Category Archives: Uncategorized

Aggressive cancers in ‘evolutionary arms race’ with the immune system

Aggressive and highly-mutated cancers are engaged in an “evolutionary arms race” with the immune system, new research suggests. Gullet and stomach cancers with faults in their systems for repairing DNA build up huge numbers of genetic mutations which make them resistant to treatments like chemotherapy. But these numerous mutations mean they appear foreign to the immune system, leaving them vulnerable to attack, and susceptible to new immunotherapies.

Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research, London (ICR), found that these “hyper-mutant” tumours rapidly evolve strategies to disguise themselves from the immune system and evade attack. They hope that in the future, the findings could help optimise treatment with immunotherapy, and other drugs such as chemotherapy.

Dr Marco Gerlinger, team Leader in translational oncogenomics at the ICR, said: “Our new study has shown that in highly mutated tumours, cancer and the immune system are engaged in an evolutionary arms race in which they continually find new ways to outflank one another.

Watching hyper-mutated tumours and immune cells co-evolve in such detail has shown that the immune system can keep up with changes in cancer, where current cancer therapies can become resistant – and that we could use immunotherapies to shift the balance of this arms race, extending patients’ lives.

“Next, we plan to study the evolutionary link between hyper-mutant tumours and the immune system as part of a new clinical trial looking at the possible benefit of immunotherapy in bowel cancer.

The study has been published in Nature Communications.

Source: https://www.sciencefocus.com/

Real Gold, Almost As Light As Air

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold. It is the lightest form ever produced of the precious metal: a thousand times lighter than its conventional form and yet it is nearly impossible to tell the difference with the naked eye. There are many possible applications.

A nugget of real 20 carats gold, so light that it does not sink in a cappuccino, floating instead on the milk foam – what sounds unbelievable has actually been accomplished by researchers from ETH Zurich. Scientists led by Raffaele Mezzenga, Professor of Food and Soft Materials, have produced a new kind of foam out of gold, a three-​dimensional mesh of gold that consists mostly of pores. It is the lightest gold nugget ever created.

Even when it seems unbelievable: this is a genuine photograph, in which nothing has been faked. The 20 carats gold foam is lighter than milk foam

The so-​called aerogel is a thousand times lighter than conventional gold alloys. It is lighter than water and almost as light as air,” says Mezzenga.

The new gold form can hardly be differentiated from conventional gold with the naked eye – the aerogel even has a metallic shine. But in contrast to its conventional form, it is soft and malleable by hand. It consists of 98 parts air and only two parts of solid material. Of this solid material, more than four-​fifths are gold and less than one-​fifth is milk protein fibrils. This corresponds to around 20 carat gold.

The scientists created the porous material by first heating milk proteins to produce nanometre-​fine protein fibres, so-​called amyloid fibrils, which they then placed in a solution of gold salt. The protein fibres interlaced themselves into a basic structure along which the gold simultaneously crystallised into small particles. This resulted in a gel-​like gold fibre network.

One of the big challenges was how to dry this fine network without destroying it,” explains Gustav Nyström, postdoc in Mezzenga’s group and first author of the corresponding study in the journal Advanced Materials. As air drying could damage the fine gold structure, the scientists opted for a gentle and laborious drying process using carbon dioxide. They did so in an interdisciplinary effort assisted by researchers in the group of Marco Mazzotti, Professor of Process Engineering.

Source: https://ethz.ch/

Stem Cells Used To Create First Living Robots

Be warned. If the rise of the robots comes to pass, the apocalypse may be a more squelchy affair than science fiction writers have prepared us for. Researchers from the University of Vermont and Tufts University have created the first living machines by assembling cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots that move around under their own steam.

One of the most successful creations has two stumpy legs that propel it along on its “chest”. Another has a hole in the middle that researchers turned into a pouch so it could shimmy around with miniature payloads.

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These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth,” said Michael Levin, the director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. “They are living, programmable organisms.”

