebecca Baron, Ursula Biemann, Eduardo Cachucho, Helen De Michiel, Leonard Retel Helmrich, Babak Fakhamzadeh, Jonny Farrow, Renate Ferro, Doug Goodwin, Ben Grosser, Invisible-Borders Trans-African, Art Jones, Shambhavi Kaul, Laura Kissel, Nick Knouf, Brenda Longfellow, Jennifer McCoy, Christina McPhee, Evan Meaney, Torry Mendoza, Minoo Moallem, Carlos Alejandro Motta, Leila Christine Nadir, Raqs Media Collective, Alex Rivera, Stephanie Rothenberg, Ruang Rupa, Eddo Stern, Simon Tarr, Ushahidi, Uturn Entertainment, Miyö Van Stenis, Visualizing Palestine, Anders Weberg, Kenneth White, and many others
Noise Mapping is a peer-reviewed (single-blind peer-review), electronic-only journal that will promote and spread knowledge on noise mapping through the publication of high quality peer-reviewed papers focusing on the following aspects:
noise mapping and noise action plans: case studies;
models and algorithms for source characterization and outdoor sound propagation: proposals,
applications, comparisons, round robin tests;
local, national and international policies and good practices for noise mapping, planning,
management and control;
evaluation of noise mitigation actions;
evaluation of environmental noise exposure;
actions and communications to increase public awareness of environmental noise issues;
outdoor soundscape studies and mapping;
classification, evaluation and preservation of quiet areas.
The goal of the journal is to be the first and the main publishing option for authors writing on noise mapping and related topics, and a hub integrating the relevant research community in the field of environmental noise and soundscape studies. The journal is addressed to scientists, practitioners and public bodies representatives (for example environmental protection agencies) carrying out research and/or interested in environmental noise mapping, planning and control issues.
Papers concerning noise mapping of emissions by the following sources are welcome for publication:
roads; railways; airports and aircrafts; harbours and ships; industrial plants; leisure and night-life activities;
Following on from three highly successful years of partnership with Ars Electronica, Arts@CERN launches today the open call for Collide@CERN Ars Electronica, the award in which artists from any country are invited to apply for a residency of two months at CERN. This call is open for digital artists, innovative concepts and ideas in the field of art, science and technology.
"Genspace is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting education in molecular biology for both children and adults. We work inside and outside of traditional settings, providing a safe, supportive environment for training and mentoring in biotechnology."
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) are taking inspiration from nature in the search for new materials that could one day be used to create more effective body armor. The study, which was supported by the US Air Force, focuses on the unique structure and strength of the hexagonally-scaled shell of the boxfish.
The idea of looking to nature for inspiration when it comes to next-gen armor isn't anything new. We've seen numerous studies over the last few years that focus on that same idea, including efforts to copy the structure of overlapping fish scales and even the properties of sea sponges to develop strong yet flexible armor.
Following in the footsteps of that research, the UCSD team decided to focus on the boxfish, an animal that's been able to survive for some 35 million years in an environment dominated by aggressive fish that are often much larger than it.
To unravel the secrets of the ancient creature, the team used electron microscopy to study its carapace and took cross sections of the fish, using micro-computer tomography to characterize its structure.
Brighton Digital Festival is incredibly pleased to announce two new artistic commissioning opportunities for the 2015 Festival, which will run from September 1st to 27th this year. These two new commissioning strands have been developed to support artists, technologists and contemporary creative practitioners to produce ambitious new work for the 2015 Festival.
Prior commissions by the Festival have supported artworks such as Oliver Hein’s kinetic multimedia installation Hidden Lines, and Joseph Young’s subversive yet earnest exploration of democracy in Revolution #10. As the Festival continues to grow, the depth and scope of the arts commissions is being ever expanded to reflect the diverse nature of contemporary arts practice, and increase the opportunities for the Festival to support artists in producing new works. ...
Brighton Digital Festival has over 150 events celebrating digital creativity and innovation. What will you be attending this September?
Science fiction has a long tradition of pitting artificial intelligence against humanity in a struggle for dominance. Ray Kurzweil, a noted futurist and inventor, envisions a more co-operative future. He says the human brain will soon merge with computer networks to form a hybrid artificial intelligence.
Venice Biennale is as provocative as ever, with statues inspired by expletives from the Exorcist, Simon Denny’s scathing study of the NSA and the disembodied arm of a minutely-monitored Amazon worker by Jeremy Deller
Qu’est-ce qui fait l’humain en l’homme ? La question, qui a longtemps reçu une réponse philosophique fondée sur la mise à l’écart du corps comme racine de l’humain, est posée à nouveaux frais dans un contexte où les technologies, dont les biotechnologies, donnent les moyens à l’humanité de provoquer des changements fondamentaux non seulement dans nos modes de vie, mais aussi dans le corps même des femmes et des hommes. Tout se passe comme si l’on voulait que les machines fussent humaines, et les
A new drone camera has been released that allows users to simply throw it in the air and have it follow them around.
The drone is designed to allow people to be filmed without having someone do it for them. It looks to be positioned towards the same people who use Go Pros, mounting them to their head to film snowboarding and other extreme sports, but allows for them to feature in the video themselves.
To use the drone, users simply turn it on and throw it up into the air. From there, it will follow a special transmitter or go in pre-programmed routes.
The drone is waterproof and small, only weighing 2.8 lbs. ...
Something in the human mind, or heart, seems to need a word of praise for all that humanity hasn’t contaminated, and for us that word now is “natural.” Such an ideal can be put to all sorts of rhetorical uses. Among the antivaccination crowd, for example, it’s not uncommon to read about the superiority of something called “natural immunity,” brought about by exposure to the pathogen in question rather than to the deactivated (and therefore harmless) version of it made by humans in laboratories. “When you inject a vaccine into the body,” reads a post on an antivaxxer website, Campaign for Truth in Medicine, “you’re actually performing an unnatural act.” This, of course, is the very same term once used to decry homosexuality and, more recently, same-sex marriage, which the Family Research Council has taken to comparing unfavorably to what it calls “natural marriage.”
With Virginia Barratt, Francesca da Rimini, Cory Doctorow, Shu Lea Cheang, Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc, Andrew McKenzie, Angela Oguntala, Dr. Richard Stallman, Stelarc, Jacob Wamberg, Lu Yang
Inspired by the Phillip K Dick short story “The Electric Ant” this year's CLICK seminar curated with Furtherfield explores how identity and perceptions of reality have changed in a world where humans, society and technology have merged in unexpected ways. Who are we, what's real, where can we expect to go from here, and how can we get there together? From future shock to FOMO (fear of missing out), accelerating technological change has disrupted our perception of ourselves and the world around us. Pervasive computing, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, drones and robotics, neural interfaces and implants, 3D printing, nanotechnology, big data and ever more technologies are redrawing the boundaries of what it means to be human and what it means to be you. At the same time the design and unintended consequences of technology are creating new mass behaviours. And the productive forces of social media, peer production, hacker culture and maker culture are creating new possibilities for creation and expression. All of this changes how we relate to one another within society as part of the public. This years CLICK festival, co-curated by Furtherfield sets out to explore questions related to identity and perceptions of reality in a world where humans and technology have merged in unexpected ways.
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