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Does technology harm toddlers?

Does technology harm toddlers? | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Should parents worry if pre-school children love fiddling with their smart phone? Recent research suggests touch screens suit the way children interact with the world and could benefit learning.

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Children under five years old have an uncanny knack of knowing how to master new technology.

From smart phones to tablet computers and game consoles, it is not unusual to see toddlers intuitively swiping screens and confidently pressing buttons.

Even if parents enjoy the momentary peace that comes with handing a small child a gadget to play with, parents secretly worry that this screen time is damaging their brains.

But it appears that screens can be beneficial to learning - and the more interactive the experience the better.

Research from the University of Wisconsin, presented at a meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development this week, found that children aged between two and three were more likely to respond to video screens that prompted children to touch them than to a video screen that demanded no interaction.

The more interactive the screen, the more real it was, and the more familiar it felt from a two-year-old's perspective, the study suggested.

Heather Kirkorian, assistant professor in human development and family studies, carried out the research and says touch screens could hold educational potential for toddlers.

When she did another test on word learning, the results were repeated.

"Kids who are interacting with the screen get better much faster, make fewer mistakes and learn faster.

"But we're not turning them into geniuses, just helping them get a little more information."

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Machine-Learning Algorithm Mines Rap Lyrics, Then Writes Its Own | MIT Technology Review

Machine-Learning Algorithm Mines Rap Lyrics, Then Writes Its Own | MIT Technology Review | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
The ancient skill of creating and performing spoken rhyme is thriving today because of the inexorable rise in the popularity of rapping. This art form is distinct from ordinary spoken poetry because it is performed to a beat, often with background music.

And the performers have excelled. Adam Bradley, a professor of English at the University of Colorado has described it in glowing terms. Rapping, he says, crafts “intricate structures of sound and rhyme, creating some of the most scrupulously formal poetry composed today.”

The highly structured nature of rap makes it particularly amenable to computer analysis. And that raises an interesting question: if computers can analyze rap lyrics, can they also generate them?

Today, we get an affirmative answer thanks to the work of Eric Malmi at the University of Aalto in Finland and few pals. These guys have trained a machine-learning algorithm to recognize the salient features of a few lines of rap and then choose another line that rhymes in the same way on the same topic. The result is an algorithm that produces rap lyrics that rival human-generated ones for their complexity of rhyme.

Various forms of rhyme crop up in rap but the most common, and the one that helps distinguish it from other forms of poetry, is called assonance rhyme. This is the repetition of similar vowel sounds such as in the words “crazy” and “baby” which share two similar vowel sounds. (That’s different from consonance, which uses similar consonant sounds, such as in “pitter patter” and different from perfect rhyme where words share the same ending sound such as “slang” and “gang.”)

Because of its prevalence in rap, Malmi and co focus exclusively on the way assonance appears in rap lyrics. But they also assume a highly structured form of verse consisting of 16 lines, each of which equals one musical bar and so must be made up of four beats. The lines typically, but not necessarily, rhyme at the end.

To train their machine learning algorithm, they begin with a database of over 10,000 songs from more than 100 rap artists.
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Teaching Robots to Appreciate Poetry

Teaching Robots to Appreciate Poetry | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Over the course of 1967 and 1968, Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges delivered a series of lectures at Harvard about the nature of human language. In one of these lectures, he spent a good deal of time ruminating on the importance of metaphor and its limitless possibilities in language. Borges theorized that despite these boundless possibilities for poetic language, there were nevertheless distinct patterns of metaphors that kept cropping up—a favorite example of his being the metaphorical equivalence of "stars" and "eyes."

It was this lecture series given by the surrealist writer that inspired Poetry for Robots, a project launched last week through a partnership between Neologic, Webvisions, and The Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. The project seeks to put Borges’ theory to the test, asking on their website whether it is possible to teach machines the poetic quality of human language.
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L'Oreal to start 3D-printing skin - BBC News

L'Oreal to start 3D-printing skin - BBC News | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
French cosmetics firm L'Oreal is teaming up with bio-engineering start-up Organovo to 3D-print human skin.

It said the printed skin would be used in product tests.

Organovo has already made headlines with claims that it can 3D-print a human liver but this is its first tie-up with the cosmetics industry.

Experts said the science might be legitimate but questioned why a beauty firm would want to print skin.

L'Oreal currently grows skin samples from tissues donated by plastic surgery patients. It produces more than 100,000, 0.5 sq cm skin samples per year and grows nine varieties across all ages and ethnicities.

