Robot senses 🤖 Airbourne DNA 🧬 Job growth 📈!

Technology News

A robot that senses hidden objects

Researchers have developed a robot that uses radio waves, which can pass through walls, to sense occluded objects. The robot, called RF-Grasp, combines this powerful sensing with more traditional computer vision to locate and grasp items that might otherwise be blocked from view. RF Grasp uses both a camera and an RF reader to find and grab tagged objects, even when they’re fully blocked from the camera’s view. “The robot has to decide, at each point in time, which of these streams is more important to think about.” As it gets closer and even starts manipulating the item, vision, which provides much finer detail than RF, dominates the robot’s decision making.

Scientists create online games to show risks of AI emotion recognition

A team of researchers have created a website – – where the public can try out emotion recognition systems through their own computer cameras. One game focuses on pulling faces to trick the technology, while another explores how such systems can struggle to read facial expressions in context. While emotion recognition technology might have some potential benefits these must be weighed against concerns around accuracy, racial bias, as well as whether the technology was even the right tool for a particular job. “We need to be having a much wider public conversation and deliberation about these technologies.”

Science News

DNA can be collected from air, scientists show for first time

Scientists have shown for the first time that DNA can be collected from the air. They first took air samples from a room which had housed naked mole-rats, and then used existing techniques to check for DNA sequences within the sampled air. Using this approach, the research team showed that airDNA sampling could successfully detect mole rat DNA within the animals’ housing and from the room itself. They also found human DNA in the air samples. “What started off as an attempt to see if this approach could be used for ecological assessments has now become much more, with potential applications in forensics, anthropology and even medicine.

NUS researchers harness AI to identify cancer cells by their acidity

A research team has used AI to determine whether a single cell is healthy or cancerous by analysing its pH. The method relies on applying bromothymol blue – a pH-sensitive dye that changes colour according to the level of acidity of a solution – onto living cells. Each type of cell displays its own ‘fingerprint’ which consists of its own unique combination of red, green, and blue (RGB) components when illuminated. Cancer cells have an altered pH compared to healthy cells and this changes their RGB fingerprint. Each cancer test can be completed in under 35 minutes, and single cells can be classified with an accuracy rate of more than 95 per cent.

Business News

Dow climbs 350 points to a record high, S&P 500 jumps more than 1%

U.S. stocks climbed to record highs as a strong bounce in U.S. job growth last month raised expectations for a swift economic recovery from the pandemic. The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased by 916,000 in March, the highest since August 2020, while the unemployment rate fell to 6%. “The only thing that could stand in the way would be another shutdown of the economy to contain new Covid-19 strains or a policy mistake by the Fed. Neither appear imminent.” The stock market is building on its recent strength after President Joe Biden introduced his multitrillion-dollar infrastructure proposal.

Supreme Court hands Google a victory in a multibillion-dollar case against Oracle

The Supreme Court has handed Google a win in a decade-old case in software development, holding that the technology giant did not commit copyright infringement against Oracle when it copied snippets of programming language to build its Android operating system. A world where Oracle was allowed to enforce a copyright claim “would risk harm to the public” because it would establish Oracle as a new gatekeeper for software code others wanted to use. “The result could well prove highly profitable to Oracle (or other firms holding a copyright in computer interfaces) … [but] the lock would interfere with, not further, copyright’s basic creativity objectives.”

Miscellaneous News

Satellite images show huge Russian military buildup in the Arctic

Russia is amassing unprecedented military might in the Arctic and testing its newest weapons in a region freshly ice-free due to the climate emergency, in a bid to secure its northern coast and open up a key shipping route from Asia to Europe. The Russian hardware in the High North area includes bombers and MiG31BM jets, and new radar systems close to the coast of Alaska. Weapons experts and Western officials have expressed particular concern about one Russian ‘super-weapon,’ the Poseidon 2M39 torpedo. This unmanned stealth torpedo is powered by a nuclear reactor and intended by Russian designers to sneak past coastal defenses on the sea floor.

Ancient mummies are paraded through the streets of Cairo

Ancient mummies of Egypt’s royal pharaohs emerged from their resting places and were paraded through the streets of Cairoto a new home. The mummies of Ramses the Great and 21 others were part of “The Pharaoh’s Golden Parade,” a highly anticipated event organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The parade route took place between the Egyptian Museum to their new home, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. The parade was saluted by 21-gun salutes and joined by a military band. The mummies were transported on special decorated vehicles with their names inscribed in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs as well as in Arabic.

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