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The First Four-Legged Robot To Do A Backflip

MIT’s new mini cheetah robot is springy and light on its feet.

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3 Robots Shaping Our Future

Our present is technology-driven.

Our future will be shaped by technology.

And robots will be a major part of it, there’s no doubt about it.

Here are 3 robots making history today while preparing us for the future:

1. Mini Cheetah – the first four-legged robot to do a backflip

Mini Cheetah is a robot designed and built by an MIT team of researchers. It is a smaller version of Cheetah, a larger robot built by the same team.

Mini Cheetah is only 20 pounds heavy and displays a wide range of motion. It is very robust, doesn’t break easily and overall dynamic.

The small robot is fitted with 12 motors the size of a jar lid, three for each leg. The researchers designed it to be lightweight, high-torque and low inertia which allows the robot to execute manoeuvres fast, without breaking any parts.

It is capable of moving very fast, it can bend its legs, it can walk upside down, it can jump in the air, it can switch and stretch as if doing yoga and now do 360-degree backflips.

The robot is able to do a backflip thanks to a program which the team wrote in order to test its performance.

The robot’s designers plan to build 10 more mini cheetahs and then loan them to collaborating groups. The purpose is to give other robotics research engineers the opportunity to come up and test new ideas.

That’s how you accelerate research.

Sangbae Kim, associate professor of mechanical engineering

2. Handle, the robot doing warehouse work

Handle is designed and built by Boston Dynamics, a company which began as a spin-off from the MIT. Handle is one of the four robots developed by the Boston Dynamics team which include SpotMini, Atlas and Pick.

Handle is a robot able to perform various box handling tasks in the warehouse. It is 2 meters high, 105 kg heavy, it is fitted with 10 cameras, it has 10 joints and can lift 15 kg.

A counterbalancing system provides the robot with power and agility which allows it to perform difficult manipulation tasks.

3. Atlas, the robot doing parkour

Atlas is the latest humanoid robots developed by Boston Dynamics.

It is 1.5 meters high, 75 kg heavy, can handle a 11 kg payload, it has stereo vision and 25 joints.

The robot is fitted with a control system which coordinates its arms, torso and legs. It is able to manipulate objects and travel on rough terrain thanks to its amazing balancing system.

Into the future

Science-fiction movies envision a human civilization where robots perform automated labor, assist humans with various tasks and minor jobs and keep them company when needed.

These three robots and others like them are amazing achievements; they represent the building blocks which allow brilliant researchers and scientists to take their work further.

The future will grow from the seeds we plant today.

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MIT: 5 breakthrough technologies of 2018

Every year since 2001 MIT Technology Review has picked 10 Breakthrough Technologies. It is a list of technology that MIT believes will have a profound effect on people’s lives.

Here is our Top 5 breakthrough technology of 2018 according to MIT Technologies Review:

  1. 3D Metal Printing
  2. Artificial Embryos
  3. Dueling Neural Networks
  4. Babel-Fish Ear buds
  5. Perfect online privacy

3D Metal Printing

3D printing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. The additive process consists of creating an object by laying down successive layers of material.

The worldwide 3D printing industry is expected to grow from $3.07B in revenue in 2013 to $12.8B by 2018, and exceed $21B in worldwide revenue by 2020. As it evolves, 3D printing technology is destined to transform almost every major industry and change the way we live, work, and play in the future (source: Wohler’s Report 2015).

3D printing is mostly used in industries such as consumer goods, industrial goods, high tech and healthcare.

Latest research and development have made 3D metal printing possible.

The 3D metal printing technology can create lighter, stronger parts and complex shapes that aren’t possible with conventional metal fabrication methods. In 2017, researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced they had developed a 3D-printing method for creating stainless-steel parts twice as strong as traditionally made ones.

Artificial Embryos

The human life journey begins with conception: the male sperm and the female egg bind to each other in a process of fusion. Medicine has still a long way from unlocking all mysteries regarding human reproduction. But technology can lend a helping hand in the form of artificial embryos.

Without using eggs or sperm cells, researchers have made mouse embryo-like structures from stem cells alone, providing a whole new route to creating life. This amazing breakthrough will help scientists study how the cells of an early embryo begin taking on their specialised roles.

