Tech News Review week 23-30 November 2020, by Stylianos Iordanis

Biotech

Researchers develop low-cost, portable brain imaging scanner

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-11-low-cost-portable-brain-imaging-scanner.html

This type of technology could really extend the reach of MRI and allow truly point-of-care, bedside brain imaging for patients or scanning in remote locations, while allowing even amateurs, so-called ‘biohackers’ to experiment and make discoveries.

 

The US Army Is Developing Tech That Reads Soldiers’ Minds

https://futurism.com/the-byte/us-army-developing-tech-reads-soldiers-minds

The long term vision is to develop a system that would allow soldiers to communicate with nothing more than their thoughts, according to C4ISRNET,  but to achieve a  full-duplex communication mode with the brain remains a very long term target.

 

Google Invests In Tattoos That Turn Your Body Into a Touchpad | Futurism

https://futurism.com/the-byte/google-tattoos-body-touchpad

Google Glass was quite controversial, but now Google is still spending heavily on various strange kinds of wearable technology.

 

Scientists Create Living Factories That Churn Out Hydrogen Fuel

https://futurism.com/the-byte/living-factories-churn-hydrogen-fuel

Microbial micro-reactors have amazing potential applications in chemical engineering and pharmaceutical production, and they could also revolutionize green energy production.

 

Energy

Scientists Decipher the Sun’s Nuclear Fusion for the First Time

https://futurism.com/the-byte/scientists-decipher-suns-nuclear-fusion

It is quite possible that this discovery could also have synergies in nuclear fusion production on planet earth.

 

Computing

We Can Improve Fiber Optics by Filling Them With Air

https://futurism.com/the-byte/improve-fiber-optics-filling-air

Further optimizing fiber optics bandwidth is necessary for modern internet and it is impressive how such mature technologies still have a margin for further improvement.

 

Machine Learning

 

‘It will change everything’: DeepMind’s AI makes a gigantic leap in solving protein structures

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03348-4

Solving one of biology’s grandest challenges — determining a protein’s 3D shape from its amino-acid sequence could lead to therapies for almost all diseases, especially gene-related ones,  by transforming and democratizing pharmaceutical design.

 

tl;dr: this AI sums up research papers in a sentence

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03277-2

The free tool, which creates what the team calls TLDRs (the common Internet acronym for ‘Too long, didn’t read’), was activated this week for search results at Semantic Scholar, and it will soon process papers from various disciplines within the next months.

 

MIT neural network knows when it can be trusted – SlashGear

https://news.mit.edu/2020/neural-network-uncertainty-1120

This novel neural network architecture produces not just a prediction but also the model’s confidence level based on the quality of the available data. The advance might save lives, as deep learning is already being deployed in the real world today in autonomous vehicles. A network’s level of certainty can fine-tune decisions whether it’s all clear to proceed or, to stop just in case if it’s just probably clear.

 

Robotics

 

Boston Dynamics’ Robot Dog Builds “Radiation Map” Of Chernobyl Reactor | Zero Hedge

https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/boston-dynamics-robot-dog-builds-radiation-map-chernobyl-reactor

Weekly measurements around the Chernobyl site are mainly conducted by humans, which puts them at risk, unlike Spot, a robot model that has a myriad of interesting applications in everyday situations.

 

Military Engineering

 

The Army Is Developing a Way to Spoof Soldiers’ Electromagnetic Signatures

https://futurism.com/the-byte/army-developing-way-spoof-soldiers-electromagnetic-signatures

Rheinmetall to develop laser weapons demonstrator for frigate Sachsen of German Navy

https://navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2020/november/9328-rheinmetall-to-develop-laser-weapons-demonstrator-for-frigate-sachsen-of-german-navy.html

Lasers, and electronics spoofing. just like drones. are transforming modern warfare and could allow countries with smaller populations to defend their integrity without requiring large armies.

 

Europe Is Launching a Giant Claw to Grab Space Junk

https://futurism.com/the-byte/european-space-agency-claw-space-junk

The European Space Agency is planning to launch a massive claw designed to collect large pieces of space junk out of the sky and steer them towards the Earth’s atmosphere to be burned up.The underlying technology is supposed to eventually extend the lives of retired satellites found in graveyard orbits by refueling them or updating their tech, however, there could be serious abuses in military confrontations and disputes between countries.