Tech Friday (30 Oct – 5 Nov 2020)

Weekly Tech News related to AI Teachers, Fake News Detectors, Disney’s New Skinless Robot, Underwater Navigation Systems, Arm-Based MacBook Air and Pro, Flexible and Highly Reliable Sensor, Lord Gabe Sending a Gnome to Space, Predicting the Carbon Footprint of Algorithms, AI Confusing Bald Head as Soccer Ball, Cockroaches and Lizards Inspire New Robot, Ink-Jet Printed Graphene, Luminescent Light for Future Home Lighting


Note: None of the news bits given here are written by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. AI Teachers Must Be Effective and Communicate Well to Be Accepted

Source: University of Central Florida 30 Oct 2020

The increase in online education has allowed a new type of teacher to emerge ­— an artificial one. But just how accepting students are of an artificial instructor remains to be seen. That’s why researchers are working to examine student perceptions of artificial intelligence-based teachers.

Original written by: Robert Wells

2. Tricking Fake News Detectors with Malicious User Comments

Source: Penn State 30 Oct 2020

Fake news detectors, which have been deployed by social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to add warnings to misleading posts, have traditionally flagged online articles as false based on the story’s headline or content. However, recent approaches have considered other signals, such as network features and user engagements, in addition to the story’s content to boost their accuracies.

Original written by: Jordan Ford

3. Disney’s New Skinless Robot Can Blink Like A Human Because Why Not

Source: The Verge 1 Nov 2020

First reported by Gizmodo, the new Disney robot can imitate human facial movements, specifically blinking and subtle head movements. A sensor in its chest area alerts the robot when to turn and face a person in front of it, and its eye movements shift from direct eye contact to the rapid eye movements known as saccades. It also moves slightly up and down to mimic breathing.


Original written by: Kim Lyons

4. An Underwater Navigation System Powered by Sound

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2 Nov 2020

Researchers have built a battery-free pinpointing system dubbed Underwater Backscatter Localization (UBL). Rather than emitting its own acoustic signals, UBL reflects modulated signals from its environment. That provides researchers with positioning information, at net-zero energy. Though the technology is still developing, UBL could someday become a key tool for marine conservationists, climate scientists, and the U.S. Navy.

Original written by: Dan Ackerman

5. Apple Will Reportedly Launch Arm-Based MacBook Air and Pro Laptops At ‘One More Thing’ Event

Source: The Verge 2 Nov 2020

Apple’s upcoming “One More Thing” event, announced and scheduled for November 10th, will be a major break with tradition in more ways than one: it will be the first time the company unveils an Apple laptop featuring its own custom Arm-based CPUs. Apple plans to debut three new laptops next week, that ditch Intel processors.

Original written by: Nick Statt

6. New Flexible and Highly Reliable Sensor

Source: National University of Singapore 2 Nov 2020

Real-time health monitoring and sensing abilities of robots require soft electronics, but a challenge of using such materials lies in their reliability. Unlike rigid devices, being elastic and pliable makes their performance less repeatable. The variation in reliability is known as hysteresis. Guided by the theory of contact mechanics, a team of researchers came up with a new sensor material that has significantly less hysteresis. This ability enables more accurate wearable health technology and robotic sensing.

7. Valve’s Gabe Newell Is Sending A Gnome to Space

Source: The Verge 2 Nov 2020

Gabe Newell, president of Valve, the video game company behind the Half-Life series and game marketplace Steam, is thanking the country of New Zealand for its hospitality by launching a gnome into space with aerospace company Rocket Lab in mid-November. Newell decided to stay in New Zealand at the start of the pandemic and is donating a dollar to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Starship Children’s Hospital for every viewer who watches the satellite launch live stream or the online recording within 24 hours of launch.

Original written by: Ian Carlos Campbell

8. Students Develop Tool to Predict the Carbon Footprint of Algorithms

Source: University of Copenhagen 3 Nov 2020

Within the scientific community, it is estimated that artificial intelligence — otherwise meant to serve as a means to effectively combat climate change — will become one of the most egregious CO2 culprits should current trends continue. To raise awareness about the challenge, students have launched a tool to calculate the carbon footprint of developing deep learning models.

9. AI Camera Operator Repeatedly Confuses Bald Head for Soccer Ball During Live Stream

Source: The Verge 3 Nov 2020

When the pandemic stopped fans attending matches, a Scottish soccer team Inverness Caledonian, announced it would live stream its games, using an automatic camera system with “in-built, AI, ball-tracking technology” to make sure people always get the best view of the action. But, during a recent live stream of matches, the AI camera operator repeatedly confused a linesman’s bald head for the soccer ball itself.

Original written by: James Vincent

10. Cockroaches and Lizards Inspire New Robot

Source: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev 3 Nov 2020

A new high-speed amphibious robot inspired by the movements of cockroaches and lizards, developed by researchers, swims and runs on top of water at high speeds and crawls on difficult terrain. It is a wheeled robot fitted with four propellers underneath whose axes can be tilted using the sprawl mechanism.

11. 3D Print Experts Discover How to Make Tomorrow’s Tech Using Ink-Jet Printed Graphene

Source: University of Nottingham 4 Nov 2020

Researchers have cracked the conundrum of how to use inks to 3D-print novel electronic devices with useful properties, such as an ability to convert light into electricity. The study shows that it is possible to jet inks, containing tiny flakes of 2D materials such as graphene, to build up and mesh together with the different layers of these complex, customised structures.

12. Luminescent Wood Could Light Up Homes of The Future

Source: American Chemical Society 4 Nov 2020

The right indoor lighting can help set the mood, from a soft romantic glow to bright, stimulating colours. But some materials used for lighting, such as plastics, are not eco-friendly. Now, researchers have developed a bio-based, luminescent, water-resistant wood film that could someday be used as cover panels for lamps, displays and laser devices.


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