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Neuroscientist Daniela Schiller is Researching Ways that Bad Memories Can be Made Less Fearsome

Neuroscientist Daniela Schiller is Researching Ways that Bad Memories Can be Made Less Fearsome | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A scientist who has anguished over terrors in her family’s history explores how people might erase the trauma from memories.

 

It was a Saturday night at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and the second-floor auditorium held an odd mix of gray-haired, cerebral Upper East Side types and young, scruffy downtown grad students in black denim. Up on the stage, neuroscientist Daniela Schiller, a riveting figure with her long, straight hair and impossibly erect posture, paused briefly from what she was doing to deliver a mini-lecture about memory.

 

She explained how recent research, including her own, has shown that memories are not unchanging physical traces in the brain. Instead, they are malleable constructs that may be rebuilt every time they are recalled. The research suggests, she said, that doctors (and psychotherapists) might be able to use this knowledge to help patients block the fearful emotions they experience when recalling a traumatic event, converting chronic sources of debilitating anxiety into benign trips down memory lane.

 

And then Schiller went back to what she had been doing, which was providing a slamming, rhythmic beat on drums and backup vocals for the Amygdaloids, a rock band composed of New York City neuroscientists. During their performance at the institute’s second annual “Heavy Mental Variety Show,” the band blasted out a selection of its greatest hits, including songs about cognition (“Theory of My Mind”), memory (“A Trace”), and psychopathology (“Brainstorm”).

 

“Just give me a pill,” Schiller crooned at one point, during the chorus of a song called “Memory Pill.” “Wash away my memories …”

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Can the Intellectual Processes in Science Also Be Simulated? The Anticipation and Visualization of Possible Future States

Socio-cognitive action reproduces and changes both social and cognitive structures. The analytical distinction between these dimensions of structure provides us with richer models of scientific development. In this study, I assume that (i) social structures organize expectations into belief structures that can be attributed to individuals and communities; (ii) expectations are specified in scholarly literature; and (iii) intellectually the sciences (disciplines, specialties) tend to self-organize as systems of rationalized expectations. Whereas social organizations remain localized, academic writings can circulate, and expectations can be stabilized and globalized using symbolically generalized codes of communication. The intellectual restructuring, however, remains latent as a second-order dynamics that can be accessed by participants only reflexively. Yet, the emerging "horizons of meaning" provide feedback to the historically developing organizations by constraining the possible future states as boundary conditions. I propose to model these possible future states using incursive and hyper-incursive equations from the computation of anticipatory systems. Simulations of these equations enable us to visualize the couplings among the historical--i.e., recursive--progression of social structures along trajectories, the evolutionary--i.e., hyper-incursive--development of systems of expectations at the regime level, and the incursive instantiations of expectations in actions, organizations, and texts.
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Still Not Significant

Still Not Significant | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
What to do if your p-value is just over the arbitrary threshold for ‘significance’ of p=0.05?

You don’t need to play the significance testing game – there are better methods, like quoting the effect size with a confidence interval – but if you do, the rules are simple: the result is either significant or it isn’t.

So if your p-value remains stubbornly higher than 0.05, you should call it ‘non-significant’ and write it up as such. The problem for many authors is that this just isn’t the answer they were looking for: publishing so-called ‘negative results’ is harder than ‘positive results’.
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Computational Models of Consumer Confidence from Large-Scale Online Attention Data: Crowd-Sourcing Econometrics

Economies are instances of complex socio-technical systems that are shaped by the interactions of large numbers of individuals. The individual behavior and decision-making of consumer agents is determined by complex psychological dynamics that include their own assessment of present and future economic conditions as well as those of others, potentially leading to feedback loops that affect the macroscopic state of the economic system. We propose that the large-scale interactions of a nation's citizens with its online resources can reveal the complex dynamics of their collective psychology, including their assessment of future system states. Here we introduce a behavioral index of Chinese Consumer Confidence (C3I) that computationally relates large-scale online search behavior recorded by Google Trends data to the macroscopic variable of consumer confidence. Our results indicate that such computational indices may reveal the components and complex dynamics of consumer psychology as a collective socio-economic phenomenon, potentially leading to improved and more refined economic forecasting.

 

Dong X, Bollen J (2015) Computational Models of Consumer Confidence from Large-Scale Online Attention Data: Crowd-Sourcing Econometrics. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0120039. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0120039 ;


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Responding to complexity in socio-economic systems: How to build a smart and resilient society?

