News Update on Technology Adoption Research: May – 2019

Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities

We analyze technology adoption in industries wherever network externalities are important. The pattern of adoption depends on whether or not technologies are sponsored. A sponsor is associate degree entity that has property rights to the technology and therefore is willing to create investments to push it. Key findings embrace the following: (1) compatibility tends to be undersupplied by the market, however excessive standardization will occur; (2) within the absence of sponsors, the technology superior nowadays encompasses a strategic advantage and is probably going to dominate the market; (3) once one in every of 2 rival technologies is sponsored, that technology encompasses a strategic advantage and will be adopted whether or not it’s inferior; (4) once 2 competitory technologies each are sponsored, the technology that may be superior tomorrow encompasses a strategic advantage. [1]

Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development

We propose a theory of economic development during which technology adoption and barriers to such adoptions are the main target. the dimensions of those barriers differs across countries and time. The larger these barriers, the larger the investment a firm should create to adopt a additional advanced technology. The model is label to the U.S. balanced growth observations and also the postwar Japanese development miracle. For this label structure we discover that the inequality in technology adoption barriers required to account for the large determined financial gain disparity across countries isn’t incredibly large. [2]


This analysis investigated age variations in individual adoption and sustained usage of technology within the geographical point exploitation the idea of planned behavior. User reactions and technology usage behavior were studied over a 5‐month amount among 118 employees being introduced to a replacement computer code. At a pair of points of measuring, compared to older employees, younger workers’ technology usage selections were a lot of powerfully influenced by perspective toward exploitation the technology. In distinction, older employees were a lot of powerfully influenced by subjective norm and perceived activity management, though the result of subjective norm diminished over time. These findings were sturdy, even once dominant for key unsupportive variables known in previous structure behavior analysis (i.e., income, occupation, and education levels). Theoretical and sensible implications for understanding the results of aging on technology adoption and usage within the geographical point are mentioned. [3]

Beyond “implementation”: digital health innovation and service design

Digital tools have shown nice potential to reinforce health services’ capability to attain the goals of the triple aim (enhance patient expertise, improve health outcomes, and management or scale back costs), however their actual impact remains variable. during this comment, we advise that shifting from a perspective centered on “implementing” new digital tools in health care settings toward one focused on “service design” can facilitate groups execute additional productive digital technology adoption comes. we have a tendency to gift value proposition style (VPD) as a service design strategy requiring that stakeholders are savagely honest in deciding the worth of a replacement digital tool for his or her everyday work. Incorporating a perspective centered on however the worth proposition of a technology is known by every team member, and implications for his or her work routines, can facilitate project groups to higher perceive however services will be reinvented throughout technology adoption initiatives. we have a tendency to gift the easy heuristic [Tool+Team+Routine] as a reminder of the central concerns that conjure a service style initiative, ANd gift an illustrative case situation of planning the utilization of a digital care coordination platform in an actual digital technology adoption project. we have a tendency to conclude by outlining 2 vital challenges that require to be self-addressed to advance service style approaches to technology adoption in health care. [4]

An Economic Analysis of Technology Adoption Coupled With Conjunctive Use of Ground Water in Tank Command Area

This paper aims to judge the conjunctive use of surface and H2O, adoption of water management technologies and factors that influence the adoption of water management technologies within the tank command space since water inadequacy downside is changing into major concern in most of the districts in state. Dindigul district was purposively elect for the study since there are concerning three,104 tanks and thirty per cent of space was irrigated by tank to total internet area irrigated. Tank irrigation was conjointly supplemented with well (open well) irrigation (i.e. conjunctive use of surface water and H2O was taking part in vital role). easy sampling technique was used for choosing the sample farmers. Primary knowledge was collected from one hundred fifty sample farmers and multinomial logit model was used for analysis. The result disclosed that the yield was higher for farmers adopting water management technologies underneath conjunctive water use scenario. . The adopters of water management technologies had complete hyperbolic productivity and thereby the returns in rice crop were relatively high the farming expertise, financial gain from off and non-farm activities and speak to with extension agents were found to own positive and vital influence on adoption of technology. The farm size of the farmers had negative impact on adoption of technology. [5]


