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Amazing: Microsoft turns spoken English into spoken Mandarin – in the same voice

Amazing: Microsoft turns spoken English into spoken Mandarin – in the same voice | TechWatch | Scoop.it

Microsoft has today posted a video, and complementary explanation of language translation that goes far past what we thought was currently possible.

 

In the video, the speaker explains and demonstrates improvements made to the machine understanding of his English words, which are automatically transcribed as he speaks. He then demonstrates having those words translated directly into Mandarin – if it’s actually Cantonese I’ll punish myself – text.

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DNA: The Ultimate Hard Drive

DNA: The Ultimate Hard Drive | TechWatch | Scoop.it

When it comes to storing information, hard drives don’t hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare. All of this has been mostly theoretical — until now. In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA — one trillionth of a gram — an advance that could revolutionize our ability to save data.

 

A few teams have tried to write data into the genomes of living cells. But the approach has a couple of disadvantages. First, cells die — not a good way to lose your term paper. They also replicate, introducing new mutations over time that can change the data.

 

To get around these problems, a team led by George Church, a synthetic biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, created a DNA information-archiving system that uses no cells at all.

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BBC R&D experiments with 3D sound

BBC R&D experiments with 3D sound | TechWatch | Scoop.it

BBC R&D's audio team is looking at potential next generation audio formats. It already outputs mono, stereo and 5.1 surround sound, but the organisation is keen to investigate 3D sound.

 

Ambisonics -- which refers to truly three-dimensional sound -- is an area of particular interest. Ambisonics is different from other surround sound formats, such as 5.1 because it doesn't rely on a specific speaker layout. Ambisonics captures the entire 3D sound field as a set of spherical harmonics which can then be decoded for a wide variety of speaker layouts, including stereo and 5.1. This means the audience can pick the sound profile that best suits their listening environment.

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A Working Hover Vehicle Prototype by Aerofex

A Working Hover Vehicle Prototype by Aerofex | TechWatch | Scoop.it

California-based company Aerofex has developed a working prototype of their Tandem Duct Aerial Vehicle, a hover vehicle that looks like it came straight out of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. While still in the early stages, they have demonstrated that it works in the Mojave Desert (video 1, 2). According to InnovationNewsDaily, another prototype is expected to be released in October 2012 and an unmanned drone version in 2014.

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Open-air quantum teleportation performed across a 97km lake

Open-air quantum teleportation performed across a 97km lake | TechWatch | Scoop.it

It only works at night, but the technique sets a new distance record.

 

Sending signals through fiber optic cable is reliable and fast, but because of internal absorption and other effects, they will lose photons—which is a problem when the number of photons being sent is small. This is of particular concern in quantum networks, which typically involve a small number of entangled photons. Direct transmission through free space (vacuum or air) experiences less photon loss, but it's very difficult to align a distant receiver perfectly with the transmitter so that photons arrive at their destination.

 

A group in China has made significant progress toward solving that problem, via a high accuracy pointing and tracking system. Using this method, Juan Yin and colleagues performed quantum teleportation (copying of a quantum state) using multiple entangled photons through open air between two stations 97 kilometers apart across a lake. Additionally, they demonstrated entanglement between two receivers separated by 101.8km, transmitted by a station on an island roughly halfway between them.

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Inside the BBC's R&D Labs

Inside the BBC's R&D Labs | TechWatch | Scoop.it

Whatever your views on its programming, it is hard to deny that the BBC’s research labs have produced some pretty clever things over the years. Teletext, RDS and Nicam stereo are just some of the more well known ones, but the R&D Lab is also responsible for much of the work on the DVB-T2 standard that makes Freeview HD possible, as well as research on topics like resolution and screen size that Reg Hardware has looked at before.

 

Following that long history of innovation, the closure in 2010 of the labs facility at Kingswood Warren, Surrey made some observers worry about the future of the R&D department, now split between two locations in London and a third in Salford’s new Media City UK development. No need to worry, the Corporation claims. To prove how busy the R&D Labs are, it invited Reg Hardware to travel north to take a look at what’s happening in the labs today.

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