Lip reading 👄 DNA antenna 🧬 Mobile takeover 📱!

Technology News

Meta claims its AI improves speech recognition quality by reading lips

Researchers at Meta developed Audio-Visual Hidden Unit BERT (AV-HuBERT), a framework that learns to understand speech by both watching and hearing people speak. Meta claims that AV-HuBERT is 75% more accurate than the best audiovisual speech recognition systems using the same amount of transcriptions. Moreover, AV-HuBERT outperforms the former best audiovisual speech recognition system using one-tenth of the labeled data – making it potentially useful for languages with little audio data. Training on 433 hours of TED Talks, AV-HuBERT’s word error rate (WER), a measure of speech recognition performance, was 28.6%.

Researchers develop first fully 3D-printed, flexible OLED display

Researchers have used a customized printer to fully 3D print a flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display. The team combined two different modes of printing to print the six device layers that resulted in a fully 3D-printed, flexible organic light-emitting diode display. The electrodes, interconnects, insulation, and encapsulation were all extrusion printed, while the active layers were spray printed using the same 3D printer at room temperature. The prototype was about 1.5 inches on each side and had 64 pixels. Every pixel worked and displayed light. “The device exhibited a relatively stable emission over the 2,000 bending cycles.”

Science News

Chemists use DNA to build the world’s tiniest antenna

Researchers have created a nanoantenna to monitor the motions of proteins. The device is a new method to monitor the structural change of proteins over time – and may go a long way to helping scientists better understand natural and human-designed nanotechnologies. “Like a two-way radio that can both receive and transmit radio waves, the fluorescent nanoantenna receives light in one colour, or wavelength, and depending on the protein movement it senses, then transmits light back in another colour, which we can detect.” Fluorescent nanoantennas open many exciting avenues in biochemistry and nanotechnology.

How a pig heart was transplanted into a human for the first time

For the first time, a human has been given a transplant of a pig’s heart. The donated heart came from a pig developed by US firm Revivicor. In total, the animal had 10 genes modified. Four of those were inactivated, including one that causes an aggressive immune response and one that would otherwise cause the pig’s heart to continue growing after transplant into a human body. To further increase the chances of acceptance, the donor pig had six human genes inserted into its genome. If he is successfully taken off the bypass machine and continues to stay well, it could open the door to such transplants for a growing pool of other people

Business News

Take-Two is acquiring mobile game giant Zynga for $12.7 billion

PC gaming Giant Take-Two has announced that it’s making a big move into mobile gaming with the acquisition of Zynga for a total price of approximately $12.7 billion. Take-Two said that the deal will result in $6.1 billion worth of 12-month pro-forma net bookings, meaning it will become one of the largest gaming companies in the world. “This strategic combination brings together our best-in-class console and PC franchises, with a market-leading, diversified mobile publishing platform that has a rich history of innovation and creativity.” The deal will also help Take-Two save about $100 million annually after two years.

Aptiv to bulk up software offerings with $4.3 bln Wind River deal

Auto parts maker Aptiv said it would buy software developer Wind River for $4.3 billion in cash to bolster its offerings as the auto industry revs up spending on self-driving and electrification. The deal, Aptiv’s biggest since it was spun off from Delphi Technologies in 2017, will also help it capitalize on the larger shift to automation thanks to Wind River’s multi-sector clientele. Using Wind River’s software will allow Aptiv to introduce new products “faster and more cost effectively.” Aptiv battled supply chain problems for much of 2021 but demand for its automated driving systems has been a bright spot.

Miscellaneous News

Schools must allow children leave during religion class, says Atheist Ireland

The UN must raise the issue of religious discrimination Irish schools with the Dublin Government, Atheist Ireland has said. “Ireland is no longer a Catholic country. We are now a pluralist country with Catholic laws that we are gradually dismantling. The most important next step is removing the anachronistic control that the Catholic Church has over the education of our children.” It also pointed out that “multi-denominational schools are still religious schools. They do not respect the freedom of conscience of atheist families.” What was needed, it said, were “non-denominational schools, which treat everyone equally and do not promote either religion or atheism”.

Magawa, the landmine-sniffing hero rat, dies aged eight

Magawa, the famous mine-clearing rat who was awarded a gold medal for his heroism, has died at the age of eight. In a five-year career, the rodent sniffed out over 100 landmines and other explosives in Cambodia. Trained to detect a chemical compound within the explosives, Magawa cleared more than 141,000 square metres of land – the equivalent of 20 football pitches. Magawa was capable of searching a field the size of a tennis court in just 20 minutes – something that would take a person with a metal detector between one and four days. In 2020, Magawa was awarded the PDSA Gold Medal for his “life-saving devotion to duty”.

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