The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace. And it has changed in a much more fundamental way than one would think, primarily because it has become more connected and interdependent than in our entire history. Every new product, every new invention can be combined with those that existed before, thereby creating an explosion of complexity: structural complexity, dynamic complexity, functional complexity, and algorithmic complexity. How to respond to this challenge? And what are the costs?

 

Responding to complexity in socio-economic systems: How to build a smart and resilient society?
Dirk Helbing

http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03750


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Flexibility of collective decision making during house hunting in Temnothorax ants - Springer

Flexibility of collective decision making during house hunting in Temnothorax ants - Springer | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Many social animals cooperatively process information during decision making, allowing them to concentrate on the best of several options. However, positive feedback created by information sharing can also lock the group into a suboptimal outcome if option quality changes over time. This creates a trade-off between consensus and flexibility, whose resolution depends on the information-sharing mechanisms groups employ. We investigated the influence of communication behavior on decision flexibility in nest site choice by colonies of the ant Temnothorax rugatulus. These ants divide their emigration into two distinct phases separated by a quorum rule. In the first phase, scouts recruit nestmates to promising sites using the slow method of tandem running. Once a site's population surpasses a quorum, they switch to the faster method of social transport. We gave colonies a choice between two sites of different quality, and then switched site quality at different points during the emigration. Before the quorum was met, colonies were able to switch their choice to the newly superior site, but once they began to transport, their flexibility dropped significantly. Close observation of single ants revealed that transporters were more likely than tandem leaders to continue recruiting to a site even after its quality was diminished. That is, tandem leaders continued to monitor the quality of the site, while transporters instead fully committed to the site without further assessment. We discuss how this change in commitment with quorum attainment may enhance the rapid achievement of consensus needed for nest site selection, but at a cost in flexibility once the quorum is met.

 

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Macroscopic description of complex adaptive networks co-evolving with dynamic node states

In many real-world complex systems, the time-evolution of the network's structure and the dynamic state of its nodes are closely entangled. Here, we study opinion formation and imitation on an adaptive complex network which is dependent on the individual dynamic state of each node and vice versa to model the co-evolution of renewable resources with the dynamics of harvesting agents on a social network. The adaptive voter model is coupled to a set of identical logistic growth models and we show that in such systems, the rate of interactions between nodes as well as the adaptive rewiring probability play a crucial role for the sustainability of the system's equilibrium state. We derive a macroscopic description of the system which provides a general framework to model and quantify the influence of single node dynamics on the macroscopic state of the network and is applicable to many fields of study, such as epidemic spreading or social modeling.
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Mortality, Redundancy, and Diversity in Stochastic Search

We investigate a stochastic search process in one dimension under the competing roles of mortality, redundancy, and diversity of the searchers. This picture represents a toy model for the fertilization of an oocyte by sperm. A population of N independent and mortal diffusing searchers all start at x=L and attempt to reach the target at x=0. When mortality is irrelevant, the search time scales as τD/lnN for lnN≫1, where τD∼L2/D is the diffusive time scale. Conversely, when the mortality rate μ of the searchers is sufficiently large, the search time scales as τD/μ‾‾‾‾‾√, independent of N. When searchers have distinct and high mortalities, a subpopulation with a non-trivial optimal diffusivity are most likely to reach the target. We also discuss the effect of chemotaxis on the search time and its fluctuations.
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Revealing the hidden networks of interaction in mobile animal groups allows prediction of complex behavioral contagion

Revealing the hidden networks of interaction in mobile animal groups allows prediction of complex behavioral contagion | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Coordination among social animals requires rapid and efficient transfer of information among individuals, which may depend crucially on the underlying structure of the communication network. Establishing the decision-making circuits and networks that give rise to individual behavior has been a central goal of neuroscience. However, the analogous problem of determining the structure of the communication network among organisms that gives rise to coordinated collective behavior, such as is exhibited by schooling fish and flocking birds, has remained almost entirely neglected. Here, we study collective evasion maneuvers, manifested through rapid waves, or cascades, of behavioral change (a ubiquitous behavior among taxa) in schooling fish (Notemigonus crysoleucas). We automatically track the positions and body postures, calculate visual fields of all individuals in schools of ∼150 fish, and determine the functional mapping between socially generated sensory input and motor response during collective evasion. We find that individuals use simple, robust measures to assess behavioral changes in neighbors, and that the resulting networks by which behavior propagates throughout groups are complex, being weighted, directed, and heterogeneous. By studying these interaction networks, we reveal the (complex, fractional) nature of social contagion and establish that individuals with relatively few, but strongly connected, neighbors are both most socially influential and most susceptible to social influence. Furthermore, we demonstrate that we can predict complex cascades of behavioral change at their moment of initiation, before they actually occur. Consequently, despite the intrinsic stochasticity of individual behavior, establishing the hidden communication networks in large self-organized groups facilitates a quantitative understanding of behavioral contagion.
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The Robotics Inventors Who Are Trying to Take the ‘Hard’ Out of Hardware

The Robotics Inventors Who Are Trying to Take the ‘Hard’ Out of Hardware | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
A handful of low-budget innovators are working to reinvent rigid, heavy machines and robots with materials that are soft, light, cheap and squeezable.

