Disney’s robot can perform realistic eye movements & social interaction

In the past few years, scientists and engineers have developed robots for automated systems such as performing repetitive tasks. Meanwhile, Disney Research has been developing human-like robots with abilities ranging from performing stunts to having eerie eye interactions.

Disney Research recently published a paper that described a realistic and interactive gaze with the Audio-Animatronic humanoid. Previous robot developments have focused on technical implementation with human interaction. The team’s latest advancements include creating a gaze interaction “through the lens of character animation where the fidelity and believability of motion are paramount,” wrote the authors.

For nearly three decades, Disney has been developing animatronic figures, or life-like robots combined with audio and visual elements. These animal or human characters are seen in Disney theme parks around the world.

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Fashion Scoops : Dior is inviting people try on sneakers via augmented reality

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Dior’s new Snapchat lens dedicated to the B27sneakers

The reality of trying on shoes in a store?

Risk of embarrassing sock holes; risk of foot odor, or worse, risk of visible butt cleavage when bending over to tie up laces.

So how about augmented reality? Simply point your smart phone at your feet and instantly see how the shoes look, no matter where you are or what’s on your feet at the moment.

Dior is bringing the latter reality to life with a new Snapchat lens for its B27 men’s sneakers.

Launching today, it allows users to quickly try on six variations, and purchase directly from the Dior channel on Snapchat or on Dior.com.

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Experts fear lab-grown brains will become sentient, which is upsetting

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Well, we don’t want that … or do we?

The idea of sentient, lab-created “organoids” raises ethical questions that ripple through science.

Tests could include physical scans, mathematical models, and more.

Scientists say there are reasons it could be necessary to create consciousness … and destroy it.

A thought-provoking new article poses some hugely important scientific questions: Could brain cells initiated and grown in a lab become sentient? What would that look like, and how could scientists test for it? And would a sentient, lab-grown brain “organoid” have some kind of rights?

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Honeywell announces its H1 quantum computer with 10 qubits

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Honeywell, which was a bit of a surprise entrant into the quantum computing space when it announced its efforts to build the world’s most powerful quantum computer earlier this year, today announced its newest system: the Model H1. The H1 uses trapped-ion technology and features 10 fully connected qubits that allow it to reach a quantum volume of 128 (where quantum volume [QV] is a metric of the overall compute power of a quantum computer, no matter the underlying technology). That’s higher than comparable efforts by IBM, but also well behind the QV 4,000,000 machine IonQ says it was able to achieve with 32 qubits.

The H1 will be available to enterprises through the Azure Quantum platform and the company says that it is partnering with Zapata Computing and Cambridge Quantum Computing on this project.

When it first announced its efforts, Honeywell said that its experience in building control systems allowed it to build an advanced ion trap and more uniform qubits that hence make error correction easier.

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CRISPR therapy restores retinal and visual function in mice

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A breakthrough study, led by researchers from the University of California, Irvine, results in the restoration of retinal and visual functions of mice models suffering from inherited retinal disease.

Published today in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the paper, titled, “Restoration of visual function in adult mice with an inherited retinal disease via adenine base editing,” illustrates the use of a new generation CRISPR technology and lays the foundation for the development of a new therapeutic modality for a wide range of inherited ocular diseases caused by different gene mutations.

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Meet the zeptosecond, the shortest unit of time ever measured

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ABOVE – A particle of light, called a photon (yellow arrow), produces electron waves out of an electron cloud (grey) of a hydrogen molecule (red: nucleus). The result of those interactions is what’s called an interference pattern (violet-white). The interference pattern is slightly skewed to the right, allowing researchers to calculate the time for the photon to get from one atom to the next.

Scientists have measured the shortest unit of time ever: the time it takes a light particle to cross a hydrogen molecule.

That time, for the record, is 247 zeptoseconds. A zeptosecond is a trillionth of a billionth of a second, or a decimal point followed by 20 zeroes and a 1. Previously, researchers had dipped into the realm of zeptoseconds; in 2016, researchers reporting in the journal Nature Physics used lasers to measure time in increments down to 850 zeptoseconds. This accuracy is a huge leap from the 1999 Nobel Prize-winning work that first measured time in femtoseconds, which are millionths of a billionths of seconds.