[1] Katz, M.L. and Shapiro, C., 1986. Technology adoption in the presence of network externalities. Journal of political economy, 94(4), pp.822-841. (Web Link)

[2] Parente, S.L. and Prescott, E.C., 1994. Barriers to technology adoption and development. Journal of political Economy, 102(2), pp.298-321. (Web Link)

[3] Morris, M.G. and Venkatesh, V., 2000. Age differences in technology adoption decisions: Implications for a changing work force. Personnel psychology, 53(2), pp.375-403. (Web Link)

[4] Beyond “implementation”: digital health innovation and service design

James Shaw, Payal Agarwal, Laura Desveaux, Daniel Cornejo Palma, Vess Stamenova, Trevor Jamieson, Rebecca Yang, R. Sacha Bhatia & Onil Bhattacharyyanpj Digital Medicinevolume 1, Article number: 48 (2018) (Web Link)

[5] Minithra, R. and Kumar, D. S. (2019) “An Economic Analysis of Technology Adoption Coupled With Conjunctive Use of Ground Water in Tank Command Area”, Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology, 29(1), pp. 1-7. doi: 10.9734/AJAEES/2019/45946. (Web Link)

Spinning the light: The world’s smallest optical gyro

Gyroscopes are devices that facilitate vehicles, drones, and wearable and hand-held electronic devices apprehend their orientation in three-dimensional house. they’re commonplace in barely regarding as of technology we tend to depend upon each day. Originally, gyroscopes were sets of nested wheels, every spinning on a unique axis. however open up a cellular phone these days, and you may notice a microelectromechanical detector (MEMS), the contemporary equivalent, that measures changes within the forces engaged on 2 identical plenty that are periodic and acquiring opposite directions. These MEMS gyroscopes are restricted in their sensitivity, thus optical gyroscopes are developed to perform the identical operate however with no moving elements and a larger degree of accuracy employing a development known as the Sagnac impact.

What is the Sagnac Effect?

The Sagnac impact, named once French scientist Georges Sagnac, is Associate in Nursing physical phenomenon nonmoving in Einstein’s theory of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. to form it, a beam of sunshine is split into 2, and therefore the twin beams travel in opposite directions on a circular pathway, then meet at the identical light-weight detector. light-weight travels at a relentless speed, thus rotating the device — and with it the pathway that the sunshine travels — causes one in every of the 2 beams to attain the detector before the opposite. With a loop on every axis of orientation, this part shift, referred to as the Sagnac impact, may be accustomed calculate orientation.

The drawback

The smallest superior optical gyroscopes out there these days are larger than a golf equipment and aren’t appropriate for several transportable applications. As optical gyroscopes are engineered smaller and smaller, thus too is that the signal that captures the Sagnac impact, that makes it additional and tougher for the gyro to sight movement. Up to now, this has prevented the miniaturisation of optical gyroscopes.

The Invention

Caltech engineers diode by Ali Hajimiri, submachine gun prof of engineering science and Medical Engineering within the Division of Engineering and bailiwick, developed a replacement optical gyro that’s five hundred times smaller than this progressive device, however they’ll sight part shifts that are thirty times smaller than those systems. The new device is delineated in a very paper revealed within the November issue of Nature Photonics.

How it works

The new gyro from Hajimiri’s laboratory achieves this improved performance by employing a new technique known as “reciprocal sensitivity sweetening.” during this case, “reciprocal” means it affects each beams of the sunshine within the gyro within the same method. Since the Sagnac impact depends on sleuthing a distinction between the 2 beams as they travel in opposite directions, it’s thought-about unreciprocated. within the gyro, light-weight travels through miniaturized optical waveguides (small conduits that carry light-weight, that perform the identical operate as wires do for electricity). Imperfections within the optical path that may have an effect on the beams (for example, thermal fluctuations or light-weight scattering) and any outside interference can have an effect on each beams equally.

Hajimiri’s team found the way to remove this reciprocal noise whereas going away signals from the Sagnac impact intact. Reciprocal sensitivity sweetening therefore improves the signal-to-noise within the system and permits the mixing of the optical gyro onto a chip smaller than a grain of rice.

The details

The paper is titled “Nanophotonic optical gyro with reciprocal sensitivity sweetening.” postgraduate Parham Khial is that the lead author, and collegian student Alexander White may be a author. This analysis was funded by the Rothenberg Innovation Initiative.