The next step is to make an artificial embryo out of human stem cells, work that’s being pursued at the University of Michigan and Rockefeller University.

artificial-embryo

image source: mgtow.com

Duelling neural networks

The Artificial Intelligence is based on neural networks and machine learning technology. Neural networks are simplified mathematical models of the human brain that underpin most modern machine learning.

An example of neural network based technology is Google Duplex, the AI assistant that can carry out conversations in a human-like voice.

Other expressions of machine learning include the virtual learning companions. Used in education, virtual companions have been endowed with curiosity. Why curiosity? Because scientists have found that curiosity is a factor that drives knowledge acquisition.

What about imagination?

AI machines can be programmed to do a lot of jobs and even be taught how to learn. But imagination is a human trait. To create something entirely new requires imagination and scientists haven’t found an appropriate solution. Until now: G.A.N.

G.A.N. stands for generative adversarial network, which means two neural networks compete against each other in a digital cat-and-mouse game. The technology has become one of the most promising advances in AI in the past decade, able to help machines produce results that fool even humans.

neural-network image source: techcrunch.com

Babel-fish ear buds

If you’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, you remember how every human and non-human creature managed to understand each other: by sliding a yellow Babel fish into their ears to get instant translations. Fast-forward forty years and the product of Mr. Adams’ imagination has made its way into the real world.

The Pixel buds are ear buds made by Google; they work with Pixel smartphones and Google Translate app to produce practically real-time translation. Although right now they come short of design and functionality, Pixel buds show the promise of mutually intelligible communication between languages in close to real time.

Google-Pixel-Buds image source: mikeshouts.com

Perfect online privacy

Cambridge Analytica scandal. GDPR. These are two of the latest online storms that have changed our take on personal data and online privacy. Can we benefit from privacy when it comes to online mediums? Is our personal data secured? Some say there is no such thing as privacy when you are roaming the digital highways and anyone who thinks that is naive.

But cryptography may provide a solution for our problem in the form of a tool. This tool is an emerging cryptographic protocol called a zero-­knowledge proof. Zero-knowledge proof protocol is used for proving something without revealing the information underlying the proof. If you need to disclose personal information to get something done online, it will be easier to do so without risking your privacy or exposing yourself to identity theft.

Zcash, a digital currency that launched in 2016 has developed its own tool based on zero-knowledge protocol called zk-SNARK (for zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge) which gives users the power to transact anonymously. In 2017, JPMorgan Chase added zk-SNARKs to its own blockchain-based payment system.

zero-knowledge-proof image source: icotalknews.com

How can MIT’s wearable device hear the words you say in your head

There is no wonder or anyone these days that technology is developing even faster than any of us could have ever imagined some years ago, but to have in 2018 a piece of technology that is reading your mind it may go even beyond our wildest imagination.

And yet, MIT is proving it possible. MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that can transcribe words that the user verbalizes internally but does not actually speak aloud.

The system consists of a wearable device and an associated computing system. Electrodes in the device pick up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalizations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye. The signals are fed to a machine-learning system that has been trained to correlate particular signals with particular words.

According to MIT news’ website, the device also includes a pair of bone-conduction headphones, which transmit vibrations through the bones of the face to the inner ear. Because they don’t obstruct the ear canal, the headphones enable the system to convey information to the user without interrupting conversation or otherwise interfering with the user’s auditory experience. Moreover, the device is part of a complete silent-computing system that lets the user undetectably pose and receive answers to difficult computational problems. In one of the researchers’ experiments, for instance, subjects used the system to silently report opponents’ moves in a chess game and just as silently receive computer-recommended responses.

Thad Starner, a professor at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, quoted by ZDNet, believes the technology also has potential as an industrial communications tool to assist workers in noisy environment such as airports or military. “You’ve got jet noise all around you, you’re wearing these big ear-protection things — wouldn’t it be great to communicate with voice in an environment where you normally wouldn’t be able to? You can imagine all these situations where you have a high-noise environment, like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, or even places with a lot of machinery, like a power plant or a printing press,” declared Starner, for ZDNet.