Roboticists tend to favour metal and plastic for their strength and durability, but Levin and his colleagues see benefits in making robots from biological tissues. When damaged, living robots can heal their wounds, and once their task is done they fall apart, just as natural organisms decay when they die.

Source: https://www.uvm.edu/
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https://www.theguardian.com/

How To Make Airplane Parts With 99% Less Energy

A modern airplane’s fuselage is made from multiple sheets of different composite materials, like so many layers in a phyllo-dough pastry. Once these layers are stacked and molded into the shape of a fuselage, the structures are wheeled into warehouse-sized ovens and autoclaves, where the layers fuse together to form a resilient, aerodynamic shell. Now MIT engineers have developed a method to produce aerospace-grade composites without the enormous ovens and pressure vessels. The technique may help to speed up the manufacturing of airplanes and other large, high-performance composite structures, such as blades for wind turbines.

If you’re making a primary structure like a fuselage or wing, you need to build a pressure vessel, or autoclave, the size of a two- or three-story building, which itself requires time and money to pressurize,” says Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “These things are massive pieces of infrastructure. Now we can make primary structure materials without autoclave pressure, so we can get rid of all that infrastructure.”

Wardle’s co-authors on the paper are lead author and MIT postdoc Jeonyoon Lee, and Seth Kessler of Metis Design Corporation, an aerospace structural health monitoring company based in Boston. In 2015, Lee led the team, along with another member of Wardle’s lab, in creating a method to make aerospace-grade composites without requiring an oven to fuse the materials together. Instead of placing layers of material inside an oven to cure, the researchers essentially wrapped them in an ultrathin film of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). When they applied an electric current to the film, the CNTs, like a nanoscale electric blanket, quickly generated heat, causing the materials within to cure and fuse together.

With this out-of-oven, or OoO, technique, the team was able to produce composites as strong as the materials made in conventional airplane manufacturing ovens, using only 1 percent of the energy. The researchers next looked for ways to make high-performance composites without the use of large, high-pressure autoclaves — building-sized vessels that generate high enough pressures to press materials together, squeezing out any voids, or air pockets, at their interface. “There’s microscopic surface roughness on each ply of a material, and when you put two plys together, air gets trapped between the rough areas, which is the primary source of voids and weakness in a composite,” Wardle says. “An autoclave can push those voids to the edges and get rid of them.”

The researchers detail their new method in a paper published today in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.

Soource: http://news.mit.edu/

Copper-based Nanomaterials Kill Cancer Cells

An interdisciplinary team of scientists from KU Leuven (Belgium), the University of Bremen (Germany), the Leibniz Institute of Materials Engineering (Germany), and the University of Ioannina (Greece) has succeeded in killing tumour cells in mice using nano-sized copper compounds together with immunotherapy. After the therapy, the cancer did not return.

Recent advances in cancer therapy use one’s own immunity to fight the cancer. However, in some cases, immunotherapy has proven unsuccessful. The team of biomedical researchers, physicists, and chemical engineers found that tumours are sensitive to copper oxide nanoparticles – a compound composed of copper and oxygen. Once inside a living organism, these nanoparticles dissolve and become toxic. By creating the nanoparticles using iron oxide, the researchers were able to control this process to eliminate cancer cells, while healthy cells were not affected.

Any material that you create at a nanoscale has slightly different characteristics than its normal-sized counterpart,” explain Professor Stefaan Soenen and Dr Bella B. Manshian from the Department of Imaging and Pathology, who worked together on the study. “If we would ingest metal oxides in large quantities, they can be dangerous, but at a nanoscale and at controlled, safe, concentrations, they can actually be beneficial.

As the researchers expected, the cancer returned after treating with only the nanoparticles. Therefore, they combined the nanoparticles with immunotherapy. “We noticed that the copper compounds not only could kill the tumour cells directly, they also could assist those cells in the immune system that fight foreign substances, like tumours,” says Dr Manshian.

