Physna aims to be Google of 3D search with geometry-based AI

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Physna, a midwestern U.S. startup founded in 2015, is trying to do for physical object (3D model) search what Google did for text and image search. Using geometric deep-learning technology and proprietary algorithms, Physna is able to understand, map and compare 3D models and index them based on their geometry. While it has been possible to search for 3D models using text, images, tags and more, this is the first time that searching for physical objects based on their fundamental geometry, their physical ‘DNA’ (hence the name PHYSNA according to its founder Paul Powers), has been made possible and available, with the launch of Thangs.com.

“We live in a 3D world, but digital technology is two-dimensional,” said Paul Powers, CEO of Physna. “Over 70% of the economy is centered around physical goods, but less than 1% of software is capable of handling 3D data. Physna was founded on the principle that computers should be taught to “think” in 3D, and accurately describe the real, 3D world around us. By enabling 3D models to be treated and analyzed like other code, Physna’s technology bridges the gap between the physical world and digital world of software. By democratizing the ability to design, interact with and analyze 3D models of the world around them, more people will have the ability to create and drive innovation in product design, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality, gaming, healthcare and beyond.”

By identifying specific geometry ‘clusters’, the proprietary algorithms characterize and categorize 3D models in a unique way – and directly use this to search for other models that may be similar, different, or exact matches. With this approach of decomposing and linking 3D models by their geometry, Physna is able to capture 10,000 times more data points than a traditional scanned model, by codifying 3D model data for use in software applications. It essentially provides a platform for 3D designers and engineers similar to what software engineers have.

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Here’s how asteroid mining will transform the world

Asteroid mining sounds fantastically futuristic, but it is almost feasible with existing technology.

We have already landed spacecraft on asteroids and taken samples.

Now all of that “simply” needs to be done at a much larger scale mining a well-scouted space rock.

The payoff for humanity will be astronomical.
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Energy-harvesting design aims to turn Wi-Fi signals into usable power

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Terahertz waves are pervasive in our daily lives, and if harnessed, their concentrated power could potentially serve as an alternate energy source. Imagine, for instance, a cellphone add-on that passively soaks up ambient T-rays and uses their energy to charge your phone.

Any device that sends out a Wi-Fi signal also emits terahertz waves —electromagnetic waves with a frequency somewhere between microwaves and infrared light. These high-frequency radiation waves, known as “T-rays,” are also produced by almost anything that registers a temperature, including our own bodies and the inanimate objects around us.

Terahertz waves are pervasive in our daily lives, and if harnessed, their concentrated power could potentially serve as an alternate energy source. Imagine, for instance, a cellphone add-on that passively soaks up ambient T-rays and uses their energy to charge your phone. However, to date, terahertz waves are wasted energy, as there has been no practical way to capture and convert them into any usable form.

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Scientists develop AI that can turn brain activity into text

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Researchers in US tracked the neural data from people while they were speaking

Reading minds has just come a step closer to reality: scientists have developed artificial intelligence that can turn brain activity into text.

While the system currently works on neural patterns detected while someone is speaking aloud, experts say it could eventually aid communication for patients who are unable to speak or type, such as those with locked in syndrome.

“We are not there yet but we think this could be the basis of a speech prosthesis,” said Dr Joseph Makin, co-author of the research from the University of California, San Francisco.

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Cloud data speeds set to soar with aid of laser mini-magnets

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Model of a single-molecule magnet

Tiny, laser-activated magnets could enable cloud computing systems to process data up to 100 times faster than current technologies, a study suggests.

Chemists have studied a new magnetic material that could boost the storage capacity and processing speed of hard drives used in cloud-based servers.

This could enable people using cloud data systems to load large files in seconds instead of minutes, researchers say.

A team led by scientists from the University of Edinburgh created the material—known as a single-molecule magnet—in the lab.

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Wi-Fi 6 will double your network’s range and triple its speed — once you upgrade your router, phone, PC, and everything else

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Wi-Fi 6 will upgrade your workhorse wireless network

5G is great, but it’s a big Wi-Fi upgrade that’ll likely help you out sooner with faster speeds and longer range at home, school and work.

We get it. 5G is a big deal. But honestly, you likely use Wi-Fi networks as much or more with your phone and PC, so tune out the 5G noise for a moment and appreciate what’s coming with Wi-Fi 6.

“While 5G is getting much of the limelight, Wi-Fi 6 will have a bigger impact in our connected lives — and sooner,” said FeibusTech analyst Mike Feibus.

Wi-Fi 6, the consumer-friendly new name for the tech standard actually called 802.11ax, won’t just boost data-transfer speeds — though it’ll do that, by a factor of three or so. It’ll also reach into corners of our house farther away from network gear, better handle the crush of people at airports and stadiums, and sidestep interference from your neighbors’ noisy network. On your phone or laptop, it should save your battery life, too.