Laser breakthrough has physicists on the point of cooling down substance

Summary: For the primary time, physicists at CERN have discovered a benchmark energy transition in antihydrogen, a serious step toward cooling and manipulating the essential variety of substance. Antimatter, destroyed on impact with the matter, is notoriously difficult to capture and work with. however its study is vital to resolution one in every one of the nice mysteries of the universe: why anti-matter, that ought to have existed in equal amounts to the matter at the time of the massive Bang, has near disappeared.

For the primary time, physicists at CERN have discovered a benchmark energy transition in antihydrogen, a serious step toward cooling and manipulating the essential variety of substance.

“The Lyman-alpha transition is that the most elementary, necessary transition in regular chemical element atoms, and to capture an equivalent development in antihydrogen disclose a brand new era in substance science,” aforementioned Takamasa Momose, the University of Canadian province chemist and scientist WHO crystal rectifier the event of the optical maser system wont to manipulate the antihydrogen.

“This approach may be an entrance to cooling down antihydrogen, which is able to greatly improve the exactness of our measurements and permit USA check however substance and gravity act, that remains a mystery.”

The results were revealed nowadays in Nature.

Antimatter, destroyed on impact with the matter, is notoriously difficult to capture and work with. however its study is vital to resolution one in every of the nice mysteries of the universe: why anti-matter, that ought to have existed in equal amounts to the matter at the time of the massive Bang, has near disappeared.

“This gets the USA simply a small amount nearer to respondent a number of these massive queries in physics,” aforementioned Makoto Fujiwara, Canada’s advocator for CERN’s ALPHA antihydrogen analysis collaboration, and a scientist with TRIUMF, Canada’s scientific instrument centre. “Over the past decades, scientists are able to revolutionize physics victimization optical manipulation and optical maser cooling, and with this result we are able to begin applying an equivalent tool to searching the mysteries of substance.”

An antihydrogen atom, consisting of AN nucleon and antielectron, is that the substance counterpart of a atom, manufactured from one-nucleon with AN orbiting negatron.

The alleged Lyman-alpha transition, initial seen in chemical element over one hundred years agone, is measured as a series of ultraviolet emissions once a chemical element atom’s negatron is prompted to shift from a coffee orbital to a high orbital. victimization optical maser pulses lasting nanoseconds, Momose, Fujiwara, Canadian colleagues, and also the international ALPHA collaboration at CERN, were able to deliver the goods an equivalent transition in many hundred antihydrogen atoms magnetically treed in a very vacuum.

Aside from the terribly real challenge of saddlery that several antihydrogen atoms long enough to figure with them, fine-tuning the optical maser system elements took years.

“You cannot truly see the optical maser pulses you are victimization to excite the antihydrogen and shift the orbitals,” says Momose. “So, our team was basically operating and troubleshooting the optical maser system within the blind!”

The team’s next step is to use the optical maser innovation to assist turn out cold and dense sample of anti-atoms for exactness spectroscopic analysis and gravity measurements.


ALPHA is a world substance analysis collaboration based mostly at CERN, comprising fifty scientists from eight countries. The Canadian ALPHA team consists of scientists and students from the University of Canadian province (UBC), TRIUMF, Simon Fraser University, the University of urban centre, and royal family University. The Lyman-alpha optical maser team is crystal rectifier by Takamasa Momose (UBC), and consists of scientists, students, postdocs from UBC, TRIUMF and urban centre. ALPHA-Canada analysis is funded partially by NSERC, NRC/TRIUMF and also the CFI.

About CERN

At the EU Organization for Nuclear analysis, physicists and engineers area unit searching the elemental structure of the universe. They use the world’s largest and most complicated scientific instruments to review the essential constituents of matter — the elemental particles. The particles area unit created to collide along at on the point of the speed of sunshine. the method provides the physicist’s clues regarding however the particles act and provides insights into the elemental laws of nature.

Scientists Alter Membrane Proteins to form Them Easier to review

About thirty per cent of the proteins encoded by the human ordering ar membrane proteins — proteins that span the semipermeable membrane in order that they will facilitate communication between cells and their surroundings. These molecules are vital for learning, seeing, and sensing odors, among several different functions.