 

In a converted pipe organ factory in the city’s Mission District, Saul Griffith works on products that are smarter, cheaper and, above all, squiggly.

 

Inside the cavernous building and a nearby garage occupied by Mr. Griffith’s research company Otherlab, small teams gather around laser cutters and machining tools. Some work on arrays of solar panels that follow the sun, guided by what look like ribbed soda bottles and powered by pneumatic pressure. Others fiddle with inflatable exoskeletons intended to help soldiers run far with heavy loads or to help paraplegics walk.

 

These are the kinds of futuristic products promised for years by conventional engineering that are now being made real by a handful of low-budget inventors with an unusual vision: They want to replace traditional brawn and metal with unconventional materials to create cheaper and more effective soft machines.

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2015: The Year of the Data Nerd [Infographic]

2015: The Year of the Data Nerd [Infographic] | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
2015: The Year of the Data Nerd [Infographic] - infographic Digital Commerce, Technical
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Coding Neural Network Back-Propagation Using C#

Coding Neural Network Back-Propagation Using C# | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Back-propagation is the most common algorithm used to train neural networks. There are many ways that back-propagation can be implemented. This article presents a code implementation, using C#, which closely mirrors the terminology and explanation of back-propagation given in the Wikipedia entry on the topic.

 

You can think of a neural network as a complex mathematical function that accepts numeric inputs and generates numeric outputs. The values of the outputs are determined by the input values, the number of so-called hidden processing nodes, the hidden and output layer activation functions, and a set of weights and bias values.

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Multitasking Can Damage Your Brain and Career, Studies Say

Multitasking Can Damage Your Brain and Career, Studies Say | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
You’ve likely heard that multitasking is problematic, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain. Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.
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How To Sell Anything To Anyone: Hair Color, Body Type, And Race Decide Consumer Behavior

Although price and quality play important roles in our decision to purchase a product, science suggests that the appearance of the person attempting to sell the goods also has a hand.

 

What goes through your head when deciding whether or not to purchase an item? It’s likely that quality and price are important factors, but what about the appearance of the model advertising the product or the salesperson attempting to sell it? Science suggests that these factors may be just as important as the product itself when it comes to the consumer’s decision to purchase.

 
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Cascading Walks Model for Human Mobility Patterns

Cascading Walks Model for Human Mobility Patterns | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Abstract

Background

Uncovering the mechanism behind the scaling laws and series of anomalies in human trajectories is of fundamental significance in understanding many spatio-temporal phenomena. Recently, several models, e.g. the explorations-returns model (Song et al., 2010) and the radiation model for intercity travels (Simini et al., 2012), have been proposed to study the origin of these anomalies and the prediction of human movements. However, an agent-based model that could reproduce most of empirical observations without priori is still lacking.

Methodology/Principal Findings

In this paper, considering the empirical findings on the correlations of move-lengths and staying time in human trips, we propose a simple model which is mainly based on the cascading processes to capture the human mobility patterns. In this model, each long-range movement activates series of shorter movements that are organized by the law of localized explorations and preferential returns in prescribed region.

Conclusions/Significance

Based on the numerical simulations and analytical studies, we show more than five statistical characters that are well consistent with the empirical observations, including several types of scaling anomalies and the ultraslow diffusion properties, implying the cascading processes associated with the localized exploration and preferential returns are indeed a key in the understanding of human mobility activities. Moreover, the model shows both of the diverse individual mobility and aggregated scaling displacements, bridging the micro and macro patterns in human mobility. In summary, our model successfully explains most of empirical findings and provides deeper understandings on the emergence of human mobility patterns.
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IBM's Watson Designed The Worst Burrito I've Ever Had

IBM's Watson Designed The Worst Burrito I've Ever Had | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
It’s the worst burrito I’ve ever had.

I don’t know another way to say it. I’m staring at my plate in disbelief. Could burritos be bad? Yes, yes I’d just learned. But that’s not the biggest shocker. The biggest shocker is that this recipe was largely designed by Watson, IBM’s best artificial intelligence—one that had already fed me one of the most uniquely delicious BBQ sauces I’d ever eaten.