Its statement explaining the advantage of printing skin, offered little detail: "Our partnership will not only bring about new advanced in vitro methods for evaluating product safety and performance, but the potential for where this new field of technology and research can take us is boundless."
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How we made an octopus-inspired surgical robot using coffee

How we made an octopus-inspired surgical robot using coffee | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
The unparalleled motion and manipulation abilities of soft-bodied animals such as the octopus have intrigued biologists for many years. How can an animal that has no bones transform its tentacles from a soft state to a one stiff enough to catch and even kill prey?

A group of scientists and engineers has attempted to answer this question in order to replicate the abilities of an octopus tentacle in a robotic surgical tool. Last week, members of this EU-funded project known as STIFF-FLOP (STIFFness controllable Flexible and Learnable manipulator for surgical OPerations) unveiled the group’s latest efforts.

Conventional surgical robots are based on structures made from rigid linked components. This means they can only reach sites inside a patient’s abdomen by moving along straight lines and cannot navigate around organs that may be in the way. It also means they risk damaging healthy tissue during an operation.
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Robot pets could change human relationship with animals, researcher says

Robot pets could change human relationship with animals, researcher says | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Robot pets could be common place in 10 years' time and change the way we interact and relate with the real things, a Melbourne researcher believes.

Dr Jean-Loup Rault from Melbourne University studies animal welfare and the way humans and animals interact with each other.

Recently, he has been looking into how technology has changed the way we relate to animals and pets.

"We know very little about robotic pets, virtual animals online and what they actually do to people," Dr Rault said.

"Is that going to change the way we relate to animals? Can that be a substitute to a live pet?

"Technology is moving very fast. The Tamagotchi in the early 1990s was really a prototype of a robotic pet and now Sony and other big companies have elaborated a lot on what have become robotic animals."

He said humans were able to become emotionally attached to objects.

"There's anecdotal evidence and a few studies that show people actually develop a bond, some kind of emotional attachment to those robots," Dr Rault said.

"They know it's not a live pet, they don't consider it as a live animal but they also don't consider it a mere object.

"It has an intermittent status between that of an animal and that of an object that projects some kind of personality."
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A softer, gentler robot controlled by light | KurzweilAI

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.”
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This New App Wants to Be the iTunes of Smells | WIRED

This New App Wants to Be the iTunes of Smells | WIRED | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
David Edwards has strong opinions on scent. His big theory: We don’t give smell nearly enough attention. “When you think about how important the olfactive is in almost every type of communication,” he has said, “its absence in global communication is sort of astounding.”

He may be right. We tap on backlit screens and listen to all manner of media through headphones, but somehow scent—with its remarkable ability to tell stories and evoke emotion—still hasn’t broken into the technological mainstream. Edwards hopes to change that.

This week, Edwards, co-creator of a scent-sending device called oPhone, is launching oNotes. It’s an iPad app that brings together all the applications you can use with oPhone. It aims to be the home of all of your olfactory media—scent-augmented movies, books, photos and music. Edwards describes oNotes as the “iTunes of scent,” the control center for a new era of sensory experience focused on making smell as integral to media consumption as sight and sound.
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A Pair Of Robot Arms Could Make You Dinner

A Pair Of Robot Arms Could Make You Dinner | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
The 2011 MasterChef champion Tim Anderson has a new apprentice--a robo-chef.

“It’s the ultimate sous-chef,” Anderson told BBC News. “You tell it to do something--whether it’s a bit of prep or completing a whole dish from start to finish--and it will do it.”

We’re already giving robots weapons, so why not let them take over our homes too? The London-based company Moley Robotics is demonstrating their new robot chef prototype at Hannover Messe, an annual trade fair for the industrial technology. The robot’s first dish will be crab bisque.

According to the company, the mechanical chef, which incorporates 20 motors, 24 joints and 129 sensors, learns how to cook by watching a plain old human chef, whose movements are turned into commands that drive the robot hands. Moley hopes to eventually create a product that can do everything from preparing the ingredients to cleaning up the kitchen, and include a built-in refrigerator and dishwasher.

The idea is to support the robot with thousands of app-like recipes, and it would allow owners to share their special recipes online.

Can robo-chef handle the complexities of cooking? Rich Walker, whose company Shadow Robot designed the machine, thinks it can overcome challenges like deciding when beaten eggs have peaked.

