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Everything from virtual reality and lasers to mobile apps are helping create new opportunities in the medical world - and some of those technologies were recently demonstrated at the Digital Health Summer Summit at the UCSF Medical Center.
UCSF wants to embrace possible disruptive technologies, such as a virtual reality tour of your own brain, or testing an app that mixes big data with 3D images. It will take significantly more time to work out possible bugs, but the use of mobile technologies, augmented reality and VR in the operating room in the past, so it will be a topic of discussion again in the future.
"We have people here on the front lines doing tremendously innovative things," said Dr. Aenor Sawyer, a UCSF Medical Center leader in digital health innovation, while speaking to attendees. "We hope to be part of the wave disrupting health care."
Screenwriter and director Alex Garland, the mastermind behind Ex-Machina, recently answered questions regarding artificial intelligence. Of particular interest was when Garland spoke regarding sentient and non-sentient technology - sentient is a term used to describe the ability to perceive or feel things.
When asked about the idea that non-sentient technology has the capacity for good or danger, he offered the following thoughts:
"No. It wouldn't be capable of good or evil in that way, because it is not sentient," Garland said during a recent conference call. " And [whether] they have a good or evil aspect [...] would be defined by the humans, the sentient things that are defining it, and controlling it and using it, essentially. [... Our] whole system of right and meaning [...] behind intention and in our action is based on [being] sentient."
The US Department of Defense has reached agreements with aeronautics company Malloy Aeronautics and defense contractor SURVICE Engineering to research hoverbikes.
It looks like the US Army Research Laboratory wants to help develop the Hoverbike, which could be used as a reconnaissance tool on the battlefield. The current test model weighs about 600 pounds and is around the equivalent of a small car - and while it can go up to 92 mph, it has only been used while tied to the ground.
The second-generation model can support a rider up to 220 pounds.
NASA wants to launch a mission to Jupier's moon Europa, as it seems like the most logical place in the Earth's solar system able to support life. Beneath Europa's icy surface, researchers believe they will be able to find liquid oceans.
Despite being about half the size of our planet's moon, some scientists estimate there could be twice as much water as the Earth has. Based on the NASA Galileo Mission that studied Jupiter in the late 1990s, it would appear Europa has all the necessary ingredients for life: plenty of salt water, a rocky sea floor, and tidal heating that contribute necessary energy and chemistry.
If everything goes according to plan, NASA wants to launch a spacecraft sometime in the 2020s, which would take the several year journey. Orbiting the entire planet of Jupiter every two weeks, NASA researchers would have plenty of chances to capture data about Europa.
NASA and General Motors are testing its humanoid robot, dubbed the Robonaut, aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
The Robonaut was designed so it can complete simple and repetitive tasks that allow astronauts to take care of other action items. Specifically, NASA hopes the Robonaut is able to reduce the number of dangerous tasks that the ISS must complete.
Researchers are curious about how the Robonaut can survive in a minimal gravity environment. If it does well, future editions could be used on missions outside the ISS.
The US military wants to create solutions to identify and engage enemy drones, as new technologies allow warfare to evolve and change at a significant rate. Future wars will likely rely on drones and robots, with a lot of attention dedicated towards small drones.
The US Navy is currently working with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, while the Naval Air Station Patuxent River has a research agreement with the University of Maryland. Johns Hopkins is helping create a drone defense system, and the University of Maryland wants to more accurately identify drones.
"These things are in everybody's hands," said Conrad Grant, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins physics laboratory. Consumers can purchase small drones for a few hundred dollars, leading the way to anyone being able to carry out suspicious activities against the police or military.
SoftBank publicly launched its Pepper humanoid robot on Saturday, and 1,000 units sold in just one minute. Each robot costs around $1,600 and a support plan for about $120 includes app store access and cloud voice-recognition software.
Pepper can impressively develop its own personality and can detect human emotions. SoftBank designed the humanoid robot so it can remember faces, along with being able to pick up speech patterns.
The company said it planned on manufacturing 1,000 Pepper units per month, but after selling out so quickly, it'll be curious to see if SoftBank wants to accelerate its plans. There is such high interest in Pepper, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son says partners told the company they are willing to sell the robot at a loss, if need be, over the next four years.
Forget news that North Korea has landed a man on the sun, the reclusive country claims it has done something to benefit mankind. North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un, says his country has successfully cured AIDS, Ebola, SARS and MERS using a single "miracle drug."
The Korean Central News Agency of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea made the announcement at the same time South Korea is facing a growing number of MERS cases. However, using the Kumdang-2 drug, which North Korea says is injectable, could also be used to help treat "a number of cancers."
"The researchers insert rare Earth elements (REE) into insam (ginseng) by applying the micro-elementary fertilizers of REE to the fields of insam," said Dr. Jon Sung Hun, in a statement to the KCNR. "The injection is made of extracts from those complex compounds. As a strong immune-activator, the injection has been recognized to prevent different malignant epidemics."
SoftBank will begin selling its Pepper humanoid robot in Japan on Saturday, with each unit available for $1,600. It'll be possible to rent a Pepper unit for about $12 per hour, in an effort to draw attention from the public. The company expects to manufacture around 1,000 robots per month, with sales in the US and Europe opening in 2016.
Along with the robot, SoftBank will include a support plan for around $120 per month, providing access to an app store and voice-recognition software. Interested customers can expect around 100 apps at launch, with additional software currently in development.
The robot is able to remember faces identify human emotions, and could be programmed to spot speech functions.
Did the United States really land on the moon? Well, it looks like that's a topic Russian Investigative Commission spokesman Vladimir Markin thinks should be investigated.
In his op-ed, Markin begins speaking about FIFA corruption, and somehow eventually finds his way to discussing the Apollo missions:
"We are not contending that they did not fly [to the moon], and simply made a film about it. But all of those scientific - or perhaps cultural - artifacts are part of the legacy of humanity, and their disappearance without a trace is our common loss. An investigation will reveal what happened," Markin said in a published column for the Izvestia newspaper.