Impact Lab


Subscribe Now to Our Free Email Newsletter
November 25th, 2020 at 10:56 am

New approach to circuit compression could deliver real-world quantum computers years ahead of schedule

1BA0DCF4-06D5-4946-A23B-C054CF21F722

Compression of a circuit that has an initial volume of 882 using the proposed method. The reduced circuit has a volume of 420, less than half its original volume.

A major technical challenge for any practical, real-world quantum computer comes from the need for a large number of physical qubits to deal with errors that accumulate during computation. Such quantum error correction is resource-intensive and computationally time-consuming. But researchers have found an effective software method that enables significant compression of quantum circuits, relaxing the demands placed on hardware development.

Quantum computers may still be far from a commercial reality, but what is termed ‘quantum advantage’—the ability of a quantum computer to compute hundreds or thousands of times faster than a classical computer-has indeed been achieved on what are called Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) devices in early proof-of-principle experiments.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 25th, 2020 at 10:52 am

Honda launching world’s first production car with ‘eyes-off’ self-driving tech by mid 2021

8679A479-891D-4936-A1E2-38AFA12FFA55

Japanese officials approved Honda’s Automated Drive feature to be deployed on the upcoming Honda Legend.

Honda has received regulatory approval from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) to begin selling vehicles equipped with Level 3 autonomous driving, the automaker announced on Wednesday.

In a press release, Honda highlighted that it would begin the sale of the Honda Legend equipped with its all-new “Traffic Jam Pilot” feature by the end of the company’s fiscal year (March 31, 2021). The feature is reportedly similar to GM’s Super Cruise and Ford’s Active Drive Assist in the sense that all road conditions must be perfect before Traffic Jam Pilot can be activated.

However, unlike the current domestic offerings where the driver is still technically in control of the vehicle, SAE J3016 defines Level 3 as a vehicle-operated functionality while engaged.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 25th, 2020 at 10:48 am

Quantum sensors could let autonomous cars ‘see’ around corners

414D2E82-9FC2-40C1-BE97-D13018845410

High-precision metrology based on the peculiarities of the subatomic world

Quantum computers get all the hype, but quantum sensors could be equally transformative, enabling autonomous vehicles that can “see” around corners, underwater navigation systems, early-warning systems for volcanic activity and earthquakes, and portable scanners that monitor a person’s brain activity during daily life.

Quantum sensors reach extreme levels of precision by exploiting the quantum nature of matter—using the difference between, for example, electrons in different energy states as a base unit. Atomic clocks illustrate this principle. The world time standard is based on the fact that electrons in cesium 133 atoms complete a specific transition 9,192,631,770 times a second; this is the oscillation that other clocks are tuned against. Other quantum sensors use atomic transitions to detect minuscule changes in motion and tiny differences in gravitational, electric and magnetic fields.

There are other ways to build a quantum sensor, however. For example, researchers at the University of Birmingham in England are working to develop free-falling, supercooled atoms to detect tiny changes in local gravity. This kind of quantum gravimeter would be capable of detecting buried pipes, cables and other objects that today can be reliably found only by digging. Seafaring ships could use similar technology to detect underwater objects.

Continue Reading »

IL-Header-Communicating-with-the-Future

comments Comments Off
November 25th, 2020 at 10:44 am

AI plastering robot developed for construction sites

B7BBB74A-3E77-4EDB-BF31-2A0546CFA93D

Amid the ever-increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) robots at construction sites, a new robot that can perform concrete plastering work on its own has been developed.

 Hyundai Engineering Co., a plant engineering affiliate of Hyundai Motor Group, announced on Wednesday that it had developed the nation’s first AI plastering robot that can flatten concrete floors by itself, adding that it has applied for related patents.

The AI plastering robot, which was developed in collaboration with Robo Block Systems, is a device that rotates two motors with four micro blades to flatten a floor infilled with concrete.

