Author Archives: Technology

Why Star Wars Space Nazis Shun Killer Robots

Star Wars films tend to dwell upon space fantasy adventures that mix starships with space wizards wielding laser swords in a galaxy far, far away. Despite that focus, a number of Star Wars films also happen to feature another staple of science… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Electronic Skin Puts the World in the Palm of Your Hand

Someday, physically touching our electronic devices will be as archaic as standing up from the recliner to change the channel. Voice recognition systems and home assistants can turn on lights, pull up podcasts and order paper towels on command. Camer… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Droning While Drunk Is Now Illegal in New Jersey

Alcohol affects everyone a bit differently—some people take a few sips of beer and they’re stumbling all over, while others can ingest far more and still walk straight. You see, consuming alcohol affects the brain, which can impact your coordinat… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Google App Matches Your Face With Famous Art

People are matching their faces with famous art — and some of the results are hilarious. They’re using the Google Arts & Culture app, which uses image recognition to scour art collections from more than 1,200 museums, galleries and instituti… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Machines Best Humans in Stanford’s Grueling Reading Test

The ability to read and understand a passage of text underpins the pursuit of knowledge, and was once a uniquely human cognitive activity. But 2018 marks the year that, by one measure, machines surpassed humans’ reading comprehension abilities.

Bo… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Boeing’s Cargo Drone Prototype Is Huge

Boeing this week showcased its new unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing cargo air vehicle that can carry a payload of up to 500 pounds. In simpler terms: it’s a huge flying drone.

A team of engineers and technicians for the worldwide aer… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Is It a Human or Computer Talking? Google Blurs the Lines

Siri and Alexa are good, but no one would mistake them for a human being. Google’s newest project, however, could change that.

Called Tacotron 2, the latest attempt to make computers talk like people builds on two of the company’s most recent text-… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Robots Are Flexing Stronger, More Flexible ‘Muscles’

Humanoid robots like Sophia, granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia, and Atlas, which backflips like a boss, are rigid, strong and rather bulky. They’re made to look like us; they’re not designed after us. But researchers are working hard to give ro… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

‘Predator’ Vision Drones Get AI to Spot Poachers

Poachers illegally hunting elephants and rhinoceroses under the supposed cover of darkness may soon find themselves being tracked by “Predator” vision drones armed with artificial intelligence. The new AI system that enables surveillance drones t… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Donny the Drone Desires World Domination…For Its Own Good

If you give a drone a voice, it might as well be Guy Pearce’s. In the sci-fi short film “Donny The Drone,” a sentient drone receives World Time magazine’s Person of the Year award (akin to the real award given by TIME magazine). We see Donny acce… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Is Your Computer Being ‘Cryptojacked’?

Nothing comes for free, especially online. Websites and apps that don’t charge you for their services are often collecting your data or bombarding you with advertising. Now some sites have found a new way to make money from you: using your compu… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Forget Bans: UN Stuck on Defining Killer Robots

A United Nations meeting on lethal autonomous weapons ended in disappointment for advocates hoping that the world would make progress on regulating or banning “killer robot” technologies. The UN group of governmental experts barely even scratched… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Drones, Volcanoes and the ‘Computerization’ of the Earth

The eruption of the Agung volcano in Bali, Indonesia has been devastating, particularly for the 55,000 local people who have had to leave their homes and move into shelters. It has also played havoc with the flights in and out of the island, leaving … Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Virtual Reality Can Help Convict Nazi War Criminals

During World War II, Reinhold Hanning served as a guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp where more than 1.1 million people were killed by Nazi Germany. More than 70 years later, a virtual recreation of Auschwitz helped German prosecutors convic… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

The ‘Driverless’ Car Era Began More Than 90 Years Ago

Depending on the vehicle manufacturer, you’ll get a different year for the big roll-out of fully autonomous vehicles. General Motors plans to launch them in big cities by 2019.

