MIT’s Polaris Hopes To Speed Up Your Browsing Online

Sadly the experience on some websites these days can very quickly be summed up by the word “loading”. We like our pictures, our videos and some even like ads, the problem being is that everything you view on the internet has to come from somewhere and that is where the loading comes in. MIT and Harvard want to give you a hand and help speed up your browsing online.

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Harvard have gone and created a framework that focuses on those things you have to download to view your favourite sites. With everything from images to Javascript downloaded to your computer, the new project, titled Polaris will help download all those different features in the most efficient sequence possible, avoiding the constant pinging and server routing that comes with traditional browsing.

Polaris was in fact built using JavaScript, something which means that any browser and website can use the new system, the only requirement is that the server the sites on is running Polaris in the first place.

The plan for Polaris is to open-source the framework, meaning you could soon find it in every site and browser you use, and with it showing reductions of up to 34% in loading time on websites, you can get one more cat video in on your lunch break.

Harvard Team Developing Army of Robot Bees

A team at Harvard are working to develop an army of robot bees known as RoboBee! While that may sound a little terrifying, their reason for doing so could help save farming industries around the world as well as help save lives, and so much more!

Bees are dying off, the cause of which has been blamed on everything from pollution, to pesticides, to global warming. There are a lot of problems going on with Bees and that’s a very bad thing, as they’re a vital component for the pollination of crops. What can we do to keep these crops going? Build robot bees that can help do the work for us of course! While that in its self could be a huge benefit to food production, the team aren’t only focusing on this aspect.

The bees can be used for search and rescue in natural disaster areas, much like drones, but able to get into much smaller spaces. They can explore hazardous environments, be used for surveillance, weather and climate mapping, traffic monitoring and more. Basically, they can fly about and look at lots of things, that would be the basis of it.

Until we fix the problem that is killing off real bees, this may be one bit of tech we simply cannot live without in the future.

A Portable Blood Cleanser Being Developed by Harvard Researchers

Science and tech are compatible with each other when it comes to developing new ideas for a variety of applications. This is certainly evident in the health sector which has seen a wide scope of innovations which in turn have been implemented to save lives.

Portability is essential and Harvard researchers are actively developing a machine which can filter pathogens from the blood, this newly proposed technique could offer hope for faster and more effective treatment for sepsis. This machine is nearing the point to which it could be clinically tested on sets of human control groups, which is crucial to the operation and further development of the device.

A prototype of this device has been tested on rats under lab conditions and the results have so far been rather encouraging, below is the current understanding of this machine.

“ It has been found the device which works in a similar way to the dialysis machines already used to filter the blood of patients with kidney failure, not only efficiently removes pathogenic material from the bloodstream but also works in concert with antibiotics to prevent a harmful immune response that can lead to organ malfunction and even death”.

 The project which is being led by researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, is part of an effort by the U.S. defence department to design a portable machine for treating soldiers in the field.

Sepsis is an incredibly dangerous and life threatening condition which is triggered by an infection, there is currently no effective therapy and the disorder kills millions of people around the world every year.

This device is potentially an exciting breakthrough in the search for a treatment to sepsis, what’s more exciting and potentially revolutionary is the new device removes pathogens regardless of their identity. It does this by using a genetically engineered blood protein that can bind to more than 90 varieties of harmful microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites.

Let’s hope this machine can be successfully developed with the aim of rolling out to patients and not stocked for US defence use only. It’s exciting times to watch from afar as the boundaries of human health treatments are being pushed to a whole new technical level.

Thank you MIT and harvard.edu for providing us with this information.

 

Navigate The Complex World Economy Within Harvard’s Interactive Map

If I were to ask you to quantify the world’s economic activity and the regions which experience the biggest growth, you might say, I am not sure and what are you doing in my kitchen! But there might be an easier way thanks to Harvard University’s Owen Cornec who has devised a web-based map which allows the user to explore Earth’s economic relationships through 3D “confetti.”

Below are two screenshots of the map in action, when you first land on the Interactive Map page, it asks you to either experience a tour of the website or if you wish to skip this you can jump straight to the start to “visualize over 15 trillion dollars worth of trade”.  If you click the “Visualize”  button, you will receive the following screenshot of lots and lots of multi coloured dots being dropped onto the globe, each dot represents $100 million dollars worth of exports.   You can also view the globe by clicking on the virtual earth or you can “Select a country” to specifically view information relating to trade. 

