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Archive for the ‘biological’ category: Page 3

Feb 12, 2024

Device physics recipe to make spiking neurons

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, physics, robotics/AI

Divice recipe for making spiking artificial neurons.


Neurons, which are made of biological tissue, exhibit cognitive properties that can be replicated in various material substrates. To create brain-inspired computational artificial systems, we can construct microscopic electronic neurons that mimic natural systems. In this paper, we discuss the essential material and device properties needed for a spiking neuron, which can be characterized using impedance spectroscopy and small perturbation equivalent circuit elements. We find that the minimal neuron system requires a capacitor, a chemical inductor, and a negative resistance. These components can be integrated naturally in the physical response of the device, instead of built from separate circuit elements. We identify the structural conditions for smooth oscillations that depend on certain dynamics of a conducting system with internal state variables. These state variables can be of diverse physical nature, such as properties of fluids, electronic solids, or ionic organic materials, implying that functional neurons can be built in various ways. We highlight the importance of detecting the Hopf bifurcation, a critical point in achieving spiking behavior, through spectral features of the impedance. To this end, we provide a systematic method of analysis in terms of the critical characteristic frequencies that can be obtained from impedance methods. Thus, we propose a methodology to quantify the physical and material properties of devices to produce the dynamic properties of neurons necessary for specific sensory-cognitive tasks. By replicating the essential properties of biological neurons in electronic systems, it may be possible to create brain-inspired computational systems with enhanced capabilities in information processing, pattern recognition, and learning. Additionally, understanding the physical and material properties of neurons can contribute to our knowledge of how biological neurons function and interact in complex neural networks. Overall, this paper presents a novel approach toward building brain-inspired artificial systems and provides insight into the important material and device considerations for achieving spiking behavior in electronic neurons.

Feb 8, 2024

SpaceX launches billion-dollar environmental research satellite for NASA

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, education, satellites, sustainability

SpaceX launched an environmental research satellite for NASA early Thursday, a nearly $1 billion spacecraft that survived multiple cancellation threats and is now poised to shed new light on climate change and the complex interplay of heat-trapping carbon, aerosols and sea life on global scales.

The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem mission — PACE — “will dramatically advance our understanding of the relationship between aerosols and clouds, and the global energy balance,” said Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth sciences division. “This is one of the biggest sources of uncertainty in our ability to model the climate.”

Continue reading “SpaceX launches billion-dollar environmental research satellite for NASA” »

Feb 7, 2024

2054, Part III: The Singularity

Posted by in categories: biological, quantum physics, robotics/AI, singularity

“We’d witness advances like mind-uploading,” B.T. said, and described the process by which the knowledge, analytic skills, intelligence, and personality of a person could be uploaded to a computer chip. “Once uploaded, that chip could be fused with a quantum computer that couples biological with artificial intelligence. If you did this, you’d create a human mind that has a level of computational, predictive, analytic, and psychic skill incomprehensibly higher than any existing human mind. You’d have the mind of God. That online intelligence could then create real effects in the physical world. God’s mind is one thing, but what makes God God is that He cometh to earth —”

When B.T. said earth, he made a sweeping gesture, like a faux preacher, and in his excitement, he knocked over Lily’s glass of wine. A waiter promptly appeared with a handful of napkins, sopping up the mess. B.T. waited for the waiter to leave.

“Don’t give me that look.”

Feb 4, 2024

AI can assist in creating biological threats, OpenAI study finds

Posted by in categories: biological, robotics/AI, terrorism

OpenAI notes that information related to bioterrorism is easily accessible to anybody, even without AI, as there is dangerous content in online resources and databases.


Explore OpenAI’s study that reveals how AI could inadvertently assist in creating biological threats.

Jan 31, 2024

Harnessing Native Microbes for Green Roof Soil Health

Posted by in categories: biological, health

In this urban rooftop setting, we saw more diversity in the fungal communities of the inoculated soil,” said Dr. Paul Metzler. “The long-term and consistent effects of the inoculum were quite surprising, as it’s not necessarily something you would expect when working with such small microorganisms.


