AI LipSync 👄 Dynamic tattoos 💉 Space photo shoot 🛰️!

Technology News

Google launches AI lip-sync challenge

Google has launched a lip-sync challenge. The challenge is being run by Google’s AI Experiments group—the same group behind Google’s Pixel device. The purpose of the challenge is to allow Google to use real singers to teach its AI system how to read lips. Google hopes to use the AI system as part of an effort to develop applications for people with speaking disabilities such as ALS. The challenge is built on the company’s TensorFlow.js AI technology and that it works by tracking facial landmarks as the user lip syncs. Visitors to the site can also choose to get the web app code and instructions on setting it up and using it with other web applications.

Predicting epidemics like the weather

Microsoft Premonition is an advanced early warning system that combines robotic sensing platforms, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and cloud-scale metagenomics to autonomously monitor disease-carrying animals such as mosquitoes, robotically collect environmental samples, and then genomically scan them for biological threats. Today, Premonition’s pipelines have scanned more than 80 trillion base-pairs of genomic material from environmental samples for biological threats. Its analytics pipelines uses cloud-scale computing, leveraging the latest advancements in Azure IoT and Azure Data Lake on Microsoft Azure.

Science News

Dynamic tattoos promise to warn wearers of health threats

Researchers have developed an invisible tattoo ink that turns blue only in UV light, alerting you when your skin needs protection. The tattoo ink contains a UV-activated dye inside of a plastic nanocapsule less than a micron in diameter – or thousandth of a millimeter – about the same size as an ordinary tattoo pigment. They are implanted using tattoo machines in the same way as regular tattoos, but they last for only several months before they start to degrade from UV exposure and other natural processes and fade, requiring a “booster” tattoo. Ultimately, we believe tattoo inks could be used to prevent and diagnose disease.

Sleep test predicts dementia in older adults

The team recently created the Brain Age Index (BAI), a model that relies on artificial intelligence and a large set of sleep data to estimate the difference between a person’s chronological age and the biological age of their brain when computed through electrical measurements (with an electroencephalogram, or EEG) during sleep. A higher BAI signifies deviation from normal brain aging, which could reflect the presence and severity of dementia. “BAI has potential as a screening tool for the presence of underlying neurodegenerative disease and monitoring of disease progression.”

Business News

Estée Lauder and NASA partner for a skincare serum photoshoot on the International Space Station

Beauty giant Estée Lauder is sending one of its skincare serums to the International Space Station for a four-and-and-half hour photoshoot by NASA astronauts. The brand is paying NASA about $128,000 to send its “advanced night repair” serum to space. NASA astronauts will film and photograph the serum in the ISS’s Cupola, an observatory with seven windows that provide panoramic views of space. The items will return to Earth in the spring, and Estée Lauder will auction one bottle for charity. The photoshoot forms part of NASA’s efforts to promote business opportunities on the ISS.

Caesars could buy William Hill for $3.7 billion as sports betting booms

Caesars is in talks to buy William Hill in a deal that would value the British bookmaker at $3.7 billion and underscore the size of the opportunity in online gaming and sports betting in the United States. William Hill has a 32% share of revenue in the Nevada sports betting market, and it is rapidly expanding into other states. “William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast growing US sports betting and online market.” The American Gaming Association expects nearly 35 million people, or 13% of American adults, to bet on the NFL this season.

Miscellaneous News

World leaders pledge to reverse nature loss by 2030

The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature: United to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for Sustainable Development sees leaders pledging to undertake urgent actions to achieve Sustainable Development. The Pledge is a response to our escalating planetary emergency, and the need for urgent and immediate global action to address our biodiversity, climate and health crises. “Pandemics, wildfires, wildlife decline and climate change are all symptoms of our dangerously unbalanced relationship with the natural world. We can’t ignore it any longer.”

Saudi Arabia sends blue ammonia green fuel to Japan in world first

The world’s first shipment of blue ammonia is on its way from Saudi Arabia to Japan. Saudi Aramco produced the fuel by converting hydrocarbons into hydrogen and then ammonia, and capturing the carbon dioxide byproduct. Japan will receive 40 tons of blue ammonia in the first shipment. Ammonia can be burned in thermal power stations without releasing carbon emissions. That means it has “the potential to make a significant contribution to an affordable and reliable low-carbon energy future.”

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