Tech News Review Week 11-18 January 2021, by Stelios Iordanis

Energy

Scientists Invent Device to Generate Electricity From Rain

https://futurism.com/the-byte/generate-electricity-rain

This may be a proof of concept, however, it could become a mainstream green energy source if sufficiently optimized and scaled.

 

Scientists Found a Way to Make Synthetic Gasoline Out of Thin Air

https://www.thedrive.com/news/38707/scientists-found-a-way-to-make-synthetic-gasoline-out-of-thin-air

Internal combustion engines could become green with this Synthetic Gasoline production method that appears quite promising and scalable.

 

New nanostructured alloy for anode is a big step toward revolutionizing energy storage

https://phys.org/news/2021-01-nanostructured-alloy-anode-big-revolutionizing.html

The zinc- and manganese-based alloy could replace solvents commonly used in battery electrolytes with something much safer and inexpensive, as well as abundant: seawater.

 

Biotech

Designer cytokine makes paralyzed mice walk again – Newsportal – Ruhr-Universität Bochum

https://news.rub.de/english/press-releases/2021-01-15-paraplegia-designer-cytokine-makes-paralyzed-mice-walk-again

Using gene therapy, a research team has succeeded for the first time in getting mice to walk again after a complete cross-sectional injury, as the nerve cells produced the curative protein themselves. The implications for human patients if and when this therapy is appropriately developed for them are huge and very optimistic.

 

Cancer cells hibernate like “bears in winter” to survive chemotherapy

https://newatlas.com/medical/cancer-cells-dormant-hibernate-diapause-chemotherapy/

This could be the key for a large percentage of cancer cases that cannot be otherwise harnessed and lead to definitive cancer therapies, at last.

 

AIs that read sentences are now catching coronavirus mutations | MIT Technology Review

https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/01/14/1016162/ai-language-nlp-coronavirus-hiv-flu-mutations-antinbodies-immune-vaccines/

The analogies of viral gene code with computer code and natural language and leveraging modern AI computational power and algorithm complexity for modeling such natural processes could be the key to solving the virus threat problem forever.

 

New Research Could Enable Direct Data Transfer From Computers to Living Cells

https://singularityhub.com/2021/01/11/new-research-could-enable-direct-data-transfer-from-computers-to-living-cells/

This is a new approach that can directly convert digital electronic signals into genetic data stored in the genomes of living cells with applications not only for data storage.

CRISPR technologies for precise epigenome editing | Nature Cell Biology

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41556-020-00620-7

With further optimization, CRISPR-based epigenomic editing could operate set of powerful tools for understanding and controlling biological function if humanity overcomes their fatalism and becomes more daring.

 

Scientists observe how magnetism affects human cells – Big Think

https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/scientists-confirm-cells-quantum-response-to-magnetism

Such phenomena, especially in the brain have been hypothesized for decades and future research could even show that the human brain could be analogous to a quantum computer.

 

Robotics

Russia Advances In The Field Of Autonomous Combat Robotic Platforms | ZeroHedge

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/russia-advances-field-autonomous-combat-robotic-platforms

One can easily imagine the extent of an advantage such an army would give to a dictatorial regime if they were given this capability of securing their power indefinitely.

 

Drones could help create a quantum internet | Science News

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/physics-drones-could-help-create-quantum-internet

Eventually, scientists will attempt to build a global quantum internet that relies on transmitting quantum particles to enable ultra-secure communications by using the particles to create secret codes to encrypt messages. A quantum internet could also enable distant quantum computers to work in sync or perform quantum experiments.

 

Materials

Scientists Engineer New ‘Living Materials’ by Hacking The Basis of Kombucha

https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-created-new-types-of-living-materials-by-hacking-the-basis-of-kombucha

Materials science based on fungi and bacteria is ancient and continues to be exciting leading to eco-friendly innovations.

 

AI

Google trained a trillion-parameter AI language model | VentureBeat

https://venturebeat.com/2021/01/12/google-trained-a-trillion-parameter-ai-language-model/

Interestingly, the Switch Transformer, ie the underlying algorithm is based on a mix of experts, an AI model paradigm first proposed in the early ’90s using multiple experts, or models specialized in different tasks, inside a larger model with a “gating network ”switching between experts to consult for any given data. It was pretrained using 32 TPU cores on the Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus, a 750GB-sized dataset of text scraped from Reddit, Wikipedia, and other web sources.