How can urban rooftops, also known as green roofs, be improved to better help the environment? This is what a recent study published in New Phytologist hopes to address as a team of researchers led by Dartmouth College investigated how the right amount of soil microbes on urban rooftops could be used to strengthen urban rooftops. Traditionally, such rooftops use less-than-ideal methods that result in their positive environmental impact reducing over time, including the use of non-native plants in infertile soil. This study holds the potential to help scientists, city planners, and the public better understand the positive environmental impacts of urban rooftops.

For the study, the researchers built their own green roof in Chicago using locally obtained mycorrhizal fungi into the soil to produce an inoculation effect. Studies have shown that mycorrhizal fungi enhance plant life by trading much-needed nutrients to the plants for plant sugar. Over the next two years, the team actively managed the mycorrhizal fungi communities to ascertain their impact on the urban rooftop soil communities, whereas urban rooftops are traditionally passively managed. In the end, the researchers not only found that mycorrhizal fungi provide more robust and diverse soil communities, but they also found that active management was the ideal method for ensuring the mycorrhizal fungi maintain their development, and even accelerates it.

Continue reading “Harnessing Native Microbes for Green Roof Soil Health” »

Jan 30, 2024

Scientists manufacture a surface that has virucidal properties but does not use any chemicals

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry

A team of researchers from the URV and the RMIT University (Australia) has designed and manufactured a surface that uses mechanical means to mitigate the infectious potential of viruses. Made of silicon, the artificial surface consists of a series of tiny spikes that damage the structure of viruses when they come into contact with it. The work is published in the journal ACS Nano.

The research has revealed how these processes work and that they are 96% effective. Using this technology in environments in which there is potentially dangerous biological material would make laboratories easier to control and safer for the professionals who work there.

Spike the viruses to kill them. This seemingly unsophisticated concept requires considerable technical expertise and has one great advantage: a high virucidal potential that does not require the use of chemicals. The process of making the virucidal surfaces starts with a smooth metal plate, which is bombarded with ions to strategically remove material.

Jan 29, 2024

1.6-billion-year-old Fossils Push Back Origin of Multicellular Life by Tens of Millions of Years

Posted by in category: biological

The study shows that analyzing ancient organisms can help unravel the evolutionary history of life on Earth, Craig said.

“Positively identifying any fossil over a billion years old is inherently challenging. For example, the oldest dinosaur fossils are only about 250 million years old, and the ones in this study are almost seven times older,” he said. “That’s why research such as this is exceptionally difficult, but highly rewarding, and when conclusions such as the ones in this study can be reached with high confidence, it represents a significant discovery.”

Jan 28, 2024

Biohybrid robot makes sharp rotations with lab-grown muscles

Posted by in categories: biological, robotics/AI

Compared to robots, human bodies are flexible, capable of fine movements, and can convert energy efficiently into movement. Drawing inspiration from human gait, researchers from Japan crafted a two-legged biohybrid robot by combining muscle tissues and artificial materials. Publishing on January 26 in the journal Matter, this method allows the robot to walk and pivot.

Research on biohybrid robots, which are a fusion of biology and mechanics, is recently attracting attention as a new field of robotics featuring biological function. Using muscle as actuators allows us to build a compact robot and achieve efficient, silent movements with a soft touch.

Jan 28, 2024

Quantum Breakthrough: Unveiling the Mysteries of Electron Tunneling

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, computing, quantum physics

Tunneling is a fundamental process in quantum mechanics, involving the ability of a wave packet to cross an energy barrier that would be impossible to overcome by classical means. At the atomic level, this tunneling phenomenon significantly influences molecular biology. It aids in speeding up enzyme reactions, causes spontaneous DNA mutations, and initiates the sequences of events that lead to the sense of smell.

Photoelectron tunneling is a key process in light-induced chemical reactions, charge and energy transfer, and radiation emission. The size of optoelectronic chips and other devices has been close to the sub-nanometer atomic scale, and the quantum tunneling effects between different channels would be significantly enhanced.

Jan 28, 2024

On computational models of theory of mind and the imitative reinforcement learning in spiking neural networks

Posted by in categories: biological, robotics/AI

Gorgan Mohammadi, A., Ganjtabesh, M. Sci Rep 14, 1945 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-52299-7

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