I thought through the recipe in my head again. I’d cheated a little, but not enough to ruin a good thing. What went wrong?
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From seconds to months: multi-scale dynamics of mobile telephone calls

Big Data on electronic records of social interactions allow approaching human behaviour and sociality from a quantitative point of view with unforeseen statistical power. Mobile telephone Call Detail Records (CDRs), automatically collected by telecom operators for billing purposes, have proven especially fruitful for understanding one-to-one communication patterns as well as the dynamics of social networks that are reflected in such patterns. We present an overview of empirical results on the multi-scale dynamics of social dynamics and networks inferred from mobile telephone calls. We begin with the shortest timescales and fastest dynamics, such as burstiness of call sequences between individuals, and "zoom out" towards longer temporal and larger structural scales, from temporal motifs formed by correlated calls between multiple individuals to long-term dynamics of social groups. We conclude this overview with a future outlook.

 

From seconds to months: multi-scale dynamics of mobile telephone calls
Jari Saramaki, Esteban Moro

http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01479


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Google open sources a MapReduce framework for C/C++

Google open sources a MapReduce framework for C/C++ | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Google announced on Wednesday that the company is open sourcing a MapReduce framework that will let users run native C and C++ code in their Hadoop environments. Depending on how much traction MapReduce for C, or MR4C, gets and by whom, it could turn out to be a pretty big deal.

Hadoop is famously, or infamously, written in Java and as such can suffer from performance issues compared with native C++ code. That’s why Google’s original MapReduce system was written in C++, as is the Quantcast File System, that company’s homegrown alternative for the Hadoop Distributed File System. And, as the blog post announcing MR4C notes, “many software companies that deal with large datasets have built proprietary systems to execute native code in MapReduce frameworks.”

This is the same sort of rationale behind Facebook’s HipHop efforts and database startup MemSQL, whose system converts SQL to C++ before executing it.
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Embodied Choice: How Action Influences Perceptual Decision Making

Embodied Choice: How Action Influences Perceptual Decision Making | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Embodied Choice considers action performance as a proper part of the decision making process rather than merely as a means to report the decision. The central statement of embodied choice is the existence of bidirectional influences between action and decisions. This implies that for a decision expressed by an action, the action dynamics and its constraints (e.g.current trajectory and kinematics) influence the decision making process. Here we use a perceptual decision making task to compare three types of model: a serial decision-then-action model, a parallel decision-and-action model, and an embodied choice model where the action feeds back into the decision making. The embodied model incorporates two key mechanisms that together are lacking in the other models: action preparation and commitment. First, action preparation strategies alleviate delays in enacting a choice but also modify decision termination. Second, action dynamics change the prospects and create a commitment effect to the initially preferred choice. Our results show that these two mechanisms make embodied choice models better suited to combine decision and action appropriately to achieve suitably fast and accurate responses, as usually required in ecologically valid situations. Moreover, embodied choice models with these mechanisms give a better account of trajectory tracking experiments during decision making. In conclusion, the embodied choice framework offers a combined theory of decision and action that gives a clear case that embodied phenomena such as the dynamics of actions can have a causal influence on central cognition.

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Coding of envelopes by correlated but not single-neuron activity requires neural variability

Coding of envelopes by correlated but not single-neuron activity requires neural variability | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Understanding how the brain processes sensory information is often complicated by the fact that neurons exhibit trial-to-trial variability in their responses to stimuli. Indeed, the role of variability in sensory coding is still highly debated. Here, we examined how variability influences neural responses to naturalistic stimuli consisting of a fast time-varying waveform (i.e., carrier or first order) whose amplitude (i.e., envelope or second order) varies more slowly. Recordings were made from fish electrosensory and monkey vestibular sensory neurons. In both systems, we show that correlated but not single-neuron activity can provide detailed information about second-order stimulus features. Using a simple mathematical model, we made the strong prediction that such correlation-based coding of envelopes requires neural variability. Strikingly, the performance of correlated activity at predicting the envelope was similarly optimally tuned to a nonzero level of variability in both systems, thereby confirming this prediction. Finally, we show that second-order sensory information can only be decoded if one takes into account joint statistics when combining neural activities. Our results thus show that correlated but not single-neural activity can transmit information about the envelope, that such transmission requires neural variability, and that this information can be decoded. We suggest that envelope coding by correlated activity is a general feature of sensory processing that will be found across species and systems.