The combination of the nanoparticles and immunotherapy made the tumours disappear entirely and, as a result, works as a vaccine for lung and colon cancer – the two types that were investigated in the study. To confirm their finding, the researchers injected tumour cells back into the mice. These cells were immediately eliminated by the immune system, which was on the lookout for any new, similar, cells invading the body.

Source: https://nieuws.kuleuven.be/

Uber Electric Flying Taxi Available In 2023

U.S. ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) have teamed up to develop electric air taxis, joining the global race to make small self-flying cars to ease urban congestion. Global players like Germany’s Daimler (DAIGn.DE), China’s Geely Automobile (0175.HK) and Japan’s Toyota (7203.T) have all unveiled investments in startups that aim to deploy electric flying cars capable of vertical takeoff and landing. But there are big technological and regulatory hurdles to the plans.

Uber and Hyundai, for instance, gave widely different timelines for commercialization, underlining these challenges.

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We’ve been making steady progress toward a goal of launching Uber Air by 2023,” Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, said at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai, expects commercialization of urban air mobility service in 2028, saying it takes time for laws and systems to be in place.

Hyundai is the first carmaker to join Uber’s air taxi project, which also counts Boeing (BA.N) subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences among its partner firms.

Hyundai will produce and deploy the vehicles while Uber will provide aerial ride-share services.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/

How To Take Delivery Door To Door By Droid

As an automotive supplier specialized in developing electric, autonomous and connected vehicle technologies, Valeo is presenting its autonomous, electric delivery droid prototype, Valeo eDeliver4U, at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Valeo developed the technology in partnership with Meituan Dianping, China’s leading e-commerce platform for services, which operates popular food delivery service Meituan Waimai. The two groups signed a strategic cooperation agreement at last year’s CES to develop a last-mile autonomous delivery solution.

At 2.80m long, 1.20m wide and 1.70m tall, the droid can deliver up to 17 meals per trip, autonomously negotiating dense and complex urban environments at about 12 km/h without generating any pollutant emissions. With a range of around 100km, this prototype gives us a glimpse of what home delivery could look like in the near future, especially in the ever‑growing number of zero-emissions zones that are being created around the world. Meituan Dianping’s connected delivery locker allows for safe delivery to the end customer, who can book through a smartphone application.

The droid’s autonomy and electric power are delivered by Valeo technologies that are already series produced and aligned with automotive industry standards, thereby guaranteeing a high-level of safety. The droid operates autonomously using perception systems including algorithms and sensors. It is equipped with four Valeo SCALA® laser scanners (the only automotive LiDAR already fitted to vehicles in series production), a front camera, four fisheye cameras, four radar devices and twelve ultrasonic sensors, coupled with software and artificial intelligence. The electrified chassis features a Valeo 48V motor and a Valeo 48V inverter, which acts as the system’s “brain” and controls the power, a speed reducer, a 48V battery, a DC/DC converter and a Valeo 48V battery charger, as well as electric power steering and braking systems.

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“This delivery droid illustrates Valeo’s ability to embrace new forms of mobility using its technological platforms. The modularity of the platforms means our technologies can just as easily be fitted to cars, autonomous shuttles, robotaxis and even droids,” said Jacques Aschenbroich, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Valeo. “These new markets will allow us to further consolidate our leadership around the world in vehicle electrification, driver assistance systems and autonomous driving.”

Source: https://www.valeo.com/

Toyota To Build A Smart City Powered By Hydrogen

 

Japanese carmaker Toyota has announced plans to create a 175-acre smart city in Japan where it will test driverless cars and artificial intelligence. The project, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will break ground at the base of Mount Fuji in 2021. Woven City will initially be home to 2,000 people who will test technologies including robots and smart homesToyota said in a press release that only driverless and electric vehicles will be allowed on the main streets of Woven CityStreets will be split into three types of thoroughfare: roads for fast vehicles, lanes which are a mixture of personal vehicles and pedestrians, and pedestrian footpaths.

