ScienceDaily: Technology - October 16, 2023
Top technology research news
To examine the global state of AI ethics, a team of researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of global guidelines for AI use. The researchers found that while most of the guidelines valued Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability, very few valued Truthfulness, Intellectual Property, or Children's Rights. Additionally, most of the guidelines described ethical principles and values without proposing practical methods for implementing them, and without pushing for legally binding regulation.
In a new breakthrough, researchers have used a novel technique to confirm a previously undetected physics phenomenon that could be used to improve data storage in the next generation of computer devices.
Scientists have developed an innovative catalyst that achieves a significantly lower carbon footprint, paving the way for greener chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing processes.
Thymus, a small and relatively unknown organ, may play a bigger role in the immune system of adults than was previously believed. With age, the glandular tissue in the thymus is replaced by fat, but, according to a new study, the rate at which this happens is linked to sex, age and lifestyle factors. These findings also indicate that the appearance of the thymus reflects the ageing of the immune system.
New pharmaceuticals, cleaner fuels, biodegradable plastics: in order to meet society's needs, chemists have to develop new synthesis methods to obtain new products that do not exist in their natural state. A research group has discovered how to use an external electric field to control and accelerate a chemical reaction, like a 'switch'. This work could have a considerable impact on the development of new molecules, enabling not only more environmentally friendly synthesis, but also very simple external control of a chemical reaction.
Research reveals that recycling post-use plastic through pyrolysis can reduce GHG emissions by 18-23%. Approach can potentially enhance sustainability by minimizing waste and fossil resource reliance.
Physicists have shown that simulating models of hypothetical time travel can solve experimental problems that appear impossible to solve using standard physics.
The amount of power a microswimmer needs to move can now be determined more easily. Scientists developed a general theorem to calculate the minimal energy required for propulsion. These insights allow a profound understanding for practical applications, such as targeted transport of molecules and substrates.
A new study found that the benefits of car preheating for both fuel economy and emissions are minimal. The researchers focused on vehicle fuel consumption and emissions under cold winter conditions. Of particular interest were cold start emissions and their relation to preheating.
The synovium is a membrane-like structure that lines the knee joint and helps to keep the joint happy and healthy, mainly by producing and maintaining synovial fluid. Inflammation of this tissue is implicated in the onset and progression of arthritic diseases such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Therefore, treatments that target the synovium are promising in treating these diseases. However, we need better models in the laboratory that allow us to find and test new treatments. We have developed an organ-on-a-chip based model of the human synovium, and its associated vasculature, to address this need.
In a surprising new study, researchers have found that the electron beam radiation that they previously thought degraded crystals can actually repair cracks in these nanostructures. The groundbreaking discovery provides a new pathway to create more perfect crystal nanostructures, a process that is critical to improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of materials that are used in virtually all electronic devices we use every day.
Quantum computers promise to reach speeds and efficiencies impossible for even the fastest supercomputers of today. Yet the technology hasn't seen much scale-up and commercialization largely due to its inability to self-correct. Quantum computers, unlike classical ones, cannot correct errors by copying encoded data over and over. Scientists had to find another way. Now, a new paper in Nature illustrates a Harvard quantum computing platform's potential to solve the longstanding problem known as quantum error correction.
A research team has succeeded in developing a cutting-edge display using transfer-printing techniques, propelling the field of multifunctional displays into new realms of possibility.
Researchers have long been exploring the effect of using tailored laser drives to manipulate the properties of quantum materials away from equilibrium. One of the most striking demonstrations of these physics has been in unconventional superconductors, where signatures of enhanced electronic coherences and super-transport have been documented in the resulting non-equilibrium states. However, these phenomena have not yet been systematically studied or optimized, primarily due to the complexity of the experiments. Technological applications are therefore still far removed from reality. In a recent experiment, this same group of researchers discovered a far more efficient way to create a previously observed metastable, superconducting-like state in K3C60 using laser light.
Engineers have developed a new nanoelectronic device that can perform accurate machine-learning classification tasks in the most energy-efficient manner yet. Using 100-fold less energy than current technologies, the device can crunch large amounts of data and perform artificial intelligence (AI) tasks in real time without beaming data to the cloud for analysis. With its tiny footprint, ultra-low power consumption and lack of lag time to receive analyses, the device is ideal for direct incorporation into wearable electronics for real-time data processing and near-instant diagnostics.