 
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Rescooped by Ashish Umre from Statistical Physics of Ecological Systems
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Control of Multilayer Networks

The controllability of a network is a theoretical problem of relevance in a variety of contexts ranging from financial markets to the brain. Until now, network controllability has been characterized only on isolated networks, while the vast majority of complex systems are formed by multilayer networks. Here we build a theoretical framework for the linear controllability of multilayer networks by mapping the problem into a combinatorial matching problem. We found that correlating the external signals in the different layers can significantly reduce the multiplex network robustness to node removal, as it can be seen in conjunction with a hybrid phase transition occurring in interacting Poisson networks. Moreover we observe that multilayer networks can stabilize the fully controllable multiplex network configuration that can be stable also when the full controllability of the single network is not stable.

Via Samir
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Task-driven intra- and interarea communications in primate cerebral cortex

Task-driven intra- and interarea communications in primate cerebral cortex | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Neural correlations during a cognitive task are central to study brain information processing and computation. However, they have been poorly analyzed due to the difficulty of recording simultaneous single neurons during task performance. In the present work, we quantified neural directional correlations using spike trains that were simultaneously recorded in sensory, premotor, and motor cortical areas of two monkeys during a somatosensory discrimination task. Upon modeling spike trains as binary time series, we used a nonparametric Bayesian method to estimate pairwise directional correlations between many pairs of neurons throughout different stages of the task, namely, perception, working memory, decision making, and motor report. We find that solving the task involves feedforward and feedback correlation paths linking sensory and motor areas during certain task intervals. Specifically, information is communicated by task-driven neural correlations that are significantly delayed across secondary somatosensory cortex, premotor, and motor areas when decision making takes place. Crucially, when sensory comparison is no longer requested for task performance, a major proportion of directional correlations consistently vanish across all cortical areas.
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Amazon Introduce Machine Learning. As A Service

Amazon Introduce Machine Learning. As A Service | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
More news from the AWS Summit being held in San Francisco today as AWS announces a machine learning service for its customers. The need for this is obvious: it is becoming increasingly easy for organizations to collect vast amounts of data. In doing so they can create what is known as a data lake, a vast pool of undifferentiated data that can then be analyzed.

The issue is that the tools to actually analyze data are often expensive and complex – what organizations need is a simple set of tools to do this analytics and machine learning heavy lifting.
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“Optocapacitance” Shines New Light on the Brain

“Optocapacitance” Shines New Light on the Brain | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
A novel twist on the young field of optogenetics may provide a new way to study living human brains as well as offering innovative therapeutic uses.

From time immemorial, philosophers, anatomists and scientists have pondered the inner workings of the brain. Efforts to look inside the black box consistently yielded far more questions than answers. After all, the alchemists of the 16th century no more found actual homunculi residing inside our heads than the anatomists of Descartes’ day found the gears of an intricate clock.

Galvanometers and electroencephalograms (EEGs) opened the way to exploring the brain’s electrical activity, but they mostly told us how much we didn’t understand about the brain’s workings. Subsequent study revealed thousands of types of neurons intricately organized and interconnected into a vast network of roughly 100 billion cells in the average adult. Individual neurons are activated based on the outputs of thousands of upstream cells and then contribute to the activation of thousands of downstream neurons. Even with the improved spatial and temporal resolutions offered by later technologies such as fMRI and MEG, the language of the brain continued to remain a mystery.
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Digital diffraction analysis enables low-cost molecular diagnostics on a smartphone

Digital diffraction analysis enables low-cost molecular diagnostics on a smartphone | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
The widespread distribution of smartphones, with their integrated sensors and communication capabilities, makes them an ideal platform for point-of-care (POC) diagnosis, especially in resource-limited settings. Molecular diagnostics, however, have been difficult to implement in smartphones. We herein report a diffraction-based approach that enables molecular and cellular diagnostics. The D3 (digital diffraction diagnosis) system uses microbeads to generate unique diffraction patterns which can be acquired by smartphones and processed by a remote server. We applied the D3 platform to screen for precancerous or cancerous cells in cervical specimens and to detect human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA. The D3 assay generated readouts within 45 min and showed excellent agreement with gold-standard pathology or HPV testing, respectively. This approach could have favorable global health applications where medical access is limited or when pathology bottlenecks challenge prompt diagnostic readouts.
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Festo unleashes new robotic swarm of ants and butterflies

Festo unleashes new robotic swarm of ants and butterflies | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
The family of animal robots created by German robotics company Festo is growing. As part of its Bionic Learning Network, the company has introduced two new robots: a swarm of ants that can operate cooperatively, and a butterfly robot that leverages the insect's lightness.

The ant robots -- called BionicANTS -- are not just inspired by the insect's physical body, but by its swarm intelligence.
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