Archive for June, 2018

Sniff This Out, Robot

One of the prime senses that used to set humans apart from robots was the sense of smell. A human being could smell food that had gone rancid, while a robot could not. The sense of smell did not have a sensor available. However the researchers at the Kyushu University in Japan are hoping to break through this restriction.

These researchers are working on robots that can rapidly detect odors with the same ease a bloodhounds. The breed of dogs which is well known for it’s ability to sniff out odors that even the human nose can not detect. The ongoing research has been working on robots being able to detect odors from the ground, a footprint, and even read a message which has been written on the ground using odors as a barcode.

Needless to say that this two decades old research is truly phenomenal. The researchers base their  odor sensor on a technique called Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance or LSPR. Basically what it does is to measure the changes in the light absorption of gold nano particles which have been exposed to a gas. They then compare this to a list of data already collected earlier in the science project and determine what the odor could be.

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Having Meaningful Arguments with AI

While the computer has been called a great many useful adjectives, being loquacious is not one of them. As yet. In the IBM office in San Francisco, Noa Ovadia is thinking that this may soon change. The Israeli is a college senior who has won debate championships. She squared off with the IBM Debater, a new Artificial Intelligence robot that is able to hold conversations with human beings.

Noa and the IBM Debater argued for and against the government subsidiaries for space exploration. She argued against the topic while the computer argued for it. It also individually responded to each of Noa’s human opinions in it’s lengthy rebuttal that was delivered in a monotone. The machine delivered three brief speeches in it’s digital voice and came up with solid arguments.

The IBM Debater has been under development for six years. The device is able to argue sensibly over a hundred different topics currently. It is part of an effort being made to build technology which can interact with human beings in an easier manner. These “Chat bots” are only likely to grow in the future in terms of complexity and  obeying more than simple commands as further science projects continue to develop them.

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Robotic Burger Chef

If you like your food to be cooked precisely every time you order it, you may appreciate a robotic chef who follows the same set of instructions every time it cooks. A company in San Francisco which was formerly known as Momentum Machines has now come up with a burger joint which will create a $6 burger using a completely automated robotic system.

Newly christened as the Creator, the company is credited with designing the 14 foot tall robot that sits in the center of the restaurant space. It is attached to an array of sensors and computers that help it to produce nearly 130 burgers in an hour. The entire assembly has 20 computers, 350 sensors, and 50 actual mechanisms to help perform this task. Now that’s giving McDonald some competition.

The burger bot, as it’s being called, is ready to open out the restaurant in the month of September 2018. People have already bought early access tickets to watch the robot grind pasture raised chuck and brisket into a patty. Then slicing and dicing the fixings as well as grating cheese and cooking the burger.

It may do most of the heavy lifting but it still needs another 9 robot attendants to take orders from the floor, deliver burger and drinks and of course restock the ingredients when the robot bot runs out of them. Now this is a science project that sounds simply delicious!

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Implanted Devices Powered by Radio Waves

In medical treatments a number of devices have been implanted into the human body in order to help the optimal functioning of certain body parts. One of the major issues faced with these devices is being able to power them. Often batteries do not last as long as expected and the patient can have a major problem because of this.

Now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with the concept of a new generation of implanted devices that will not need batteries to operate. They will instead be powered by an external gadget which shoots radio waves to activate the device. These implants will be able to do a number of tasks such as deliver drugs, monitor conditions inside the body, or treat disease by stimulating the brain with electricity or light.

The lack of a battery means that the device can be much smaller than the ones in operation currently. They can be implanted surgically or even ingested orally, depending on the task that they are being sent in to the body to complete. Since radio frequency waves do not harm the human tissue, they make an ideal tool to communicate with these implanted devices. This is one science project that will have far reaching consequences for future medical care.

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Reducing Global Warming

A lot has been said about how the climate is changing due to human activities that lead to the increase of temperatures worldwide. Now it may be possible, with new carbon capture and storage techniques, to reverse some of this and restrict the level of global warming to increase at just one and a half degree Celsius.

So what are these carbon capture and storage techniques that the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis is talking about? Here are the salient points. Improved living standards  need not come with a large increase in energy demand as new energy sources such as solar and other renewable sources replace the old fossil fuels.

More forest cover enables a faster clean up of carbon from the atmosphere and it is recommended that a mere 10% increase in global green cover by 2020 would help meet the 1.5 celsius change. In addition building made with new material that are easier to heat and cool, will ensure that the energy resources used are also reduced.

Key innovations such as electrical vehicles, single electronic device such as smartphones per person, and better electrification can lead to a massive decrease in the current energy requirements of the globe. This in turn will lead to global warming reduction, say the researcher of this science project.

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