Lithium–sulfur batteries (LSBs) offer a higher energy storage potential. However, issues like formation of lithium polysulfides and lithium dendrites lead to capacity loss and raise safety concerns. Now, researchers have developed a graphene separator embedded with platinum-doped gold nanoclusters, which enhance lithium-ion transport and facilitate redox reactions. This breakthrough addresses the long-standing issues associated with LSBs, setting the stage for their commercialization.
Researchers developed a nanostructured light diffuser that provides balanced lighting by diffracting blue and red light, and can be cleaned by simple rinsing with water. The diffuser consists of cheap materials and can be shaped with common tools. A protective glass coating maintains the diffuser's optical performance yet adds durability. This work might improve the visual performance of everyday lighting displays.
Researchers have designed an algorithm that can intercept a man-in-the-middle (MitM) cyberattack on an unmanned military robot and shut it down in seconds. The algorithm, tested in real time, achieved a 99% success rate.
One of the greatest strengths of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is its ability to give astronomers detailed views of areas where new stars are being born. The latest example, showcased here in a new image from Webb's Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), is NGC 346 -- the brightest and largest star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
Transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) semiconductors are special materials that have long fascinated researchers with their unique properties. For one, they are flat, one-atom-thick two-dimensional (2D) materials similar to that of graphene. They are compounds that contain different combinations of the transition metal group (e.g., molybdenum, tungsten) and chalcogen elements (e.g., sulfur, selenium, tellurium).
By demonstrating that spaceflight doesn’t adversely affect the magnetism of moon rocks, researchers underscore the exciting potential of studying the magnetic histories stored in these samples.
Scientists have developed a technique called 'Time-dependent Stochastic Parameter Shift' in the realm of quantum computing and quantum machine learning. This breakthrough method revolutionizes the estimation of gradients or derivatives of functions, a crucial step in many computational tasks.
It is now apparent that the mass-produced artefacts of technology in our increasingly densely populated world – whether electronic devices, cars, batteries, phones, household appliances, or industrial robots – are increasingly at odds with the sustainable bounded ecosystems achieved by living organisms based on cells over millions of years. Cells provide organisms with soft and sustainable environmental interactions with complete recycling of material components, except in a few notable cases like the creation of oxygen in the atmosphere, and of the fossil fuel reserves of oil and coal (as a result of missing biocatalysts). However, the fantastic information content of biological cells (gigabits of information in DNA alone) and the complexities of protein biochemistry for metabolism seem to place a cellular approach well beyond the current capabilities of technology, and prevent the development of intrinsically sustainable technology.
Because metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) — highly porous metal complexes — are so structurally and chemically diverse, they could be used for many applications, such as drug delivery and environmental clean-up. But researchers still need to get a better understanding of how they function, especially when embedded in polymers. Researchers have now developed and characterized nitric oxide (NO)-storing MOFs embedded in a thin film with novel antibacterial potential.
Artificial intelligence, AI, which finds patterns in complex biological data could eventually contribute to the development of individually tailored healthcare. Researchers have developed an AI-based method applicable to various medical and biological issues. Their models can for instance accurately estimate people's chronological age and determine whether they have been smokers or not.
Researchers have developed an easy-to-use optical chip that can configure itself to achieve various functions. The positive real-valued matrix computation they have achieved gives the chip the potential to be used in applications requiring optical neural networks.
A chance social media post by an eagle-eyed amateur astronomer sparked the discovery of an explosive collision between two giant planets, which crashed into each other in a distant space system 1,800 light years away from planet Earth.
What type of brain tumor does this patient have? AI technology helps to determine this as early as during surgery, within 1.5 hours. This process normally takes a week. The new technology allows neurosurgeons to adjust their surgical strategies on the spot.
Researchers have demonstrated a type of quantum eraser. The physicists show that they can pinpoint and correct for mistakes in quantum computing systems known as 'erasure' errors.
Leonardo da Vinci is renowned to this day for innovations in fields across the arts and sciences. Now, new analyses show that his taste for experimentation extended even to the base layers underneath his paintings. Surprisingly, samples from both the 'Mona Lisa' and the 'Last Supper' suggest that he experimented with lead(II) oxide, causing a rare compound called plumbonacrite to form below his artworks.
Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are an astronomical mystery, with their exact cause and origins still unconfirmed. These intense bursts of radio energy are invisible to the human eye, but show up brightly on radio telescopes. Previous studies have noted broad similarities between the energy distribution of repeat FRBs, and that of earthquakes and solar flares. However, new research has looked at the time and energy of FRBs and found distinct differences between FRBs and solar flares, but several notable similarities between FRBs and earthquakes. This supports the theory that FRBs are caused by 'starquakes' on the surface of neutron stars. This discovery could help us better understand earthquakes, the behavior of high-density matter and aspects of nuclear physics.