“Something would change; we would see it in the sensor data. Maybe something gets stiffer or softer,” he said. “We should be able to sense that and use it as the point to transition to the next stage of the cooking process.”
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BMW's 'Mini' to unveil augmented reality driving goggles in China

BMW's 'Mini' to unveil augmented reality driving goggles in China | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Mini, BMW's Britain-based small-car subsidiary, will unveil a fun new concept at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month. But it's not a new car. It's, basically, a cooler version of Google Goggles.

For starters, these actually look kind of like goggles, as in the kind World War I fighter pilots used to wear. Style matters since these aren't meant meant only to be worn inside your Mini Cooper.

If you've ever driven to a destination and then not known where to go once you got out of your car, Mini's Augmented Vision Goggles have an app just for that. Navigation prompts displayed inside the goggle's lenses will guide you, step by step, right to the front door. Likewise, if you forget where you parked your car, the goggles can guide you back.

Once you're in the car, the goggles will show navigation and other information like your speed and the speed limit for the road you're on. Even as the driver turns his head, data is always shown at a consistent spot just above the steering wheel.
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GermFalcon robot is made to sanitize airliners

GermFalcon robot is made to sanitize airliners | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Airliner cabins can get pretty germy. They're packed full of people from all over the world, who spend hours doing things like coughing, sneezing and touching surfaces with their grubby li'l hands. It was with this in mind that Arthur Kreitenberg and his son Mo created the GermFalcon. It's a robot that kills germs on planes, using ultraviolet light.

First of all, no, it doesn't roam around amongst the passengers while the airplane is in flight. Instead, it's intended for use between flights, while the aircraft is parked and empty.

The wheeled robot has the same footprint as an onboard drinks cart, so it's able to autonomously move down the aisle unimpeded – with the help of a proximity sensor. As it does so, it spreads its two "wings" over the seats on either side. Those wings contain UV-C lamps, which are the same type used for disinfection in places like hospitals and water treatment plants. It also has UV-C lamps on its top and sides.

According to the Kreitenbergs, in tests conducted on airliner seating areas, exposure to those lights killed 99.99 percent of microbes within 10 minutes.
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A hyperspectral smartphone-based Star Trek ‘tricorder’ | KurzweilAI

A hyperspectral smartphone-based Star Trek ‘tricorder’ | KurzweilAI | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Tel Aviv University researchers hope to turn smartphones into powerful hyperspectral sensors that determine precise spectral data for each pixel in an image.

As with the Star Trek tricorder,* the enhanced smartphones would be capable of identifying the chemical components of objects from a distance, based on unique hyperspectral signatures.

The technology combines an optical component and image processing software, according to Prof. David Mendlovic of TAU’s School of Electrical Engineering and his doctoral student, Ariel Raz.

The researchers, together with spinoff Unispectral Technologies, have patented an optical component based on existing microelectromechanical (MEMS) technology. The design is suitable for mass production and compatible with standard smartphone camera designs.

Unispectral is in talks with other companies to analyze the images, using a large database of hyperspectral signatures. A prototype is scheduled for release in June, says Mendlovic.

Applications of the sensor include consumer electronics, the automotive industry, biotechnology, homeland security, remote health monitoring, industrial quality control, and agricultural crop identification, according to Mendlovic.

Unispectral’s funders include Sandisk and Momentum Fund, which is backed by Tata Group Ltd. and Singapore-based Temasek.
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Software gauges 'state of mind' from selfie video - Futurity

Software gauges 'state of mind' from selfie video - Futurity | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it

A new computer program could soon analyze your “selfie” videos for clues to mental health.

Apps to monitor people’s health can track the spread of the flu, for example, or provide guidance on nutrition and managing mental health issues.

Jiebo Luo, professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, explains that his team’s approach is to “quietly observe your behavior” while you use the computer or phone as usual.

He adds that their program is “unobtrusive.” Users won’t need to wear special gear, describe their feelings, or add any extra information, he says.

From Tweets to forehead color

For example, the team was able to measure a user’s heart rate simply by monitoring very small, subtle changes in the user’s forehead color. The system does not grab other data that might be available through the phone—such as the user’s location.

The researchers were able to analyze the video data to extract a number of “clues,” such as heart rate, blinking rate, eye pupil radius, and head movement rate. At the same time, the program also analyzed both what the users posted on Twitter, what they read, how fast they scrolled, their keystroke rate, and their mouse click rate.

Not every bit of information is treated equally, however: what a user tweets, for example, is given more weight than what the user reads because it is a more direct expression of what that user is thinking and feeling.