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has been commissioned to design the new city. His business previously worked on projects including Google’s London and US headquartersToyota said the city will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels fitted to the roofs of housesBuildings in Woven City will mostly be made of wood and assembled using “robotised production methods,” Toyota said. 

 “Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the infrastructure.
“With people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology, in both the virtual and physical realms, maximising its potential,” said Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s president.

Google has also experimented with the creation of its own smart city through its Sidewalk Labs division. The company is hoping to transform a 12-acre plot in Toronto’s waterfront district into a smart city, with the first homes due to appear in 2023.

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/

10 Artificial Intelligence Trends

While no prediction engine has yet been built that can plot the course of AI over the coming decade, we can be fairly certain about what might happen over the next year. Spending on research, development, and deployment continues to rise, and debate over the wider social implications rages on.

1. AI will increasingly be monitoring and refining business processes

While the first robots in the workplace were mainly involved with automating manual tasks such as manufacturing and production lines, today’s software-based robots will take on the repetitive but necessary work that we carry out on computers. Filling in forms, generating reports and diagrams and producing documentation and instructions are all tasks that can be automated by machines that watch what we do and learn to do it for us in a quicker and more streamlined manner. This automation – known as robotic process automation – will free us from the drudgery of time-consuming but essential administrative work, leaving us to spend more time on complex, strategic, creative and interpersonal tasks.

This trend is driven by the success of internet giants like Amazon, Alibaba, and Google, and their ability to deliver personalized experiences and recommendations. AI allows providers of goods and services to quickly and accurately project a 360-degree view of customers in real-time as they interact through online portals and mobile apps, quickly learning how their predictions can fit our wants and needs with ever-increasing accuracy. Just as pizza delivery companies like Dominos will learn when we are most likely to want pizza, and make sure theOrder Now button is in front of us at the right time, every other industry will roll out solutions aimed at offering personalized customer experiences at scale.

3. AI becomes increasingly useful as data becomes more accurate and available

The quality of information available is often a barrier to businesses and organizations wanting to move towards AI-driven automated decision-making. But as technology and methods of simulating real-world processes and mechanisms in the digital domain have improved over recent years, accurate data has become increasingly available. Simulations have advanced to the stage where car manufacturers and others working on the development of autonomous vehicles can gain thousands of hours of driving data without vehicles even leaving the lab, leading to huge reductions in cost as well as increases in the quality of data that can be gathered. Why risk the expense and danger of testing AI systems in the real world when computers are now powerful enough, and trained on accurate-enough data, to simulate it all in the digital world? 2020 will see an increase in the accuracy and availability of real-world simulations, which in turn will lead to more powerful and accurate AI.

4. More devices will run AI-powered technology

As the hardware and expertise needed to deploy AI become cheaper and more available, we will start to see it used in an increasing number of tools, gadgets, and devices. In 2019 we’re already used to running apps that give us AI-powered predictions on our computers, phones, and watches. As the next decade approaches and the cost of hardware and software continues to fall, AI tools will increasingly be embedded into our vehicles, household appliances, and workplace tools. Augmented by technology such as virtual and augmented reality displays, and paradigms like the cloud and Internet of Things, the next year will see more and more devices of every shape and size starting to think and learn for themselves.

5. Human and AI cooperation increases

More and more of us will get used to the idea of working alongside AI-powered tools and bots in our day-to-day working lives. Increasingly, tools will be built that allow us to make the most of our human skills – those which AI can’t quite manage yet – such as imaginative, design, strategy, and communication skills. While augmenting them with super-fast analytics abilities fed by vast datasets that are updated in real-time.

For many of us, this will mean learning new skills, or at least new ways to use our skills alongside these new robotic and software-based tools. The IDC predicts that by 2025, 75% of organizations will be investing in employee retraining in order to fill skill gaps caused by the need to adopt AI.