Despite the prevalence of those proteins, scientists have had an issue learning their structures and functions as a result of the membrane-bound parts are terribly hydrophobic, in order that they can not be dissolved in water. This makes it a lot of more durable to try and do structural analyses, similar to X-ray natural philosophy.

In the associate advance that might build it easier to perform this sort of structural study, MIT researchers have developed the simplest way to form these proteins soluble by swapping a number of their hydrophobic amino acids for deliquescent ones. The technique is predicated on a code that’s a lot of less complicated than antecedently developed ways for creating these proteins soluble, that suppose pc algorithms that ought to be tailored to every supermolecule on an individual basis.

“If there’s no rule to follow, it’s troublesome for individuals to grasp a way to have a go at it,” says Shuguang Zhang, a principal analysis somebody within the MIT Media Lab’s Center for Bits and Atoms. “The tool should be straightforward, one thing that anyone will use, not a complicated theoretical account that solely some individuals knowledge to use.”

Zhang is that the senior author of the study, that seems within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of August. 27. different MIT authors are former prof Fei Tao, postdoc Rui Manchu, former prof Hongzhi Tang, college man Michael Skuhersky, former undergrad Karolina Corin ’03, SM ’05, PhD ’11, former postdoc Lotta Tegler, college man Asmamaw Wassie, and former undergrad Brook Wassie ’14.

A simple Code

Of the some eight,000 illustrious membrane proteins found in human cells, scientists have discovered structures for regarding fifty. they’re widely viewed as terribly troublesome to figure with as a result of once they’re extracted from the semipermeable membrane, they solely maintain their structure if they’re suspended in a very detergent, that mimics the hydrophobic surroundings of the semipermeable membrane. These detergents are high-priced, and there’s no universal detergent that works for all membrane proteins.

Zhang started performing on a brand new thanks to tackling this drawback in 2010, galvanized by the late Alexander made, associate MIT prof of biology. made exhibit the question of whether or not supermolecule structures are known as alpha helices, that form up the majority of the membrane-embedded portion of proteins, may be switched from hydrophobic to deliquescent. Zhang straightaway began understanding attainable solutions, however, the matter tried troublesomely. Over the past eight years, he has had many students and visiting researchers facilitate work on his plan, last Manchu, World Health Organization achieved success.

The key concept allowed Zhang to develop the code is that the indisputable fact that some of the hydrophobic amino acids have terribly similar structures to some deliquescent amino acids. This similarity allowed Zhang to return up with a code within which essential amino acid is born-again to aminoalkanoic acid, essential amino acid and essential amino acid ar born-again to essential amino acid, and essential amino acid is born-again to aminoalkanoic acid.

Another necessary issue is that none of those amino acids is charged, therefore swapping them seems to own a stripped result on the general supermolecule structure. In fact, essential amino acid and essential amino acid are therefore similar that ribosomes, the cell structures that assemble proteins, often insert the incorrect one — regarding once in each two hundred to four hundred occurrences.

The researchers decision their code the QTY code, when the 3 letters that represent aminoalkanoic acid, threonine, and aminoalkanoic acid, severally.

In their earliest efforts to implement this code, the researchers substituted solely a tiny low fraction of the hydrophobic amino acids embedded within the membrane, however, the ensuing proteins still required some detergent to dissolve. They inflated the replacement rate regarding fifty p.c, however, the proteins were still not absolutely soluble, in order that they replaced all instances of aminoalkanoic acid, isoleucine, valine, an essential amino acid embedded within the membranes. This time, they achieved success.
“It’s only we have a tendency to replace all the hydrophobic residues within the transmembrane regions that we’re able to get proteins that are stable associated fully freed from detergent in a liquid system,” Manchu says.

Structural similarities

In this study, the researchers incontestible their technique on four proteins that belong to a category of proteins called G protein-coupled receptors. These proteins facilitate cells to acknowledge molecules, similar to hormones, or immune molecules, known as chemokines, associated trigger an acceptable response at intervals the cell.
Joel Sussman, a proof of structural biology at the solon Institute of Science, represented the new methodology as “incredibly straightforward and chic.”

