Technology Tuesday: September 22
This week: Using artificial intelligence to prevent blindness,a new way to peer into the galactic center, the mind-controlled home of the future, a portable cell network, and a super-moon eclipse that only happens every 32 years.
Deep Learning AIs Used To Prevent Diabetic Blindness
ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) can sometimes be put to rather whimsical uses. In 2012 Google announced that one of its computers, after watching thousands of hours of YouTube videos, had trained itself to identify cats. Earlier this year a secretive AI firm called DeepMind, bought by Google in 2014, reported in Nature that it had managed to train a computer to play a series of classic video games, often better than a human could, using nothing more than the games’ on-screen graphics.
But the point of such diversions is to illustrate that, thanks to a newish approach going by the name of “deep learning”, computers increasingly possess the pattern-recognition skills—identifying faces, interpreting pictures, listening to speech and the like—that were long thought to be the preserve of humans. Researchers, from startups to giant corporations, are now planning to put AI to work to solve more serious problems.
Finding Stars That No One’s Ever Seen
Astronomers believe that radio waves coming from supersonic stars will help them find stars that no one has seen before.
The center of our Milky Way galaxy is a mysterious place. Not only is it thousands of light-years away, it’s also cloaked in so much dust that most stars within are rendered invisible. Harvard researchers are proposing a new way to clear the fog and spot stars hiding there. They suggest looking for radio waves coming from supersonic stars.
“There’s a lot we don’t know about the galactic center, and a lot we want to learn,” says lead author Idan Ginsburg of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). “Using this technique, we think we can find stars that no one has seen before.”
Home of the Future to Let You Control Your Appliances With Your Mind
FEELING cold? Your home already knows, and turns up the heat. Sick of the TV show you are watching? Your home changes the channel. No need for a remote controller, just think about what you want and it will happen.
Smart homes fitted out with remotely controlled appliances are already here, and thoughts have been used to control aspects of a virtual reality home. Now Eda Akman Aydin at Gazi University in Turkey and her team are attempting to combine the two.
Pakistani Scientist Create Emergency Portable Cell Network
Pakistani researchers have developed a portable, solar-powered mobile phone network for use in disasters like floods and earthquakes when regular communications are often disrupted.
Researchers at the Information Technology University (ITU) in Lahore, together with a team from the University of California, have developed a prototype “Rescue Base Station” (RBS) for Pakistan – the country’s first emergency telecoms system that would work on normal cell phones.
Lunar Eclipse During The Supermoon, An Event 32 Years In The Making
As you gaze toward the sky on Sunday night, the cooling fall air around you, perhaps a few leaves crunching beneath your feet, and–WAIT the moon is giant and red. Don’t worry, it’s not a sign of the end times. You’re witnessing a rare and exciting event.
On September 27, sky spectators in North America, South America, the Atlantic Ocean, Greenland, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East will be able to see the moon at its closest point to Earth (known as its perigee). The moon reaches its perigee (and the apogee, which is its furthest point from Earth) about once a month. However, it does not always reach that point when it’s full. This week, we’re in luck. The full moon will appear about 14 percent larger in diameter than usual, and is thus called a super moon. At the same time, the Earth will pass between the sun and the moon, creating a total lunar eclipse.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!
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