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Prosthetics with a difference

Prosthetics with a difference | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Sophie de Oliveira Barata runs the Alternative Limb Project, creating unique prosthetics designed to reflect the wearer's personality

Sophie de Oliveira Barata started her career making realistic-looking artificial limbs for amputees.

But at university she had studied special effects prosthetics for TV and film, and wondered if she could use her skills to make limbs that looked more unusual and "spoke from people's soul".

Sophie set up the Alternative Limb Project and now makes bespoke, design-focused prosthetics from materials such wood, glass and metal that reflect the wearer's personality and imagination, as well as making ultra-realistic limbs.

Among others, she has designed limbs for model and singer-songwriter Viktoria Modesta and athlete Jo-Jo Cranfield.

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Brain controlled prosthetics are finally coming to market (Wired UK)

Brain controlled prosthetics are finally coming to market (Wired UK) | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
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.
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These Sols Adaptiv high-tops are 3D printed, robotic and adapt to your feet

These Sols Adaptiv high-tops are 3D printed, robotic and adapt to your feet | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
The futuristic boots are made from a shell, 3D printed by specialists Shapeways, using a material called Elasto Plastic which is similar to nylon. The bonkers design is the work of Sols' collaborator on the project, Continuum Fashion.

But it doesn't stop there, a 3D printed inner boot can be completely customised to the wearer based on a 3D scan of the feet and ankles. And custom insoles inside, also 3D printed, will have air bags and air pockets to precisely alter the fit.
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Less zen, but more efficient: How the digital age is really affecting our brains

Less zen, but more efficient: How the digital age is really affecting our brains | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
A comprehensive Microsoft study is offering insights into how living in the digital age is affecting our ability to sustain attention, and how our brains are adapting to the constant flow of new stimuli. Although the results confirmed the suspicions that the information overflow is affecting our ability to focus on one task for long periods of time, the news isn't all bad, as it seems we're also training our brains to multitask more effectively.
From zen to multi-tabbing

When the dinner guest of zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offered to wash the dishes before enjoying some tea together, the master asked his guest if he truly knew how to wash the dishes. For, said the master, there are two ways of doing so: washing the dishes in order to enjoy a cup of tea later on, and washing the dishes in order to wash the dishes. If one washes the dishes the first way, then he also won't be able to enjoy the tea, as his mind will again be solely preoccupied with what comes next. But in the second way, even the simplest of tasks becomes enjoyable.

In the age of constant smartphone notifications, flashy ads and extreme multitasking, it seems that keeping a zen-like focus on a single task for extended periods of time is increasingly becoming an utopia. And because we know that our brains are remarkably flexible, adapting to our habits and environment, it's interesting to ask how people (heavy technology users in particular) are being affected by the digital age.

At first, it would be sensible to assume that the never-ending flow of stimuli is hurting our attention spans, as we quickly become accustomed to switching from watching TV, multi-tabbing our internet browsers and tinkering with our smartphones in a constant, addictive search for the next dopamine hit.

But a comprehensive study by Microsoft revealed that things aren't quite as black and white. Attention cannot be reduced to a single figure, because different tasks require different types of attention. The Microsoft study distinguished between three types of attention – sustained (maintaining prolonged focus during repetitive activities), selective (avoiding distraction) and alternating (efficiently switching between tasks), and set out to understand how factors such as social media usage and and multi-screening behavior affected different types of attention.

The research consisted of a comprehensive survey of 2,000 Canadians of all ages, along with in-depth neurological surveys to better quantify attention spikes. And although some results came out as expected, there were a few surprises.
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Is memory needed in a digital age? - BBC News

Is memory needed in a digital age? - BBC News | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
How many of your family or friends' phone numbers can you remember off the top of your head?

I only ask because increasingly we all rely on our electronic devices to remember such information for us.

But when the idea of allowing students to use search engines in exams was suggested recently, the immediate fear was "dumbing down".

Only a few years ago, there was a similar debate about the use of calculators.

For the 11-year-olds sitting their national curriculum tests, often known as Sats, in England this week, the emphasis is on mental arithmetic.

Calculators are no longer permitted.

Their use will also be limited in the new GCSE maths exams, for which students will start studying this autumn.
No dictionaries

Dictionaries have had a similarly chequered track record in foreign language exams.

They were banned 15 years ago, after research suggested they gave the brightest students a greater advantage.

Newly redrafted GCSEs in French, Spanish and German will be introduced in 2016.
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Computers That Know How You Feel Will Soon Be Everywhere | WIRED

Computers That Know How You Feel Will Soon Be Everywhere | WIRED | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Sometime next summer, you’ll be able to watch a horror series that is exactly as scary as you want it to be—no more, no less. You’ll pull up the show, which relies on software from the artificial intelligence startup Affectiva, and tap a button to opt in. Then, while you stare at your iPad, its camera will stare at you.