Ford says it will have a fully autonomous vehicle in commercial operat… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Star Wars Droids Top Sci-Fi Robots Survey

Disney seems to have a lock on many of the more popular science fiction robots between owning Lucasfilm’s Star Wars franchise and the beloved animation studio Pixar. A recent survey of Americans found that the Star Wars robot duo of R2-D2 and C-3PO … Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Do Robots Deserve Human Rights?

When the humanoid robot Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia—the first robot to receive citizenship anywhere in the world—many people were outraged. Some were upset because she now had more rights than human women living in the same cou… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Artificial Intelligence Gives Drones Abilities We’ve Only Dreamed About

George Matus was still in high school when he began raising millions for his startup, Teal. The former quad drone racer’s pitch to investors was a wish list of what he thought a drone should be. More than just an aerial camera, his quad would be frea… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

How Tanks Went from War Curio to Homefront Hero

When the first tanks appeared on the battlefields of World War I, journalists described them as “grotesque creatures” and made comparisons to prehistoric animals such as dinosaurs. Even German prisoners of war supposedly laughed when recalling th… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

The Big Caveat on AI and Future Work

Artificial intelligence will likely both giveth and taketh away jobs for humans. A McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that automation could displace between 400 million and 800 million people worldwide by 2030, even as the report also sugg… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Artificial DNA Base Pair Expands Life’s Vocabulary

Scientists have taken another step towards putting two additional letters in the dictionary of life to work.

Researchers at the Scripps Institute have engineered cells to successfully transcribe a brand new artificial DNA base pair and make a never… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Smile, Your Car Is on Google Street View

When sedans outnumber pickup trucks, chances are the community votes Democrat. When pickup trucks rule, the community leans Republican.

What you drive matters, at least when it comes to revealing the nuts and bolts of American demographics. That’s… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Researchers Use Drones to Track Glacier Change in Peru

In the crisp Andes air, a drone flew at an altitude of about 16,000 feet (4,900 meters) in order to map and track the glaciers in Peru. This marks the highest altitude a drone has flown for mapping purposes in current scientific literature, according… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Virtual Reality Immersion Beyond the Headset

Virtual reality experiences can provide an uncanny sense of immersion that tricks participants’ brains into believing they are walking on that narrow beam high above a city or are being chased by a monster through dark halls. The New Reality Company… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Two Teams Create “Quantum Simulators”

Science, especially these days, can move slowly. The days of big leaps in our understanding are mostly behind us, and the progress of scientists is typically slow, but steady. That’s why something like quantum computers, which you’ve probably hea… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Watch an Epic Duet Between Human and Robot

Dance can be defined as “a series of movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music.” Notice it doesn’t say dance is specific to humans — and this performance proves it. A Taiwanese choreographer, dancer and inventor named Huang Yi… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

NASA Proves Humans Fly Drones Better Than AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) still has a ways to go before it reigns supreme.

In October, a group of researchers at California’s NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) pitted a professional human drone racer, Ken Loo, against an AI-piloted dron… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

How Drones Are Being Used In Zanzibar’s Fight Against Malaria

On a typically hot and humid July day in Stonetown, the capital of Zanzibar, a gaggle of children, teenagers and the odd parents watched our small drone take flight. My colleagues Makame Makame, Khamis Haji and I had finally found the perfect launch … Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

How Algorithms Are Becoming YouTube Stars

Machines are becoming increasingly adept at creating content. Whether it be news articles, poetry, or visual art, computers are learning how to mimic human creativity in novel — and sometimes disturbing — ways.

Text-based content is fairly easy … Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |

Tesla’s Electric Semi Shows Promise—But Will it Deliver?

Elon Musk finally revealed the Tesla Semi, an electric big-rig he professes will outstrip the diesel fleets that have dominated American freight for decades.

The Tesla CEO flaunted his latest creation and its “BAMF performance”—it’s a techni… Continue reading

Posted in STEM News |