The below screenshot is the “map view” by clicking this link you will see a flat map which might make it easier to see more data in one place, either option has the ability to utilize a “Full Screen” feature. At the bottom of the page, there is a colour coded key which illustrates trade within sectors that include Metals and also transportation along with other commodities.

This map adds a new dimension to the world’s trade while being immersive and thought-provoking, the colour scheme looks to be a giant firework party, but it’s certainly worth taking a minute to view the range of features and options available within this educational yet fun website.

Thank you harvard for providing us with this information.

Scientists Find a Way to Reveal Your Viral Past With Just a Drop of Blood

During our lifetime, we get exposed to dozens of viruses, but luckily our bodies are well equipped to deal with it. Our immune system produces antibodies to deal with foreign agents and make us well again. However, the antibodies tailored for these viruses tend to linger in our bodies prolonged periods of time.

A team of researchers from Harvard, MIT and Howard Hughes Medical Institute got a brilliant idea of making use of the above-mentioned antibodies and came up with a new method of revealing what viruses your body was exposed to. The method is called VirScan and it can reveal your entire viral history with just a drop of blood.

The method involves mixing a patient’s blood with a set of known human viruses. Each virus carries a unique protein signature that the antibodies are trained to identify and attack. This means that dropping a blood sample filled with antibodies in a pool of viruses will ‘activate’ the antibodies and tell the researchers which virus strains were targeted.

To test their theory, the researchers performed tests on 569 patients. The results revealed that, on average, we are exposed to 10 viral species, with some even being exposed to up to 84 viral species. VirScan has also proved to be a cheap testing method, allowing doctors to perform a variety of tests at once for about $25.

The researchers say that VirScan is not only about identifying your past viruses. The method can also be used for early detection of viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV, as well as give doctors more insight on some viruses we don’t quite understand yet.

Thank you Newsweek for providing us with this information

Harvard Human Rights Clinic Tells UN: “Ban Killer Robots”

A new 38-page report, written by a partnership of Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, is warning the United Nations to “ban killer robots”.

The report, entitled Mind the Gap: The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots, expresses the fear that “Fully autonomous weapons, also known as ‘killer robots,’ raise serious moral and legal concerns because they would possess the ability to select and engage their targets without meaningful human control.”

In the report, Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School deal with the concern that fully autonomous weapons will lack the sophistication to always be able to differentiate between hostile and friendly targets, or military and civilian targets, on the battlefield.

The issue is further compounded by the lack of accountability for “unlawful harm caused by fully autonomous weapons,” which, under current laws, absolves operators, commanders, programmers, manufacturers from any responsibility for the actions of such a robot.

The only solution that the report suggests is for a global ban on fully autonomous weapons, similar to the pre-emptive ban on blinding laser weapons in 1995 and the forced removal of unexploded cluster bombs initiated in 2006.

The UN will begin a week-long international meeting in Geneva next Monday that will debate the issue of autonomous weapons systems, with additions to The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons being considered.

Thank you Digital Trends for providing us with this information.

Scientist Sends an Email 5000 Miles via Telepathy

Scientists have managed to send an email from India to France, a distance of about 5000 miles, using only the force of thought (and some technology). Okay, if it really is telepathy or not is a matter of opinion. The definition of the word (from Ancient Greek) is that tele is meaning “distant” and pathos or patheia meaning affliction or experience, and telepathy is the purported transmission of information from one person to another without using any of our known sensory channels or physical interaction. So by that definition it kind of both is and isn’t.

Computers and electroencephalography (EEG) devices were involved in the experiment, so it wasn’t really direct telepathy. The distance is also somewhat uninteresting since the internet was involved and the message wasn’t very complex either. The words hola and ciao were translated into binary and mapped to the brain activity. It’s still a pretty impressive result.

In the initial test, the greeting was sent from a volunteer in Thiruvananthapuram, India to Strasbourg, France where a computer translated the message and then used electrical stimulation to implant it in the receiver’s mind. This message then appeared as flashes of light in the corner of their vision. The light sequences allow the receiver to decode the information in the message.

