Tech Universe: Friday 29 June

By Miraz Jordan

Your rock, paper or scissors will be no match against a robot adversary. Photo / Thinkstock
Your rock, paper or scissors will be no match against a robot adversary. Photo / Thinkstock

SCISSORS ROCK: You won't want to play Rock, Paper, Scissors with the robot hand from the University of Toyko. Its high speed vision system means it'll beat you every time. It detects the shape of your hand and forms a winning shape with its fingers before you can even see what's going on. Who knows how it would work out if you added Lizard and Spock too! Kurzweil AI details. Video here.

STAY IN TOUCH: Villagers in the Kalahari desert pass down their cultural knowledge and traditions orally from elders to the young people. But now that many young people are going to the cities to live for a few years that traditional knowledge is at risk. That's why researchers from Aalborg University in Denmark have been helping to design 3D visualisations to use with tablet computers. The villagers find the touchscreens easy to deal with, even though many have never used computers before.

Just don't introduce them to Angry Birds or their way of life may be under a greater threat. New Scientist explains.

RADIOACTIVE FACE: Infuse a patch with phosphorus-32 and you may be able to apply it like a bandaid to cure some forms of skin cancer. Researchers from India made customised fully sealed P-32 patches. Then they applied the patches for a few hours to 10 people who had facial basal cell carcinoma. 8 out of 10 patients were found in follow-up tests to be entirely cured and cancer free. Does it make your nose glow? Society of Nuclear Medicine has more.

CAMPING CHARGE: Going tramping? Will you need a fire? Carry a BioLite CampStove with you and you can also charge up your gadgets. The stove's about the size of a water bottle, weighs just under 1 Kg and uses twigs and pinecones as fuel. It takes around 5 minutes to boil a litre of water and converts excess heat to electricity you can use to charge your phone. Keep one around for emergencies too. BioLite elaborates. Check out the video.

THE CAT CAME BACK: Google scientists connected 16,000 computer processors to create one of the largest neural networks for machine learning. Then they set it loose looking at 10 million digital images randomly found in YouTube videos. What the neural network taught itself was to recognise cats, even though it was given no help in identifying features. Clearly cats have already bent the machine world to their will. New York Times has further information.

Miraz Jordan, http://knowit.co.nz

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