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UK ambulance services are testing a rescue jet suit

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Gravity Industries’ suit could quickly get a medic to a remote casualty site.

The “Iron Man” jet suit we first saw back in 2017 might be less crazy than we first thought. Inventor Richard Browning and his company Gravity Industries have demonstrated that it may be a viable option to quickly get medical help to victims in remote areas. Working with the UK’s Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), Browning flew to a simulated casualty on a remote mountainous site in just 90 seconds, a fraction of the time it would take to walk there.

The sooner a paramedic can get to a victim, the sooner they can stabilize them and call for a helicopter or other support. “We think this technology could enable our team to reach some patients much quicker than ever before,” said GNAAS director of operations Andy Mawson. “In many cases this would ease the patient’s suffering. In some cases, it would save their lives.”

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No internet, no problem. Venezuela gets bitcoin satellite node

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Venezuela deployed its first Bitcoin satellite node.

It allows for a node on the ground to receive Bitcoin transaction details from a Blockstream satellite without internet.

Venezuela has poor internet connectivity.

Venezuela has its first Bitcoin satellite node capable of processing transactions without an internet connection.

The Venezuelan “space node” was set up in the country by Anibal Garrido and the Anibal Cripto team. It uses technology from Blockstream, which contracts satellites—in this case, EUTELSAT-113 – to broadcast data between points via offline connections. That’s huge in a country where internet infrastructure is lacking.

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Hyundai creates division for walking robots and Transformer-like mobility vehicles

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The Korean automaker will dip its toes in the field of freaky-looking robots.

Remember the Hyundai Elevate concept from CES 2019? Probably not because so much happens at CES, it’s hard to keep track of the real breakthroughs, worthy attention-grabbers and the fluff. Well, we should definitely pay a little more attention to Hyundai and its Elevate concept because the Korean automaker announced a new division on Tuesday devoted to “ultimate mobility vehicles.”

If the Elevate concept defines what an “ultimate mobility vehicle” is, that means Hyundai just created a studio to design walking cars. They’re sort of freaky, honestly. The New Horizons Studio, as it’s called, will develop vehicles “to wander with unprecedented mobility,” the automaker said in the announcement. “Wander” is an appropriate word since the Elevate concept sports long legs that let the vehicle “walk” over what would typically be terrain a standard vehicle would never get past. Specifically, Hyundai imagined the Elevate as a perfect rescue vehicle to step over rocks, rubble and other debris with ease.

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D-Wave’s 5,000-qubit quantum computing platform handles 1 million variables

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D-Wave Advantage System

D-Wave today launched its next-generation quantum computing platform available via its Leap quantum cloud service. The company calls Advantage “the first quantum computer built for business.” In that vein, D-Wave today also debuted Launch, a jump-start program for businesses that want to begin building hybrid quantum applications.

“The Advantage quantum computer is the first quantum computer designed and developed from the ground up to support business applications,” D-Wave CEO Alan Baratz told VentureBeat. “We engineered it to be able to deal with large, complex commercial applications and to be able to support the running of those applications in production environments. There is no other quantum computer anywhere in the world that can solve problems at the scale and complexity that this quantum computer can solve problems. It really is the only one that you can run real business applications on. The other quantum computers are primarily prototypes. You can do experimentation, run small proofs of concept, but none of them can support applications at the scale that we can.”

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Futuristic ‘Flying-V’ airplane makes successful maiden flight

(CNN) — Researchers have conducted a successful maiden flight of the Flying-V, a futuristic and fuel efficient airplane that could one day carry passengers in its wings.

The Flying-V’s unique design places the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings, and experts hope that the plane’s aerodynamic shape will cut fuel consumption by 20% compared to today’s aircrafts.

Experts tested a 22.5 kg and 3-meter scale model of the futuristic airplane, developed by researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and partner Dutch airline KLM, to take the highly anticipated aircraft along its next developmental steps.

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CRISPR-based COVID test is rapid, accurate and costs less than $1

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CRISPR’s claim to fame may be gene editing—and turning the scientific community on its head when it first debuted—but it may have another trick up its sleeve.

Recent studies have indicated CRISPR tools have the potential for in vitro diagnostics, something Chinese scientists have leveraged to develop a 100% accurate COVID-19 test that can be mass manufactured for 70 cents.

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