Compared to existing floor plastering machines, the newly-developed AI robot features a lighter design and a greater usability. By making use of an electric motor, the AI robot generates less noise compared to existing machines that use gasoline motors.

The patented ‘AI plastering robot floor flattening technology’ precisely measures the concrete-infilled floor space with a 3D scanner.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 24th, 2020 at 9:11 pm

Designing Artificial Microswimmers for Targeted Drug Delivery

3A983339-069B-4049-8E81-1886E9229883

Many types of motile cells, such as the bacteria in our guts, need to propel themselves through confined spaces filled with viscous liquid. Mathematical models of this cell motion are guiding the design of artificial microswimmers for targeted drug delivery.

Many types of motile cells, such as the bacteria in our guts and spermatozoa in the female reproductive tracts, need to propel themselves through confined spaces filled with viscous liquid. In recent years, the motion of these ‘microswimmers’ has been mimicked in the design of self-propelled micro- and nano-scale machines for applications including targeted drug delivery. Optimising the design of these machines requires a detailed, mathematical understanding of microswimmers in these environments. A large, international group of physicists led by Abdallah Daddi-Moussa-Ider of Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany has now generated mathematical models of microswimmers in clean and surfactant-covered viscous drops, showing that the surfactant significantly alters the swimmers’ behaviour. They have published their work in EPJ E.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 24th, 2020 at 9:07 pm

Hyper loop achieves 1,000 KM/H speed in Korea, days after Virgin passenger test

South Korea hopes to launch first hyperloop network in 2024

A hyperloop prototype in South Korea has reached speeds over 1,000km/h, just days after a rival system performed the first successful passenger test using the technology.

The Korean Railroad Research Institute (Korail) announced on Wednesday that a “hyper-tube train” travelling through a vacuum hit a top speed of 1,019km/h (633mph).

The test took place on a scale model and is the first of its kind in the world, according to Business Korea. The previous top speed, also set by Korail, was 714km/h.

South Korea is hoping to launch a hyperloop network by 2024, cutting the journey time between Seoul and Busan from three hours to 30 minutes.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 24th, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Interactive virtual reality emerges as a new tool for drug design against COVID-19

6FC47CC5-B2E4-40DC-A256-544E0EA232CF

Interactive virtual reality emerges as a new tool for drug design against COVID-19

Bristol scientists have demonstrated a new virtual reality [VR] technique which should help in developing drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus—and enable researchers to share models and collaborate in new ways. The innovative tool, created by University of Bristol researchers, and published in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, will help scientists around the world identify anti-viral drug leads more rapidly.

A SARS-CoV-2 enzyme known as the main protease (Mpro) is a promising target in the search for new anti-viral treatments. Molecules that stop the main protease from working—called enzyme inhibitors—stop the virus reproducing, and so could be effective drugs. Researchers across the world are working to find such molecules. A key predictor of a drug’s effectiveness is how tightly it binds to its target; knowing how a drug fits into the protein helps researchers design changes to its structure to make it bind more tightly.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 23rd, 2020 at 1:38 pm

What can AI learn from Human intelligence?

463B4E56-6F28-4B0E-8618-9FB011B66E7F

At HAI’s fall conference, scholars discussed novel ways AI can learn from human intelligence – and vice versa.

Can we teach robots to generalize their learning? How can algorithms become more commonsensical? Can a child’s learning style influence AI?

Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence’s fall conference considered those and other questions to understand how to mutually improve and better understand artificial and human intelligence. The event featured the theme of “triangulating intelligence” among the fields of AI, neuroscience, and psychology to develop research and applications for large-scale impact.

HAI faculty associate directors Christopher Manning, a Stanford professor of machine learning, linguistics, and computer science, and Surya Ganguli, a Stanford associate professor of neurobiology, served as hosts and panel moderators for the conference, which was co-sponsored by Stanford’s Wu-Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Department of Psychology, and Symbolic Systems program.