Enthusiastic about the first success the researchers conducted two more similar experiments. One from Spain and one from France. The second test resulted in a total error with just 15% data accuracy. The other two were however a success.

The technology was developed as part of a collaboration between the University of Barcelona and Starlab in Spain, Axilum Robotics in France and Harvard Medical School. This is said to be the first time humans have sent a message almost directly into another persons brains.

“We anticipate that computers in the not-so-distant future will interact directly with the human brain in a fluent manner, supporting both computer- and brain-to-brain communication routinely,” the study wrote.

Human-to-brain technology is gaining traction in many areas, in May German scientists showed how seven pilots used mind control to fly with astonishing accuracy. Even more amazing was what the University of Oregon researchers showed in June when they unveiled a device that claimed to be able to monitor memories in near real time to see what a person is thinking.

Thank you DailyMail for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of DailyMail.

Scientists Create Transformers-like Self-Building Robots

With all the cheap 3D printing methods out there, anyone can make anything with a little bit of imagination. This is how a few researchers from Harvard and MIT have created cheap, self-assembling complex robots that can transform from a something that looks like a sheet of paper to a fully fledged walking robot.

The scientists have said that they got the inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of origami. This, along with some children toy ideas and Transformer fan imagination, they were able to create the robots that can build themselves.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Die6iwC4Z0[/youtube]

The robots are said to be built out of hobby shop materials that cost around $100, having tiny motors and batteries power them up. With this, a paper robot is said to transform to a four-legged automaton in just four minutes.

The self-assembling robots are said to benefit space exploration missions, dangerous environments, search-and-rescue missions and much more. Sam Felton, robotics researcher at Harvard, stated that this technology could be as technology-changing as the 3D printer. Having robots which can be built in your home for as little as $100 is everyone’s geeky dream come true.

Thank you Yahoo for providing us with this information
Video courtesy of YouTube

Scientists Work Out How To 3D Print Vascular Networks

3D Printing has come a long way, from objects to food and now even human skin and meat. One of the major problems when attempting to print human meat was printing out the vascular network, meaning all the blood vessels and ventricles. However, it appears that even the latter problem has been recently solved by scientists from the University of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

The scientists have apparently solved the problem by creating a skeleton of vessels, which was then used as a basis to grow human cells around it. Once the process was complete and stable, the scientists dissolved the 3D printed material, leaving only the vascular network.

“Imagine being able to walk into a hospital and have a full organ printed – or bio-printed, as we call it – with all the cells, proteins and blood vessels in the right place, simply by pushing the ‘print’ button in your computer screen,” said Dr. Luiz Bertassoni of the University of Sydney. “While recreating little parts of tissues in the lab is something that we have already been able to do, the possibility of printing three-dimensional tissues with functional blood capillaries in the blink of an eye is a game changer.”

Building vascular networks is a big thing, but using them is even greater than imagined. It appears that the vessels are then used to transport nutrients through bioprinted tissue in order to achieve better cell differentiation and growth. Summing it all up, scientists are now able to create ‘organs’ in the lab, having the scientists believe that this will eventually lead to true organ regeneration.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of 3DPrint.com

Scientist Working On Nature Inspired Millimeter-Sized Drones

Drones are apparently not only becoming more common, but a lot smarter and smaller it seems. According to latest news, some research teams are currently looking into nature for answers in order to tackle the problems when designing new and improved drones.

From flying through narrow spaces to picking up objects, drones have plenty to learn from birds and other animals in the wild. However, the precision when looking at a flying drone depends entirely on its flight control. And where to get a better tutor than a which is born with the ability to fly.

This is the aim of some US-based groups scattered around the country. One of these groups is based in Harvard and is looking into creating a millimeter-sized drone which can manoeuvre in small, narrow and hard to reach areas. The drone at hand is reportedly inspired by flies or other winged insects, hovering in the air for extended periods of time. The team tasked with this project is hoping to gain a more detailed insight into insect population and even help in areas such as pollinating plants in the future.

Other groups such as the ones based in UNC Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins University, or the University of California, are tasked with finding a way to create drones which can handle and perceive the elements of hot and cold or rain and heavy gusts of wind. The main objective for the latter teams is to come up with a wind-proof drone, having the hawk moth as the primary source of inspiration.

Thank you Daily Digest News for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Daily Digest News