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Chinese scientists develop portable quantum satellite communication device

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Weighing in at just 80kg, the machine can connect to China’s quantum satellite and receive encryption keys in the form of entangled light particles

Breakthrough was made by team at University of Science and Technology of China

Chinese scientists have developed a quantum satellite ground station that is not only capable of sending ultra-secure messages anywhere in the world but also fits inside a family car.

The mobile device, developed by the University of Science and Technology of China, weighs about 80kg (176lbs). With the addition of a 28cm (11 inch) telescope, it can connect to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ quantum satellite known as Mozi, and receive ­encryption keys in the form of ­entangled light particles.

Unlike traditional encryption methods based on mathematics, quantum encryption is protected by the fundamental law of physics. In theory, all information scrambled by encryption algorithms can be cracked by a computer if it is fast enough, but quantum key communication will remain intact because any attempt to eavesdrop will cause a physical change in the message and trigger a security alert to the sender or receiver.

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China plans ‘paradise for physicists’ with particle colliders that will test the strongest forces in the universe

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Guangdong becomes focus as China races the US to build bigger particle accelerators

Scientist says the competition between the two countries will ultimately be for the good of the human race.

Scientists in southern China are planning to create machines that will be used to unravel the mysteries of the building blocks of the universe.

They said two ring-shaped electron-ion colliders – one 2km (1.2 miles) long – will be built in Huizhou, a city in Guangdong province, beginning in 2025 and they will be designed to accelerate electrons to close to the speed of light.

The project – known as the Electron-Ion Collider of China, or EICC – will see electrons being fired at the nuclei of heavy elements such as iron or uranium at high speeds.

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The next big leap in space travel will use hypersonic planes

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Scramjets capable of flying at Mach 15 will make it easier and cheaper to send spacecraft and people into orbit, says hypersonics expert Michael Smart.

Sending satellites, spacecraft and humans into space is an expensive business. If humanity wants to venture further across the Solar System, we need ways of reducing the cost. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to make the vehicles we use to launch missions into space reusable.

Michael Smart, chair of hypersonic propulsion at the University of Queensland, believes hypersonic planes are the solution. He spent 10 years designing hypersonic engines called scramjets for Nasa before establishing his own research group, which now works with the Australian Department of Defence, Science and Technology and the US Air Force.

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‘Quantum Apocalypse’: How ultra-powerful computers could cripple governments and effectively break the internet

 

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A new era of computing could bring about a ‘quantum apocalypse’

‘Our modern systems of finance, commerce, communication, transportation, manufacturing, energy, government, and healthcare will for all intents and purposes cease to function,’ cyber security expert warns

A new era of unfathomably fast computers is just a few years away, with quantum computers set to transform the way we communicate, cure disease, and even solve problems previously thought impossible.

But some computing experts fear functional quantum computers could also effectively break the internet as we know it.

Recent progress made by Google means their arrival could be sooner than expected. A leaked research paper suggests the company has achieved what is known as quantum supremacy, whereby a quantum computer performed a calculation that was far beyond the reach of today’s most powerful supercomputers.

First theorised by the physicist Richard Feynman in 1982, quantum computers combine the peculiar properties of quantum physics with computer science to achieve processing power that is exponentially more powerful than traditional computers.

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Artificial skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality

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Artificial skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality

EPFL scientists have developed a soft artificial skin that provides haptic feedback and—thanks to a sophisticated self-sensing mechanism—has the potential to instantaneously adapt to a wearer’s movements. Applications for the new technology range from medical rehabilitation to virtual reality. Artificial skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality.

Just like our senses of hearing and vision, our sense of touch plays an important role in how we perceive and interact with the world around us. And technology capable of replicating our sense of touch—also known as haptic feedback—can greatly enhance human-computer and human-robot interfaces for applications such as medical rehabilitation and virtual reality.

Scientists at EPFL’s Reconfigurable Robotics Lab (RRL), headed by Jamie Paik, and Laboratory for Soft Bioelectronic Interfaces (LSBI), headed by Stéphanie Lacour at the School of Engineering, have teamed up to develop a soft, flexible artificial skin made of silicone and electrodes. Both labs are part of the NCCR Robotics program.

The skin’s system of soft sensors and actuators enable the artificial skin to conform to the exact shape of a wearer’s wrist, for example, and provide haptic feedback in the form of pressure and vibration. Strain sensors continuously measure the skin’s deformation so that the haptic feedback can be adjusted in real time to produce a sense of touch that’s as realistic as possible. The scientists’ work has just been published in Soft Robotics.

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