The software will read your emotional reactions to the show in real time. Should your mouth turn down a second too long or your eyes squeeze shut in fright, the plot will speed along. But if they grow large and hold your interest, the program will draw out the suspense. “Yes, the killing is going to happen, but whether you want to be kept in the tension depends on you,” says Julian McCrea, founder of the London-based studio Portal Entertainment, which has a development deal with a large unidentified entertainment network to produce the series. He calls Affectiva’s face-reading software, Affdex, “an incredible piece of technology.”
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Microsoft Shows HoloLens' Augmented Reality Is No Gimmick | WIRED

Microsoft Shows HoloLens' Augmented Reality Is No Gimmick | WIRED | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Today, Microsoft demonstrated how far its augmented-reality HoloLens wonderland project has come. In fact, it cemented HoloLens’s place as one of the most exciting new technologies we have—just in ways that you may never actually see.

When HoloLens debuted in January, the use cases Microsoft proffered were largely domestic; you could build (Microsoft-owned) Minecraft worlds in your living room, or have conversations over (Microsoft-owned) Skype with far-flung friends who felt a few feet away. Even WIRED’s behind-the-scenes look back then mostly comprised games and other low-stakes living room interactions. While a broad range of industries and institutions have use for augmented reality, Microsoft spent the bulk of its HoloLens introduction emphasizing the device’s consumer potential.
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3D Printed Eyes with WiFi Connection « NextNature.net

3D Printed Eyes with WiFi Connection « NextNature.net | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Nowadays 3D printing is increasingly used for medical purposes and body upgrades to design devices, implants, and a variety of customized prosthetics, from a 3D printed face, to a skull, and even organs.

In the future we may look at the world with new – artificial, 3D printed – eyes. Italian research studio MHOX is working on EYE, a 3D bioprinted sight augmentation. The project envisions the removal of the natural visual system and its replacement with a digitally designed 3D printed one. The original retina would be replaced by a new artificial network, able to offer enhanced vision, WiFi connection and the possibility to record video and take pictures.

In the hope of curing blindness and healing conditions, giving better vision, the 3D printed eyes are expected to be available by 2027.

The eyeballs will be constructed with the use of a bio-ink that contains the cells required to replace those found in natural eyes. Once the original pair of eyes is surgically removed, researchers plan on connecting the 3D printed one to a deck inside the head, which would allow the eyes to be inserted.

“We envision that the link between the deck and the EYE will be based on attractive forces between the tissues more than mechanical joints” MHOX designer Filippo Nassetti explains. “To replace the EYE the user only has to put it in position inside the skull, and the tissues of the Deck and the EYE connect automatically”.
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‘Spin-orbitronics’ could ‘revolutionize the electronics industry’ by manipulating magnetic domains | KurzweilAI

‘Spin-orbitronics’ could ‘revolutionize the electronics industry’ by manipulating magnetic domains | KurzweilAI | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found a new way of manipulating the walls that define magnetic domains (uniform areas in magnetic materials) and the results could one day revolutionize the electronics industry, they say.

Gong Chen and Andreas Schmid, experts in electron microscopy with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, led the discovery of a technique by which the “spin textures” of magnetic domain walls in ultrathin magnets can be switched between left-handed, right-handed, cycloidal, helical and mixed structures.

Electronic memory and logic

The “handedness” or “chirality” of spin texture determines the movement of a magnetic domain wall in response to an electric current, so this technique, which involves the strategic application of uniaxial strain, should lend itself to the creation of domains walls designed for desired electronic memory and logic functions.

“The information sloshing around today’s Internet is essentially a cacophony of magnetic domain walls being pushed around within the magnetic films of memory devices,” says Schmid. “Writing and reading information today involves mechanical processes that limit reliability and speed. Our findings pave the way to use the spin-orbit forces that act upon electrons in a current to propel magnetic domain walls either in the same direction as the current, or in the opposite direction, or even sideways, opening up a rich new smorgasbord of possibilities in the field of spin-orbitronics.”

