Technology

Forget the Turing and Lovelace tests on artificial intelligence: I want to see a robot pass the Frampton Test.

Let me explain why rock legend Peter Frampton enters the debate on AI.

For many centuries, much thought was given to what distinguishes humans from animals. These days thoughts turn to what distinguishes humans from machines.

A new device transforms paralysis victims’ breath into words.

Billed as a tool to help bring back the art of conversation for sufferers of severe paralysis and loss of speech, the prototype analyses changes in breathing patterns and converts ‘breath signals’ into words using pattern recognition software and an analogue-to-digital converter. A speech synthesizer then reads the words aloud.

The Augmentative and Alternate Communication (AAC) device is designed for patients with complete or partial loss of voluntary muscle control who don’t have the ability to make purposeful movements such as sniffing or blinking – gestures which previous AAC devices have come to rely upon.

Tomato lovers rejoice: Adding or rearranging a few simple steps in commercial processing could dramatically improve the flavor of this popular fruit sold in the grocery store, according to researchers.

"Ideally, tomatoes should be picked ripe and then sold immediately, as they are at farm stands," says Jinhe Bai, Ph.D. But this isn't always possible for commercially sold tomatoes, which are often stored and then shipped over long distances.

To prevent tomatoes from becoming too ripe before they reach the store, growers pick them when they are still green. Packers then use a gas called ethylene to trigger fruit ripening, and after that the tomatoes are stored and shipped at low temperatures.


Scientists working have developed a brain-computer control interface for a lower limb exoskeleton by decoding specific signals from within the user's brain using an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap.

The system allows users to move forwards, turn left and right, sit and stand simply by staring at one of five flickering light emitting diodes (LEDs), according to the paper in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

Each of the five LEDs flickers at a different frequency, and when the user focusses their attention on a specific LED this frequency is reflected within the EEG readout. This signal is identified and used to control the exoskeleton.


Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing developed a new cyber security analysis method that discovered 11 previously unknown Internet browser security flaws. Their findings were honored with the Internet Defense Prize, an award presented by Facebook in partnership with USENIX this week at the 24th USENIX Security Symposium.

Ph.D. students Byoungyoung Lee and Chengyu Song, with Professors Taesoo Kim and Wenke Lee, of Georgia Tech received $100,000 from Facebook to continue their research and increase its impact to make the Internet safer.


Human learning is a complex, sometimes mysterious process. Most of us have had experiences where we have struggled to learn something new, but also times when we've picked something up nearly effortlessly.

What if a fusion of computer science and psychology could help us understand more about how people learn, making it possible to design ideal lessons?

That long-range goal is moving toward reality thanks to an effort led by professors in the University of Wisconsin-Madison departments of computer sciences, psychology and educational psychology. Their collaborative research aims to break new ground in what computer scientist Jerry Zhu calls "machine teaching"-- a twist on the more familiar concept of machine learning.


It’s never been easy for readers to know what to believe in academic research. The entire history of science publishing has been riddled with controversy and debate from its very beginning when Hobbes and Boyle, scientists at the Royal Society in London, argued over the scientific method itself.

Even a cursory glance at academic publishing since then shows articles contradicting each others’ findings, papers subsequently shown to contain half truths (even in the serious matter of clinical trials) and yet more that are simply fabricated. Shaky and controversial results have been a part of science since it began to be documented.

Researchers say they have developed a method that could make a nasal spray flu vaccine effective for those under two and over 49 - two groups for which the vaccine is not approved.

By studying the weakened flu virus that is the basis for the nasal spray vaccine in cells from human nasal and sinus cavities, the researchers say they have determined that the virus can be weakened (for young children) or strengthened (in older people) enough to create an appropriate immune response in people of all ages.


By Brian Owens, Inside Science -- Wearable fitness monitors are all the rage among humans right now, but they are also spreading among farm animals. Researchers hope the devices can help keep herds of beef cows healthy.

Karin Orsel, a veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Calgary in Canada is testing how accelerometers – the same devices inside fitness monitors that measure a person's activity level – can be used to detect disease in beef cattle before it becomes obvious to ranchers.

The price fluctuation of fine wines can now be predicted more accurately using a novel artificial intelligence approach. The method could be used to help fine wine investors make more informed decisions about their portfolios and encourage non-wine investors to start looking at wine in this manner and hence increase the net trade of wine.

It is expected that similar techniques will be used in other 'alternative assets' such as classic cars.