“Although variety of scientists are attempting to search out the simplest way to ‘solubilize’ G protein-coupled receptors and different integral membrane proteins, up to now their ways haven’t been of general use and infrequently concerned terribly advanced machine ways that might not be widely applicable,” says Sussman, World Health Organization wasn’t concerned within the analysis.

The researchers are still operating towards getting the precise structures of those proteins mistreatment X-ray natural philosophy or nuclear resonance (NMR), however, they performed some experiments that recommend the structures are similar. In one, they showed that the soluble proteins denature at nearly constant temperature because of the original versions of the proteins. They conjointly showed that the changed proteins bind to constant target molecules that the initial proteins bind to, though not as powerfully.

Being able to synthesize soluble versions of those proteins may modify new applications, similar to sensors that may notice environmental pollutants, the researchers say.

Another chance is planning soluble versions of the proteins that bind to molecules unremarkably expressed by cancer cells, that may be accustomed diagnose tumours or establish pathological process cancer cells in blood samples, Zhang says. Researchers may conjointly produce soluble molecules within which a membrane-bound receptor that viruses unremarkably bind to is connected to a part of an associated protein. If these “decoy therapies” were injected into the body, viruses would bind to the receptors so be cleared by the system, which might be activated by the protein portion.

The analysis was funded by OH2 Laboratories and also the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms pool, which has the Bay natural depression Innovation Center.

Researchers develop a blood drawing robot that provides rapid test results

The simple but important job of drawing and testing the blood of patients can now be taken over by a robot, an article on News Wise reported. That is because New Jersey-based engineers came up with a fully-automated blood drawing and the testing machine that can work much faster than humans in a laboratory.

The robot is intended to speed up the workflow in health institutions like hospitals. Its creators believe it will free up time for healthcare professionals to tend patients instead of performing tedious tasks.

The details of the device are discussed in a study published in the online journal TECHNOLOGY. The senior author is Martin L. Yarmush, a professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University–New Brunswick (Rutgers) in New Jersey.

Yarmush explained that his team’s invention integrates miniaturized robotics and microfluidic systems. The robot is as accurate and versatile as conventional means of drawing blood and testing the samples in a full-fledged laboratory. It also enjoys the availability and swiftness of point-of-care testing methods that are conducted at the treatment site.

“This device represents the holy grail in blood testing technology,” Yarmush said. (Related: Chinese AI able to diagnose and identify cancerous prostate samples as well as human doctors.)

Blood drawing and testing could be much faster

Blood testing is the world’s most widely used medical procedure. It is also one of the most important processes when diagnosing a patient. Health professionals make many of their decisions based on the outcome of the laboratory analysis.

In order to achieve the best results, the manual method of drawing blood from a patient requires the clinician to possess a skilled touch. The effectiveness of the process also depends on the physiology of the patient, whose veins might not be very large or visible.

Furthermore, almost all blood tests are performed in large laboratories that are responsible for numerous samples from different clinics and hospitals. The analysis methods at these centralized labs require a lot of labor and time.

Therefore, biomedical engineering researchers at Rutgers developed an automated blood drawing and testing machine that incorporated “lab-on-a-chip” technology. The system consists of a robot that draws blood from veins, a module that handles samples, and a blood analyzer.

The robot is guided by images so that it can overcome the challenge of veins that are difficult to access. Meanwhile, the analyzer is equipped with a centrifuge that can determine the number of blood cells in the sample.

The new robot can immediately analyze the blood sample it draws from patients

They put the new device through its initial paces by having the robot practice drawing blood-mimicking fluid from artificial arms with fake blood vessels made out of plastic tubes. The blood-mimicking fluid contained fluorescent microbeads that represented white blood cells.

The machine then performed white blood cell tests on the samples of fake blood. The test counted the number of microbeads in each sample, with the area of the packed bead layer representing the concentration of beads.

The Rutgers researchers reported that the device was very accurate. In addition to expected locations like the clinics, offices, and emergency rooms, they believed the robot could be fitted aboard ambulances or placed at the bedside of a patient.

“When designing the system, our focus was on creating a modular and expandable device,” explained study leader Max Balter, a biomedical engineer. “With our relatively simple chip design and analysis techniques, the device can be extended to incorporate a broader panel of tests in the future.”