The study was carried out at at the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM), which is part of the Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The results have been reported in a Nature Communications paper titled “Unlocking Bloch-type chirality in ultrathin magnets through uniaxial strain.” Chen and Schmid are the corresponding authors. Other co-authors are Alpha N’Diaye, Sang Pyo Kang, Hee Young Kwon, Changyeon Won, Yizheng Wu and Z.Q. Qiu.
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This Is What a World Without Language Barriers Would Look Like

This Is What a World Without Language Barriers Would Look Like | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
My dad has a story he likes to tell about one of his friends, a scientist. The scientist was giving a lecture in Japan, and opened with a joke that lasted a couple minutes. After delivering the joke in English, he waited for his translator to relay it to the audience. The translator spoke for only a few seconds, and then the crowd burst out laughing.

After the presentation was over, the scientist asked the translator how she managed to distill the humor of his joke down into such a concise form. She shrugged and said, “I said that the American visitor just told a very funny joke, and that they should all laugh now.”

The scientist's story illustrates the subjective, human quality of translation. Moving between languages is rarely a matter of transposing literal meaning; it requires the constant triage of unexpected inputs, endless judgment calls, and some social awareness. In other words, it’s something that humans are cut out for, and that computers are not.
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Inkjet-printed liquid metal could lead to new wearable tech, soft robotics | KurzweilAI

Inkjet-printed liquid metal could lead to new wearable tech, soft robotics | KurzweilAI | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
Purdue University researchers have developed a potential manufacturing method called “mechanically sintered gallium-indium nanoparticles” that can inkjet-print flexible, stretchable conductors onto anything — including elastic materials and fabrics — and can mass-produce electronic circuits made of liquid-metal alloys for “soft robots” and flexible electronics.

The method uses ultrasound to break up liquid metal into nanoparticles in ethanol solvent to make ink that is compatible with inkjet printing.

Elastic technologies could make possible a new class of pliable robots and stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes.

“Liquid metal in its native form is not inkjet-able,” said Rebecca Kramer, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue. “So what we do is create gallium-indium liquid metal nanoparticles that are small enough to pass through an inkjet nozzle.

“Sonicating [using ultrasound] liquid metal in a carrier solvent, such as ethanol, both creates the nanoparticles and disperses them in the solvent. Then we can print the ink onto any substrate. The ethanol evaporates away so we are just left with liquid metal nanoparticles on a surface.”

After printing, the nanoparticles must be rejoined by applying light pressure, which renders the material conductive. This step is necessary because the liquid-metal nanoparticles are initially coated with oxidized gallium, which acts as a skin that prevents electrical conductivity.

“But it’s a fragile skin, so when you apply pressure it breaks the skin and everything coalesces into one uniform film,” Kramer said. “We can do this either by stamping or by dragging something across the surface, such as the sharp edge of a silicon tip.”
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Festo unveils robotic ants, butterflies and chameleon tongue gripper

Festo unveils robotic ants, butterflies and chameleon tongue gripper | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
As a taste of things to come at next month's Hannover Messe trade show in Germany, Festo has revealed three new biomimetic creations: a small colony of ants, a gripper modeled on a chameleon's ton...
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Hands-on: Thync mood-changing wearable is like doing drugs, without all the bad stuff

Hands-on: Thync mood-changing wearable is like doing drugs, without all the bad stuff | Cyborg Lives | Scoop.it
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After spending a week walking the showroom floors of CES, a wearable claiming to change your mood is probably going to activate your BS sensors. But today our demo of the Thync wearable was the rare CES meeting that's everything it's pretending to be – possibly more. Your neighborhood drug dealer might want to start looking for a new line of work.

The Thync has some similarities to TENS units (like those found in Chiropractor's offices), but instead of slapping pads onto your lower back, you place them on your head. It uses "neurosignaling" to either calm you down or energize you.

As the company explains, "Neurosignaling uses electronic or ultrasonic waveforms to signal neural pathways in the brain. When specific pathways are stimulated, they trigger a shift in your state of mind or energy level."

Are your BS sensors going off yet? If so, we don't blame you. The technology world is full of stuff that sounds almost exactly like this, and most of it is about as authentic as Milli Vanilli.

But Thync works. During our demo with the Thync team, I tried the calming mode followed by the energized mode, and it was like drugs – minus all the bad stuff. More specifically, the calming mode was much like smoking a joint (minus the munchies, bloodshot eyes and memory loss). And though we were expecting the energizing mode to be similar to caffeine, it was more like the effects of Ephedrine (I used it a few times back in the 90s, before it started killing athletes, when it was sold over-the-counter). Rather than an antsy, over-caffeinated state, I found it to be more like a stimulated clarity – like a veil of fuzzy grogginess that I wasn't even aware of had been lifted.

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