AI Sleep 💤 Magnetic implant 🧲 eVTOL air taxi startup 🚕

Technology News

Artificial intelligence that mimics the brain needs sleep just like humans, study reveals

Artificial intelligence designed to function like a human could require periods of rest similar to those needed by biological brains. Researchers discovered that neural networks experienced benefits that were “the equivalent of a good night’s rest” when exposed to an artificial analogue of sleep. Researchers found that an AI designed to mimic how humans learn to see became unstable during long periods of unsupervised learning, as it attempted to classify objects using their dictionary definitions without having any prior examples to compare them to. When exposed to a state that is similar to what a human brain experiences during sleep, the neural network’s stability was restored.

Robot Built for Japan’s Ageing Workforce Finds Coronavirus Role

Mira Robotics developed its “Ugo” robot to reinforce greying Japan’s shrinking workforce, but as the coronavirus threat persists, the Japanese startup is offering its machine as a tool in the fight against the outbreak. The latest feature of the remote-controlled or so-called avatar robot is a hand attachment that uses ultra-violet light to kill viruses on door handles. Mira Robotics’ Ugo is a pair of height-adjustable robotic arms mounted on wheels, operated remotely through a wireless connection with a laptop and game controller. A range-measuring laser mounted on the base helps it navigate, while a panel at the top displays eyes to give it a friendlier appearance.

Science News

Rice team makes tiny, magnetically powered neural stimulator

Rice University neuroengineers have created a tiny surgical implant that can electrically stimulate the brain and nervous system. The neural stimulator draws its power from magnetic energy and is about the size of a grain of rice. It is the first magnetically powered neural stimulator that produces the same kind of high-frequency signals as clinically approved, battery-powered implants that are used to treat epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain and other conditions. “Our results suggest that using magnetoelectric materials for wireless power delivery is more than a novel idea. These materials are excellent candidates for clinical-grade, wireless bioelectronics.”

A single drop of sweat can reveal these 7 things about your health

Using a low-powered, paper-based design, a team of engineers has created a wearable device designed to continuously analyse the biological make-up of a person’s sweat for 10-days at a time. The plant-like capillary action of this device wicks excessive moisture from it and allows it to operate continuously unlike other devices. Because this method also leaves behind tree-ring-like salt deposits on the device, the authors say it can be used to determine the health history of a user as well. Sweat is incredibly salty and contains trace metabolites like lactate and cortisol that can be indicators of different health conditions such as dehydration or hypertension.

Business News

Tesla’s second largest shareholder invests $35 million in air taxi startup Lilium

German air taxi startup Lilium said it has raised an additional $35 million to fuel its goal of launching an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle by 2025. Lilium, which is based in Munich, is one of the more promising ventures with its sights set on an urban taxi service meant to supplant normal car traffic. While other eVTOL companies are struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lilium is continuing to raise funds. “Baillie Gifford is one of the world’s most influential tech investors and their commitment to Lilium represents a significant vote of confidence in both our physical product and our business case.”

Airbnb is making a huge comeback

Airbnb said it’s experiencing a surge in bookings as customers emerge from several months of being cooped up in their homes because of Covid-19. Airbnb revealed that it had more US bookings between May 17 and June 3, which encompassed Memorial Day on May 25, than the same time period a year earlier. That signals Americans are ready to travel, albeit primarily within the United States. CEO Brian Chesky said he’s noticed travellers are preferring to stick to drivable domestic destinations within 200 miles of their home. He’s also seen a rise in domestic bookings in Portugal, Germany and South Korea.

Miscellaneous News

Burger King Selling Social Distancing Whopper in Italy with Three Times the Onions

Burger King hopes onion breath will help customers in Italy maintain social distancing as their new Social Distancing Whopper includes three times the regular amount of onions compared to a regular Whopper. The tagline for the new burger reads, “A Whopper with triple onions to help others stay away from you.” Other than the extra onions, the Social Distancing Whopper is the same as a regular Whopper.

Ground-Penetrating Radar Reveals Entire Ancient Roman City

For the first time ever, archaeologists have used ground-penetrating radar to map an entire city while it’s still beneath the ground. A preliminary map of Falerii Novi, an ancient Roman city located 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of Rome, has been compiled with data taken from ground-penetrating radar. It’s “preliminary” because it wasn’t humanly possible for the researchers to fully analyse the 28 billion data points collected during the course of the project.

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