Speakers described cutting-edge approaches—some established, some new—to create a two-way flow of insights between research on human and machine-based intelligence, for powerful application. Here are some of their key takeaways.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 23rd, 2020 at 1:33 pm

Arriving soon: Electric aviation for passengers

0D5FDD67-70F3-475F-A71E-A0F9909D590F

Drone pilots don’t need to be told about the wonders of electric flight. But Scientific American believes electric aviation for passengers may be here sooner than we think as the industry struggles to decarbonize.

It’s one of the top ten emerging technologies the magazine highlights in its most recent issue.

In an article co-written by Katherine Hamilton and Tammy Ma, the authors point out that air travel accounted for 2.5 percent of global carbon emissions in 2019. And that number could triple by 2050. Electric airplanes could be one solution.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 23rd, 2020 at 1:03 pm

The plan to turn scrapped rockets into space stations

image

Spent rockets are dangerous space trash, but they could be the future of living and working in orbit.

IN EARLY OCTOBER, a dead Soviet satellite and the abandoned upper stage of a Chinese rocket narrowly avoided a collision in low Earth orbit. If the objects had crashed, the impact would have blown them to bits and created thousands of new pieces of dangerous space debris. Only a few days prior, the European Space Agency had published its annual space environment report, which highlighted abandoned rocket bodies as one of the biggest threats to spacecraft. The best way to mitigate this risk is for launch providers to deorbit their rockets after they’ve delivered their payload. But if you ask Jeffrey Manber, that’s a waste of a perfectly good giant metal tube.

Manber is the CEO of Nanoracks, a space logistics company best known for hosting private payloads on the International Space Station, and for the past few years he has been working on a plan to turn the upper stages of spent rockets into miniature space stations. It’s not a new idea, but Manber feels its time has come. “NASA has looked at the idea of refurbishing fuel tanks several times,” he says. “But it was always abandoned, usually because the technology wasn’t there.” All of NASA’s previous plans depended on astronauts doing a lot of the manufacturing and assembly work, which made the projects expensive, slow, and hazardous. Manber’s vision is to create an extraterrestrial chop shop where astronauts are replaced by autonomous robots that cut, bend, and weld the bodies of spent rockets until they’re fit to be used as laboratories, fuel depots, or warehouses.

The Nanoracks program, known as Outpost, will modify rockets after they’re done with their mission to give them a second life. The first Outposts will be uncrewed stations made from the upper stages of new rockets, but Manber says it’s possible that future stations could host people or be built from rocket stages already in orbit. In the beginning, Nanoracks won’t use the interior of the rocket and will mount experiment payloads, power supply modules, and small propulsion units to the outside of the fuselage. Once company engineers have that figured out, they can focus on developing the inside of the rocket as a pressurized laboratory.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 22nd, 2020 at 4:47 pm

Seoul bids to cut congestion with futuristic ‘drone taxis’

This is an empty “drone taxi” taking a short flight over the South Korean capital Seoul.

It is part of government plans to have a traffic management system in place to support the aerial taxis, possibly as early as 2025.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
November 22nd, 2020 at 4:43 pm

‘Like having billions of tiny 3D printers’: Scientists train BACTERIA to build complex microscopic structures

 35E6A4DF-C420-4004-8624-6BCB2EAE0CA3

Researchers at Finland’s Aalto University have successfully turned bacteria into a microscopic workforce of nanobots, using molds made of hydrophobic material to create incredibly intricate three-dimensional objects.

The researchers placed the Komagataeibacter medellinensis bacteria in a mould with water and the requisite amount of nutrients like sugar, proteins and air. Once sufficiently fuelled-up, the bacteria begin to produce nano cellulose structures, in line with the hydrophobic (water repellant) mold in which they were placed.

Cellulose is the main component found in the cell walls of plants and substances like wood and cotton.

This type of guided growth through the use of superhydrophobic materials, which also minimize the accumulation of dust and microorganisms, could soon be used for extremely intricate tissue regeneration and organ repair in the human body.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
understanding the future through the eyes of a child