Oh his turn, Arnav Kapur, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab,said in a statement that their idea was “Could we have a computing platform that’s more internal, that melds human and machine in some ways and that feels like an internal extension of our own cognition?” The researchers tested the device with different tasks, including games of chess and basic multiplication and addition problems, using limited vocabularies of 20 words. While the device is quite clever, it’s still limited; the researchers say it has a 92 percent accuracy with only 20 words. They’re hopeful that it will scale up with time. “We’re in the middle of collecting data, and the results look nice,” Kapur added.

 

Top 20 business people to watch for in 2017

source: wisecareers

Each one of us needs to be inspired, to meet and read about inspirational people and success stories that truly show us that the sky is the limit. We compiled of list of great entrepreneurs, social media influencers, both men and women, that we believe deserve a look over their careers so far and that will still be a great inspiration in the years to come.

Neil Patel – an internet marketer and conversion expert, best known as the founder of Crazy Egg, Quick Sprout, and KISSMetrics. Recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama, Patel is also a regular, respected contributor for publications such as Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur.com and TechCrunch. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

John Rampton is a serial entrepreneur, connector, and the founder of Due.com. Rampton has hailed as No. 3 of the Top 50 Global Online Influencers and one of the Top 10 Most Influential PPC Experts in the World for 3 years running. Time Magazine recognized John as a motivations speaker that helps people find a “Sense of Meaning” in their lives. He currently advises several companies in the bay area. John loves helping others succeed online. It’s all about helping and giving back. It brings me joy in my life.

Chris Stoikos is best known for his hilarious viral videos, which generated 130M views and $10.5M in sales in the past year alone as part of his venture Dollar Beard Club. Stoikos has also appeared on NBC’s Shark Tank and generated millions in revenue for various product launches. is a highly regarded serial entrepreneur with two successful exits under his belt. He is an expert at creating and organizing dynamic teams that can execute business ideas quickly and effectively, and set them up to be self-sustaining organizations.

Ann Handley has been named by Forbes as the “Most Influential Woman in Social Media” and one of the Top 20 Women Bloggers. She is the chief content officer of MarketingProfs, a training company that empowers marketers internationally with the skills they need to drive success at their companies, and her book Everybody Writes is a Wall Street Journal bestseller. She is also the co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business.”
Moreover, a pioneer in digital marketing, Ann is the co-founder of ClickZ.com, which was one of the first sources of digital marketing news and commentary.

Shradha Agarwal co-started  Context Media with a goal to help patients with chronic diseases better manage their health. She is now reaching more that 6+ million patients a month. Shradha co-founded JumpStart Ventures in 2011 to fund other passionate entrepreneurs who are executing ambitious solutions in healthcare, education and media communications, and has since backed more than 40 companies with over $10 million in venture investments. She mentors entrepreneurs at Techstars, Impact Engine & Blueprint Health, but is equally invested in the venture philanthropy model for scaling nonprofit solutions through SVP Chicago and The Chicago Public Education Fund. She serves on the boards of OneGoal and Chicago Children’s Choir and spiritedly supports youth education, women leadership, and civic engagement. The CEC recently honored the two ContextMedia co-founders with the “2015 Chicagoness Award” for their deep commitment to developing the city’s ecosystem. Agarwal was honored as a Champion of Change by the White House, recognized as Best Female Founder at the United Nations, and won a Moxie Award as “Tech Woman of the Year” in Chicago.

Anthony Smith is Founder and CEO of  Insightly, a San Francisco-based company that provides customer relationship management (CRM) cloud-based software to more than 1.2 million customers in 200 countries. After identifying a market need for a CRM solution for small businesses, Anthony built the first version of Insightly himself, using his previous experience of designing, constructing, and implementing CRM software for enterprises.

Julia Taylor Cheek isn’t new to business, but the Harvard Business grad’s new company is literally changing the way we live. Cheek’s company,  EverlyWell (of which she is both co-founder and CEO) is simplifying health testing and putting it into words and charts that everybody can understand.

Branden Hampton is the king of social media, having built over 33M followers across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. He’s also the CEO of the social media marketing company One Penny Ad Agency and co-author of “ How to Set Up Your Business for Under $1000”.

Brian D. Evans is an Inc 500 entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Influencive, an online publication read by millions of young entrepreneurs. His company, BDE Ventures had 2,388% growth in 3 years and was the 25th fastest growing advertising and marketing agency in America.

