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Ajit Johnson
Cancer biologist, University of Edinburgh.
March 24, 2017 · 46 Reads

This week in science 18th to 24th march 2017

A new drug destroys breast cancer tumours in just 11 days without using chemo.

A new clinical trial demonstrated positive effects caused by the drug combination lapatinib and trastuzumab against HER2 positive breast cancer in a treatment period of just 11 days.

References: Roche

Amazon’s CEO DEMOed the world’s first manned bipedal robot.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and founder of BlueOrigin, unveiled the world’s first manned bipedal robot at the MARS conference this week. The 4-meter-tall (13-foot-tall) robot suit, called Method 2, weighs in at 1.5 tons and could be used to work in areas that are too hazardous for humans to go unprotected.

Google DeepMind build an AI that can learn nearly as fast as a human.

Deep learning machines have been generating incredible amounts of buzz in recent months. Their extensive abilities can allow them to play video games, recognize faces, and, most importantly, learn. However, these systems learn 10 times more slowly than humans, which has allowed us to keep the creeping fears of a complete artificial intelligence (AI) takeover at bay. Now, Google has developed an AI that is capable of learning almost as quickly as a human being.

Claims of this advancement in speed come from Google’s DeepMind subsidiary in London. They say that not only can their machine assimilate and act on new experiences much more quickly than previous AI models, it will soon reach human-level speeds.

References: MIT Technology Review, Neural Networks and Deep Learning

New e-tattoos lets you control your smartphone using your skin.

  • Researchers have developed SkinMarks, temporary tattoos with embedded wires and electrodes that allow users to turn their skin into a “touch screen.”
  • SkinMark tattoos have the added feature of electroluminescent, which allows the tattoos to light up under certain conditions, like when your app gets a notification.

References: New Scientist — Home, HCI — SkinMarks, CHI 2017

Scientists from Cambridge University reconstructed the face of man who died 700 years ago.

  • Researchers have reconstructed the face of a working class, 13th-century British man they have called Context 958. They were also able to draw conclusions about his life from their findings.
  • By analyzing the remains of Context 958 and others like him, forensic scientists hope to have a better understanding of the day to day lives of the working poor whose histories have been overlooked.

References: University of Cambridge, University of Cambridge

A New Zealand river is granted the same legal rights as a human to prevent pollution.

In a world-first, New Zealand’s third largest river has just been granted the same legal rights as a human being.

The new legislation essentially combines Western legal precedent with Maori mysticism. According to the Maori — a tribe of the Whanganui in the North Island who has been fighting to assert their rights over the river since the 1870s — their efforts to protect the river stems from the deep spiritual connection of the tribe to nature.

References: The Economist, The Guardian

Researchers create new LI-FI that can pass through walls and is 100X faster than WI-FI.

  • This new Li-Fi system uses harmless infrared rays to generate a more secure and stable wireless connection with speeds of up to 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 meters.
  • The system would be a dramatic improvement over traditional Wi-Fi, which typically maxes out at 300 Mbit/s, but it’s still about 5 years away from being consumer-ready.

References: Tue, TechWorld

Scientists have identified blood markers that can detect breast cancer.

Doctors may soon be able to detect and monitor a patient’s cancer with a simple blood test, reducing or eliminating the need for more invasive procedures, according to Purdue University research.

References: Science

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