6. AI increasingly at the “edge”

Much of the AI we’re used to interacting with now in our day-to-day lives takes place “in the cloud” – when we search on Google or flick through recommendations on Netflix, the complex, data-driven algorithms run on high-powered processors inside remote data centers, with the devices in our hands or on our desktops simply acting as conduits for information to pass through.

Increasingly, however, as these algorithms become more efficient and capable of running on low-power devices, AI is taking place at the “edge,” close to the point where data is gathered and used. This paradigm will continue to become more popular in 2020 and beyond, making AI-powered insights a reality outside of the times and places where super-fast fiber optic and mobile networks are available. Custom processors designed to carry out real-time analytics on-the-fly will increasingly become part of the technology we interact with day-to-day

7. AI increasingly used to create films, music, and games

Some things, even in 2020, are probably still best left to humans. Anyone who has seen the current state-of-the-art in AI-generated music, poetry or storytelling is likely to agree that the most sophisticated machines still have some way to go until their output will be as enjoyable to us as the best that humans can produce. However, the influence of AI on entertainment media is likely to increase.

In videogames, AI will continue to be used to create challenging, human-like opponents for players to compete against, as well as to dynamically adjust gameplay and difficulty so that games can continue to offer a compelling challenge for gamers of all skill levels. And while completely AI-generated music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, where AI does excel is in creating dynamic soundscapes – think of smart playlists on services like Spotify or Google Music that match tunes and tempo to the mood and pace of our everyday lives.

8. AI will become ever more present in cybersecurity

As hacking, phishing and social engineering attacks become ever-more sophisticated, and themselves powered by AI and advanced prediction algorithms, smart technology will play an increasingly important role in protecting us from these attempted intrusions into our lives. AI can be used to spot giveaway signs that digital activity or transactions follow patterns that are likely to be indicators of nefarious activity, and raise alarms before defenses can be breached and sensitive data compromised.

The rollout of 5G and other super-fast wireless communications technology will bring huge opportunities for businesses to provide services in new and innovative ways, but they will also potentially open us up to more sophisticated cyber-attacks. Spending on cybersecurity will continue to increase, and those with relevant skills will be highly sought-after.

9. More of us will interact with AI, maybe without even knowing it

Let’s face it, despite the huge investment in recent years in natural-language powered chatbots in customer service, most of us can recognize whether we’re dealing with a robot or a human. However, as the datasets used to train natural language processing algorithms continue to grow, the line between humans and machines will become harder and harder to distinguish. With the advent of deep learning and semi-supervised models of machine learning such as reinforcement learning, the algorithms that attempt to match our speech patterns and infer meaning from our own human language will become more and more able to fool us into thinking there is a human on the other end of the conversation.

10. But AI will recognize us, even if we don’t recognize it

Perhaps even more unsettlingly, the rollout of facial recognition technology is only likely to intensify as we move into the next decade. Not just in China (where the government is looking at ways of making facial recognition compulsory for accessing services like communication networks and public transport) but around the world.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/

Self-driving Cars at up to 155 MPH (250 Km/h) Could Use City Tunnel

Elon Musk said that Las Vegas is “hopefully” getting a fully operational underground commercial tunnel in 2020His idea to bore tunnels underground to alleviate traffic in highly congested cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas initially began as a joke in 2016 but has now become a full-fledged business aptly named the Boring Company with several nascent projects in major cities, including Chicago and Baltimore.

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He tweeted Friday night that the Boring Company is completing its first commercial tunnel in Vegas from the Las Vegas Convention Center to the Strip, before it works on other projects and it hopes it to be operational this  year.
Musk and the Boring Company have been working to revolutionize the way people travel with high-speed Loop and Hyperloop transportation systems. Underground tunnels will transport people in cars or passenger “pods,” allowing commuters to bypass traffic and get around cities faster.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com