Quantum ‘compass’ promises navigation without using GPS

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It could keep society humming when satellites fail.

GPS is vital to modern navigation, but it’s extremely fragile. Never mind coverage — if a satellite fails or there’s a jamming attack, it quickly becomes useless. Scientists may have a much more robust answer, though. Scientists have demonstrated a “commercially viable” quantum accelerometer that could provide navigation without GPS or other satellite technology. The device uses lasers to cool atoms to extremely low temperatures, and then measures the quantum wave properties of those atoms as they respond to acceleration.

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This smart toothbrush will clean all your teeth in just 6 seconds

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There are plenty of things in life that are a part of our routine. We’ve gotten used to them. They’re comfortable and familiar. And brushing your teeth is a perfect example. You expect to block out three to four minutes every morning and every night to brush every tooth one at a time until they’re squeaky clean.

But not anymore.

The creators of Unobrush have reinvented the way we brush our teeth. And, turns out, they’re absolutely crushing it on KickStarter., where the project is being crowdfunded.

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Can mushrooms be the platform we build the future on?

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Ecovative thinks it can use mycelia, the hair-like network of cells that grows in mushrooms, to help build everything from lab-grown meat to 3D-printed organs to biofabricated leather.

Can mushrooms be the platform we build the future on?

When the first bioreactor-grown “clean meat” shows up in restaurants–perhaps by the end of this year–it’s likely to come in the form of ground meat rather than a fully formed chicken wings or sirloin steak. While it’s possible to grow animal cells in a factory, it’s harder to grow full animal parts. One solution may come from fungi: Mycelia, the hair-like network of cells that grows in mushrooms, can create a scaffold to grow a realistic cut of meat.

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‘Human brain’ supercomputer with 1 million processors switched on for first time

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The world’s largest neuromorphic supercomputer designed and built to work in the same way a human brain does has been fitted with its landmark one-millionth processor core and is being switched on for the first time.

The newly formed million-processor-core Spiking Neural Network Architecture (SpiNNaker) machine is capable of completing more than 200 million million actions per second, with each of its chips having 100 million moving parts.

To reach this point, it has taken £15million in funding, 20 years in conception and over 10 years in construction, with the initial build starting way back in 2006. The project was initially funded by the EPSRC and is now supported by the European Human Brain Project. It is being switched on for the first time on Friday, 2 November.

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Scientists create a rare fifth form of matter in space for the first time ever

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For a few minutes on Jan. 23, 2017, the coldest spot in the known universe was a tiny microchip hovering 150 miles over Kiruna, Sweden.

The chip was small — about the size of a postage stamp — and loaded with thousands of tightly-packed rubidium-87 atoms. Scientists launched that chip into space aboard an unpiloted, 40-foot-long (12 meters) rocket, then bombarded it with lasers until the atoms inside it cooled to minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius) — a fraction of a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature in nature.

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Scientists have created programmable shape-shifting liquid metal

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Researchers at the University of Sussex and Swansea University have applied electrical charges to manipulate liquid metal into 2D shapes such as letters and a heart. The team says the findings represent an “extremely promising” new class of materials that can be programmed to seamlessly change shape. This open up new possibilities in ‘soft robotics’ and shape-changing displays, the researcher say.

While the invention might bring to mind the film Terminator 2, in which the villain morphs out of a pool of liquid metal, the creation of 3D shapes is still some way off. More immediate applications could include reprogrammable circuit boards and conductive ink.

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The next tech talent shortage: Quantum computing researchers

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Christopher Savoie, founder and chief executive of a start-up called Zapata, offered jobs this year to three scientists who specialize in an increasingly important technology called quantum computing. They accepted.

Several months later, the Cambridge, Mass., company was still waiting for the State Department to approve visas for the specialists. All three are foreigners, born in Europe and Asia.

Whether the delays were the result of tougher immigration policy or just red tape, Mr. Savoie’s predicament was typical of a growing concern among American businesses and universities: Unless policies and priorities change, they will have trouble attracting the talent needed to build quantum technology, which could make today’s computers look like toys.

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How a team of innovators overcame the odds to create water from thin air

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Today, 790 million people — 11 percent of the world’s population — live without access to clean water.

Two years ago, XPrize, an international nonprofit organization, announced a global competition enticing innovators to find a sustainable and affordable way to bring potable water to those who aren’t privileged enough to have it now.

Skeptics told the competition organizers that it was impossible.

Nearly 100 submissions later, and XPrize found precisely what they were looking for — entrepreneurs who could design a minimalistic device that could reliably extract 2,000 liters of water from the atmosphere per day for no more than two cents per liter all using 100 percent renewable energy.

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IBM just proved quantum computers can do things impossible for classical ones

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A team of researchers from IBM, the University of Waterloo, and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) today published the results of an experiment proving a quantum computer can do things a classical one cannot. This may be a watershed moment in the history of computer science.

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At 10 trillion frames per second, this camera captures light in slow motion

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Light is the fastest thing in the universe, so trying to catch it on the move is necessarily something of a challenge. We’ve had some success, but a new rig built by Caltech scientists pulls down a mind-boggling 10 trillion frames per second, meaning it can capture light as it travels along — and they have plans to make it a hundred times faster.

Understanding how light moves is fundamental to many fields, so it isn’t just idle curiosity driving the efforts of Jinyang Liang and his colleagues — not that there’d be anything wrong with that either. But there are potential applications in physics, engineering, and medicine that depend heavily on the behavior of light at scales so small, and so short, that they are at the very limit of what can be measured.

You may have heard about billion- and trillion-FPS cameras in the past, but those were likely “streak cameras” that do a bit of cheating to achieve those numbers.

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FinalStraw on’Shark Tank’: A look inside the first reusable straw

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FinalStraw is the world’s first collapsible, reusable straw. The product’s website boasts a mission to “reduce plastic straws use by giving you a convenient, collapsible, reusable alternative.”

The product comes in a small and keychain-friendly container that allows you to bring FinalStraw with you wherever you go. It is also available in five different colors: suck-ulent green, shark-butt grey, healthy coral, artic-melt blue, and sea tur-teal.

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Will 3D printing solve the affordable housing crisis?

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3D printing’s impact on construction is slowly materializing.

Owning one’s own house—a dream of human beings ever since Cro-Magnons looked out of their caves at the retreating glaciers—has been sometimes more, sometimes less affordable. Currently, we’re in one of the less affordable phases. With construction accounting for almost 60 percent of the cost of a new single-family home, measures that reduce labor and simplify material needs may make the dream more accessible for many.

Cue the 3D-printing evangelists. The 2010s have been ringing with the hosannas of houses extruded from a 3D printer in hours, sometimes many of them per day. The options seem limitless, with made-to-order versions in concrete, like Icon’s tiny house in Austin; ABS plastic and carbon fiber, like Branch Technology’s prototype home in Chattanooga; and recycled materials, like Chinese manufacturer WinSun’s five-story apartment building in Suzhou. By simplifying construction, we’re told, 3D printing can provide affordable shelter to everyone from the working poor to refugees.

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