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Last night, the Breakthrough Foundation hosted an awards ceremony in Silicon Valley, where $22 million in prize money was awarded to a huge variety of scientists for their ground breaking research efforts.

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For twenty years, DESY (the German synchrotron administration) has been working on a bigger and better X-ray laser. Such an implementation would enhance the imaging and analysis of subjects from a wide range of scientific research topics, from viruses to exo-planets. The new laser, known as European XFEL, is based at the DESY research center in Hamburg, but extends nearly four kilometers along the ground until it reaches a campus in the Schleswig-Holstein town of Schenefeld.

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The key words Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision for many of us have the meaning of some sort of robot, usually humanoid, which is able to move into some space, talk to us and has sufficient capabilities to understand some tasks we are asking. Something similar to Sophia, the robot that just became citizen of Saudi Arabia.

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Stephen Hawking has made a surprise appearance at the opening night of the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon, Portugal. Paddy Cosgrave, the CEO of Web Summit, opened the conference last night and invited a number of speakers to join him on stage.

CEO and founder of Portuguese start-up Feedzai, Nuno Sebastiao, started off by saying that Artificial Intelligence is an “incredible tool” but still at its “early stages of development so we also need to ensure its being put to good use in our world.”

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There is an emerging trend these days for new hardware materials, designs and standards that seek to defy Moore’s Law and the predicted slowdown in computing evolution and, eventually, the capabilities it represents. It’s a necessary move, particularly in the face of the extensive requirements involved in running some artificial intelligence (AI) platforms. Some AI applications need to process hundreds of thousands of data points for the purposes of deep learning; and some others need to apply algorithms to thousands or even millions of the same.

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Many of us may wish that the audio experience in our living rooms was better. The sound coming through our TVs and stereos can be enhanced by augmenting these devices with various types of speakers. There are speakers out there that can enhance the treble, bass, timbre or ‘surround effect’ included in the soundtracks of our media. Some companies claim to have developed speaker offerings that do a combination of these things.

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The mission to create a colony of humans on the moon has just received a huge boost – in the unlikely discovery of a cave stretching into the surface of the moon. Scientists suggest that this could be the perfect location for a lunar exploration base.

A team of international researchers released details of the find in Geophysical Research Letters, noting that the cave was found through researchers studying data collected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Kaguya lunar orbiter.

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The increased need for, and the implementation of renewable or clean energy, questions the premise of its safety and reliability because it brings about the possibility of being threatened by hackers by way of theft or cyberattacks. The magnitude of real-time data and the distributed generation of energy make for easy gateways. Take charging an electric car, for example — a group of such vehicles are ultimately connected to a larger power unit, which can, if jeopardized, compromise the grid of an entire city.

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Nerd alert: sci-fi has finally found a place in our lives; it looks like we’re going back to the future!

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We’ve all heard a lot about Elon Musk and the future plans of his companies, particularly that of SpaceX, in recent times. For example, SpaceX’s next generation is reportedly going to bring extraterrestrial travel – and maybe even colonisation – to the masses in the next decade. Tesla, on the other hand, may have more down-to-earth goals.

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The high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) found in the Earth’s atmosphere is a consistent environmental and socioeconomic problem. Many scientists assert that it is a major contributing factor to overall global temperature trends. Even if this was not the case, it is also a prominent air pollutant, which affects the quality of life and respiratory health of millions worldwide. Some authorities have attempted to tackle abnormal ambient CO2 levels through such methods as carbon emissions taxes or the promotion of low-carbon transport solutions.

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Smart home devices are becoming increasingly popular. They are marketed as electronics that can take the work out of monitoring your home, doing your shopping, turning on heating and monitoring your energy consumption. These Internet of Things (IoT) based products connect your home to the online world, by making shopping for things on websites such as Amazon easy or even automatic. However, it can be disappointing when you take a new connectable home and it doesn’t ‘talk’ to the other devices around it.

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Elon Musk and his company Space X have some grand plans for the future of humanity – with details released last night, at 12:30AM ET, at the International Astronautical Congress held in Adelaide, Australia.

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Graphene is a fascinating and relatively novel material that may have a whole range of applications in the areas of electronics and engineering in the near future. It is a superconductor that has recently demonstrated the ability to co-exist with silicon to enhance the capabilities of this complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS). These capabilities include photonics: for example, silicon/graphene transistors have recently formed the basis of a sensor that can ‘see’ visible, IR and UV light simultaneously.

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Some of us may think of robots as machines we’ve created to mimic human or animal motion, gait, gestures and forms. They are also very often designed to manipulate things in a way that approximates the human ability to do so, in order to complete tasks and automated processes. However, there are engineers and scientists who assert that robots would be more effective, adaptable and useful if they conformed to more unique or interchangeable form factors.

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Solar energy involves using highly-specialised and engineered power cells to harvest the energy of sunlight and convert it into electricity that can be used by conventional appliances. Over the last 20 years, this concept has morphed from an unlikely pipe dream into a nearly-standard component of energy use in new buildings. Installations of sunlight-collecting panels in large numbers have become part of the everyday electricity grid in several countries, including China and Spain.

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Most of us now realise that fish stocks in the world’s oceans are at an all-time low. But what many people fail to understand is that the age of the remaining fish within those stocks also has an important impact on the health of these marine communities, which we rely on as an important source of food.

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The traditional route of taking medicines in tablet form for certain conditions could potentially be replaced by a small device similar to a pacemaker, researchers claim. The device is roughly the same size as a pacemaker, but instead of being implanted by the heart, it sits just below the left collarbone. The idea is that the device stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the abdomen and is responsible for maintaining our heart rate, as well as relaying signals to and from our spleen, lungs and digestive system.

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Synthetic facial recognition is demonstrably making the transition from action or spy movies to real life. This technological revolution is based on the ability of cameras to pick up the image of a face to process, analyse and ultimately identify people based on their facial characteristics. Companies such as NEC believe that computerised facial recognition can form the backbone of a modern security system, be they public or corporate.

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Imagine a classroom where a robot stands in front of a group of students, setting them individualised tasks and making sure each student completes this to the best of their ability. A human teacher is on hand to check on students’ work and to maintain discipline if necessary, but it’s the robot which will be responsible for creating learning plans for each student as well as monitoring their progress both within a lesson and over the course of an academic year.

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