These Gun-Toting, Weight-Lifting Russian Robots Might Fly to Space in 2019

Will these sharpshooting, weight-lifting Russian androids fly to space next year?

An unnamed “source in the rocket and space industry” has told Russia’s international news agency, RIA Novosti, that two androids, as part of Russia’s robot platform FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research), will fly a crewless Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station in 2019.

These robots previously made headlines when it was announced that they are trained to shoot guns with both of their “hands.” And, while few details about the bots and their mission have been revealed, their gun-wielding abilities forced Dmitry Rogozin, a former Russian deputy prime minister, to deny that the country was “creating a terminator,” according to a report from The Independent. [Meet Robonaut 2, NASA’s Space Droid (Infographic)]

The FEDOR program was created in 2014 with the goal of producing a robot that could replace humans in high-risk tasks and missions in space. Aside from shooting, these two androids are capable of driving, doing push-ups and lifting weights. It’s unclear how these skills might assist them in space or what their specific mission might be. Rogozin has only stated that the robots would have “great practical significance in various fields,” according to The Independent.

Sending robots to do jobs too dangerous for humans is not a new concept. NASA hopes that the agency’s robotic astronaut Robonaut 2, which is being repaired after its stint on the International Space Station, will work side by side with human crewmembers in space and complete tasks that are too high risk for humans.

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World-First Quantum Computer Simulation Of Chemical Bonds Using Trapped Ions

An international group of researchers has achieved the world’s first multi-qubit demonstration of a quantum chemistry calculation performed on a system of trapped ions, one of the leading hardware platforms in the race to develop a universal quantum computer.

The research, led by University of Sydney physicist Dr Cornelius Hempel, explores a promising pathway for developing effective ways to model chemical bonds and reactions using quantum computers. It is published today in the prestigious Physicial Review X of the American Physical Society.

“Even the largest supercomputers are struggling to model accurately anything but the most basic chemistry. Quantum computers simulating nature, however, unlock a whole new way of understanding matter. They will provide us with a new tool to solve problems in materials science, medicine and industrial chemistry using simulations.”

With quantum computing still in its infancy, it remains unclear exactly what problems these devices will be most effective at solving, but most experts agree that quantum chemistry is going to be one of the first ‘killer apps’ of this emergent technology.

Quantum chemistry is the science of understanding the complicated bonds and reactions of molecules using quantum mechanics. The ‘moving parts’ of anything but the most-simple chemical processes are beyond the capacity of the biggest and fastest supercomputers.

By modelling and understanding these processes using quantum computers, scientists expect to unlock lower-energy pathways for chemical reactions, allowing the design of new catalysts. This will have huge implications for industries, such as the production of fertilisers.

Other possible applications include the development of organic solar cells and better batteries through improved materials and using new insights to design personalised medicines.

Working with colleagues at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Innsbruck, Austria, Dr Hempel used just four qubits on a 20-qubit device to run algorithms to simulate the energy bonds of molecular hydrogen and lithium hydride.

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A whole new kind of lie detector: Robots in the court room are able to tell when someone is lying

We often rely on lie detectors or polygraphs, but these devices are not always 100 percent accurate. There are other means to determine if an individual is lying, such as by observing micro-movements, or movements that we subconsciously make while lying. These can include anything from a raised eyebrow to tilting our heads.

Now, a group of scientists has revealed that they developed “an artificial intelligence system that can detect these micro-expressions and detect if you’re lying.”

The researchers from the University of Maryland and Dartmouth College hope that the AI system they developed, known as Deception Analysis and Reasoning Engine (DARE), can soon be used in courtrooms to determine if people on the stand are being truthful. The study was published in arXiv.

According to the researchers, they developed DARE by training the system using videos of people in the courtroom. Dr. Zhe Wu, who led the study, shared, “On the vision side, our system uses classifiers trained on low level video features which predict human micro-expressions.”

The team explained that they trained the AI to identify five micro-expressions that often indicate when a person is lying. These include frowning, eyebrows raising, lip corners turning up, lips protruded, and the head turning to the side. DARE viewed 15 videos taken from courtrooms, then the AI was tested on whether it was able to tell if someone was lying in a final video. (Related: AI mind reading technology can tell if you’ve knowingly committed a crime.)

