Newly surfaced Microsoft patent filings describe a system for deriving and predicting “overall quality scores” for meetings using data such as body language, facial expressions, room temperature, time of day, and number of people in the meeting. The system uses cameras, sensors, and software tools to determine “how much a participant contributes to a meeting vs performing other tasks.” The “meeting insight computing system” would then predict the likelihood that a group will hold a high-quality meeting. It would flag potential challenges when an organizer is setting the meeting up, and recommend alternative venues, times, or people to include.
Choosing the right shape will be vital for your robot’s ability to traverse a particular terrain. But now an MIT-developed system makes it possible to simulate potential forms and determine which design works best. You start by telling the system, called RoboGrammar, which robot parts are lying around your shop — wheels, joints, etc. You also tell it what terrain your robot will need to navigate. And RoboGrammar does the rest, generating an optimized structure and control program for your robot. The neural network algorithm iteratively samples and evaluates sets of robots, and it learns which designs tend to work better for a given task.
A team has found a protein known as TRPC1 responds to weak oscillating magnetic fields. Such a response is normally activated when the body exercises. The researchers found that the muscle cells grew more slowly when shielded from all environmental magnetic fields. The study provides evidence that TRPC1 serves as a biological antenna to surrounding magnetic fields to modulate human physiology, particularly when targeted for muscle health. “The use of pulsed magnetic fields to simulate some of the effects of exercise will greatly benefit patients with muscle injury, stroke, and frailty as a result of advanced age.”
Nanoparticles struggle to get past the immune system’s first line of defense: proteins in the blood serum that tag potential invaders. Because of this, only about 1 percent of nanoparticles reach their intended target. Researchers have now developed an ionic forcefield that prevents proteins from binding to and tagging nanoparticles. In mouse experiments, nanoparticles coated with the ionic liquid survived significantly longer in the body than uncoated particles and, surprisingly, 50 percent of the nanoparticles made it to the lungs. It’s the first time that ionic liquids have been used to protect nanoparticles in the blood stream.
Under Armour announced the launch of the Curry Brand with NBA star Stephen Curry in a bid to reach younger consumers and compete with Nike and its Jordan Brand. Nike has maintained its No. 1 spot as the favorite apparel brand among teens for a decad. And for a year now, Under Armour has been No. 1 on a list of brands “no longer worn” by male teens surveyed by Piper Sandler. Part of the Curry Brand’s mission is to make sure that kids have more access to sports, particularly in lower-income households. They cited a decline in youth participation that has been compounded by the pandemic, as a factor in their decision to focus on this cause.
Two of the world’s premier financial information providers are combining. S&P Global is buying IHS Markit for $44 billion in stock. S&P Global is one of the leading providers of credit ratings, analytics and indexes used to assess the global financial markets. IHS Markit offers analytics and economic measures, particularly the surveys of purchasing managers in different nations around the globe that are closely watched by economists. The deal shows the growing importance and value of financial data firms to global financial markets. It is the largest announced this year and expected to close in the second half of next year.
Australia demanded an apology after a senior Chinese official posted a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife with blood on it to the throat of an Afghan child, calling it “truly repugnant” and demanding it be taken down. Prime Minister Scott Morrison called a media briefing to condemn the posting of the image, marking another downturn in deteriorating relations between the two countries. Australia has told 13 special forces soldiers they face dismissal in relation to an independent report on alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of homes in Scotland will soon become the first in the world to use 100% green hydrogen to heat their properties and cook their meals as part of a new trial that could help households across the country replace fossil fuel gas. Some 300 homes in Fife will be fitted with free hydrogen boilers, heaters and cooking appliances to be used for more than four years in the largest test of whether zero carbon hydrogen, made using renewable energy and water, could help meet Britain’s climate goals. They will begin to receive green gas from the end of 2022, at no extra charge.