Ekta Sahasi is the vice president of the  U.S .Business Innovation Center (BIC) for Konica Minolta, where her team seeks out new places to invest in disruptive technology that can advance the company’s competitive advantage. When not investing in startups and overseeing innovation at Konica Minolta, Sahasi helps startups understand how they can enter Asian markets and work within those cultural parameters. Prior to joining Konica Minolta, Ekta spent 10 years at eBay Inc. where she co-founded and led both eBay and PayPal’s Research and Innovation Labs. She successfully developed one of the largest corporate innovation programs, and experimented with emerging technologies for enhancing existing technology stack and M&A. As Director of Innovation Products and Research at PayPal she built and scaled a global cross-functional team and led the strategic vision and execution of high-impact projects.

Russ Ruffino: Founder and CEO of  Clients on Demand, the most reliable client attraction system in the world, Ruffino has helped coaches and thought leaders all over the world build six-figure monthly businesses from scratch. His massive success in marketing and as a business owner has allowed him to become one of the most respected business coaches in the industry.

Pejman Ghadimi is a self-made multi-millionaire, serial entrepreneur, best-selling book author and currently the CEO and Founder of  Secret Entourage. The platform was started in 2009 to help bring together some of today’s greatest and brightest CEO’s, business owners and innovators in an attempt to help bridge the gap between formal and self-education by providing current, relevant, as well as affordable coaching and mentorship. Secret Entourage presently is home to over 280 accredited entrepreneurs covering more than 100 industries, over 30,000 students and reaches millions through social media. Since its launch, Secret Entourage has expanded its reach to over 1,200,000 new individuals each month and has grown as an accepted brand in the business and lifestyle community. The organization has to date aided tens of thousands of individuals and organizations in reaching their full potential. Secret Entourage has also helped unify accredited Entrepreneurs with the mission of bringing back the true meaning of entrepreneurship, and to be an inspiration to all. In 2012, Pejman authored Third Circle Theory, Gen Y’s blueprint to Entrepreneurship which had sold over 50,000 copies by mid 2013.

Pejman is also the owner and founder of VIPMotoring.net, a unique luxury lifestyle concierge service which currently was said to be “one of the best sources of education for today’s modern millionaires” by Forbes in 2012.

Roger Bryan is a serial entrepreneur with two successful exits: a marketing agency and an ecommerce business. His current venture,  Enfusen, named a Top 10 Tool Entrepreneurs Can Use to Automate Their Business by Inc., is a machine-learning analytics platform that helps digital marketing agencies drive increased traffic and conversion for their clients.

Sam Ovens: Ovens has told the story how he started completely broke, working out of his parents’ garage in New Zealand, and in five short years, started a  consulting business, moved to New York and made over $20 million. Ovens helps everyday people quit their jobs and “job-like” businesses to start their own highly leveraged consulting business. His methods are shaking up the consulting industry. Since 2011 he has created 14 millionaires and 340 six-figure earners with his training programs.

John Sculley and David Steinberg, ZetaGlobal Former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley and David Steinberg have become darlings of the marketing tech world, creating a business that provides analytics-driven platform that can also both see the customer’s life-cycle, measure ROI and understand your audience for intelligent marketing across the board. The company remains profitable, and made over $300 million in revenue the last year. Considering the cutthroat nature of the business, marketing tech leaders should pay real attention to Sculley and Steinberg as Zeta continues to grow.

Raviv Turner, CaliberMind, is a serial tech entrepreneur and former Israeli intelligence of CaliberMind, stands out. The company plugs into your CRM and content pipeline and uses psychographic ( a huge secret weapon in marketing) profiling of your sales and marketing calls, emails and customers’ social feeds to intelligently inform you both how to communicate with them and what content to feed them, such as security content for a security-minded person.

Amanda Signorelli, CEO of Techweek, is building tech-based entrepreneurial communities in major cities across North America, helping local business break through.

Danielle Morrill, CEO and co-founder of  Mattermark, is improving the way that businesses find and connect with the ideal customers, simplifying the process of finding leads for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses will want to keep Morrill’s company on their radar in 2017.

Natalya Brikner – Founder and CEO of Accion Systems Inc., brings her MIT rocket science knowledge and experience to help push space-travel forward – all before the age of 30.

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