Based on the results, DARE was able to pinpoint 92 percent of the micro-expressions. The researchers proudly called this a “good performance.” The researchers also gave the same task to human assessors, but the latter were only able to pick up 81 percent of micro-expressions. The results reveal that the AI was better than humans at identifying a person who was lying.

The researchers commented, “Our vision system, which uses both high-level and low level visual features, is significantly better at predicting deception compared to humans.” They even implied that if the AI is given access to further information, it can “be even more effective.” According to the researchers, “complementary information” gathered via audio and transcripts can further improve DARE’s “deception prediction.”

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Engineer teaching humanoid robots to use their hands to stop themselves from falling

A famous viral video about the DARPA Robotics Challenge shows all sorts of humanoid robots clumsily falling down. Bipedal movement is rather unstable, which is not only a problem for a robot trying to complete its task, but also because falling can damage a very expensive piece of machinery.

Roboticists across the globe are tackling this problem in a myriad of ways. While some look to add a series of corrective steps after a  becomes off-balance, much like a person stumbling after tripping, Kris Hauser wants robots to be able to use the environment around them.

“If a person gets pushed toward a wall or a rail, they’ll be able to use that surface to keep themselves upright with their hands. We want robots to be able to do the same thing,” said Kris Hauser, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke. “We believe that we’re the only research group working on having a robot dynamically choose where to place its hands to prevent falling.”

While such decisions and actions are second nature to us, programming them into a robot’s reflexes is deceptively difficult. To streamline the process and save computation time, Hauser programs the software to focus only on the robot’s hip and shoulder joints.

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It would be amazing and terrifying if true – a ‘laser AK-47’ that can set fire to targets and clothing from 800 metres (half a mile) away.

According to South China Morning Post, that’s exactly what researchers at a Chinese company called ZKZM Laser have developed.

The newspaper claims that the rifle beam cannot be seen by the naked eye, but can cause “instant carbonisation” of human skin and tissue.

According to the report, the weapon, called ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle, can light clothes on fire up to 800 metres away, even through windows.

The weapon apparently weighs 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds), is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and can fire approximately 1,000 ‘shots’ lasting around 2 seconds.

“The pain will be beyond endurance,” allegedly said one of the researchers, who was not named in the SCMP article.

But alas, even the small amount of information given is raising some pretty big issues here – mostly due to a little something called the laws of physics.

Okay, so we all know that even low-powered lasers can damage eyes, but that’s because our eyes are an especially sensitive body part, and it’s the retina’s incredible ability to bounce light and heat around that causes the damage.

And yes, lasers can definitely heat stuff up. Proposed laser models have been created that could heat materials to temperatures hotter than the centre of the Sun in just 20 quadrillionths of a second.

But you have to put in a lot of energy to make it worthwhile. A small lithium-ion battery doesn’t quite cut it.

To create a portable laser that can heat up high enough to cook something in less than two seconds, you’d be looking at something much heavier than three kilograms.

Devin Coldewey, from Tech Crunch, ran some numbers, and even in imaginarily perfect circumstances, you’d be looking at something closer to the size and heaviness of a 90 kilogram (200 pound) Tesla Powerwall, as opposed to a relatively small gun.

According to Coldewey, you couldn’t even get a laser powered by a lithium-ion battery, which a person could actually lug around, to produce enough heat to hurt someone 1,000 times, even at point blank range.

When you look at producing that much power at the 800 metre limit the report mentions, even more issues come into play.

Lasers suffer from something called attenuation. When light goes through a medium (such as air or water), the laser will begin to lose its intensity. And this isn’t a small amount of loss, even at a much shorter distance than 800 metres.

While a laser beam can easily travel 800 metres and more, once it hit the target it would only be a fraction of the power it had at the beginning. Definitely not enough to fry a human or even their clothes.

So, what’s going on here? Well, right now we just don’t know why such crazy claims are circulating, although there is speculation this is all just government propaganda.

Perhaps the researchers have indeed found a way around all these issues, but we’re certainly not holding our breath. Until there’s a credible demonstration of this fanciful laser rifle, such guns are still only to be found in Star Wars, not real life.