Researchers created and used complex neural networks to recreate speech from brain recordings, and then used that recreation to analyze the processes that drive human speech.
Research finds that experiencing days in which the temperature exceeds previous highs for that time of year affects people’s perception of weather trends.
Though scientists have long known through observational data that the Milky Way is warped and its edges are flared like a skirt, no one could explain why. Now, astronomers have performed the first calculations that fully explain this phenomenon, with compelling evidence pointing to the Milky Way's envelopment in an off-kilter halo of dark matter.
Scientists developed a microwave microstrip line planar resonator sensor tool to detect water adulteration in honey. The tool is compact, cost-effective, and easily fabricated. The microstrip line resonator sensor is fabricated on a dielectric substrate, which is an insulator that can efficiently support electrostatic fields, such as ceramic or glass. The team tested honey samples with varying water content and found that the sensor's resonance frequency consistently decreases with increased added water content.
Artificial intelligence (AI) comes with promises of helping coders code faster, drivers drive safer, and making daily tasks less time-consuming. But a recent study demonstrates that the tool, when adopted widely, could have a large energy footprint, which in the future may exceed the power demands of some countries.
Researchers describe an acoustic meta-surface that uses pingpong balls, with small holes punctured in each, as Helmholtz resonators to create inexpensive but effective low-frequency sound insulation. The coupling between two resonators led to two resonance frequencies, and more resonant frequencies meant the device was able to absorb more sound. At the success of two coupled resonators, the researchers added more, until their device resembled a square sheet of punctured pingpong balls, multiplying the number of resonant frequencies that could be absorbed.
Discharged in large quantities by textile, cosmetic, ink, paper and other manufacturers, dyes carry high-toxicity and can bring potential carcinogens to wastewater. It’s a major concern for wastewater treatment — but researchers may have found a solution, using a tiny nanofilament.
Neuroengineers designed the first self-rectifying magnetoelectric material and showed it can not only precisely stimulate neurons remotely but also reconnect a broken sciatic nerve in a rat model.
An unexpectedly high number of young stars has been identified in the direct vicinity of a supermassive black hole and water ice has been detected at the center of our galaxy.
A team found a way to deliver clear pictures of anyone's internal anatomy, no matter their skin tone.
Researchers took a novel approach to explore the way microstructure emerges in a 3D-printed metal alloy: They bombarded it with X-rays while the material was being printed.
New research offers an improved strategy for social media communications during wildfires and contradicting existing crisis communication theory.
Observations during two flybys by the Mio spacecraft as part of the BepiColombo International Mercury Exploration Project have revealed that chorus waves occur quite locally in the dawn sector of Mercury. Mercury's magnetic field is about 1% of that of Earth, and it was unclear whether chorus waves would be generated like on Earth. The present study reveals that the chorus waves are the driving source of Mercury's X-ray auroras, whose mechanism was not understood.
Understanding the interplay between consciousness, energy and matter could bring important insights to our fundamental understanding of reality.
Engineers developed electronic 'stickers' that measure the force exerted by one object upon another. The force stickers are wireless, run without batteries and fit in tight spaces, making them versatile for a wide range of applications, from surgical robots to smart implants and inventory tracking.
Scientists have developed a new modular steel buttress dam system designed to resolve energy storage issues hindering the integration of renewable resources into the energy mix. The new modular steel buttress dam system facilitates the rapid construction of paired reservoir systems for grid-scale energy storage and generation using closed-loop pumped storage hydropower, cutting dam construction costs by one-third and reducing construction schedules by half.
An international team of researchers has published the first harmonized exposure protocol for ecotoxicity testing of microplastics and nanoplastics.
The interaction between solid matter and positron (the antiparticle of electron) has provided important insights across a variety of disciplines, including atomic physics, materials science, elementary particle physics, and medicine. However, the experimental generation of positronic compounds by bombardment of positrons onto surfaces has proved challenging. In a new study, researchers detect molecular ion desorption from the surface of an ionic crystal when bombarded with positrons and propose a model based on positronic compound generation to explain their results.
Models built on machine learning in health care can be victims of their own success, according to researchers. Their study assessed the impact of implementing predictive models on the subsequent performance of those and other models.
Scientists have developed new tools, based on AI language models, that can characterize subtle signatures in the speech of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.