AI Starts To Manage Traffic On UK Roads

UK councils are using artificial intelligence to detect traffic accidents by monitoring CCTV camera footage. The aim is for the AI to alert traffic operators about incidents in real time, allowing them to act quickly.

This is one of the first uses of AI with public CCTV cameras to collect transport information in the UK, says Richard Cartwright of FlowX, a company working with the councils on the pilot schemes.

The system is trained to recognise nine different types of road user, including pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trucks. It will track their motion as they move through each camera’s field of view.

Devon County Council has begun to use the algorithm to monitor live footage from 10 existing cameras. It will flag anomalies like slow or stationary vehicles, or vehicles travelling in the wrong direction, as potential incidents for an operator to investigate.

Currently, traffic operators rely on reports from police or bus drivers. These can be delayed by 10 to 15 minutes after an accident, says Cartwright.

Once launched, the algorithm will be given time to learn the regular traffic patterns at the location of each camera, so that it can recognise normal variations throughout a day, such as congestion during rush hour.

A pilot involving one camera has also been agreed with Leeds City Council and FlowX is in talks to use the technology across the UK, including with five other local authorities.

San Francisco Bans Face Recognition and Surveillance Tech

San Francisco has become the first major city in America, if not the world, to effectively ban facial recognition technologyand other forms of state surveillance.

In an 8-1 vote recently, the city’s Board of Supervisors passed a new ordinance that requires all local government departments – including the police – to follow a series of new policies and get explicit permission from the Board before introducing any new technology that stores information on individuals.

The ordinance also requires all departments to produce a report within 60 days that lists any and all technology, including software, that is used to “collect, retain, process or share” a person’s data: broadly defined as any data that is “audio, electronic, visual, location, thermal, biometric, olfactory or similar.”

It provides an extensive example list of the sort of technologies included: cell site simulators, license plate readers, closed-circuit television cameras, gunshot detection hardware, body cameras, DNA capture technology, biometric software and so on.

Oil Industry Hs Understood Impact Of Climate Change For 40 Years

The sharp rise in climate temperatures might seem like something nobody could’ve predicted but there’s at least one group of scientists that were on the money 37 years ago: Exxon’s ace team of scientists.

Internal memos unearthed in InsideClimate’s Pulitzer-winning 2015 investigation into the company revealed all sorts of solid science being done even as the oil giant sowed doubt in public. Bloomberg revisited the memos in light of the world’s new carbon dioxide milestone and tweeted a graph from one showing just how much Exxon knew what our future would look like.

It’s eerie seeing how well the company understood both climate science and the world’s patterns of economic growth built on the back of fossil fuels.

Nike Offers Virtual Fitting For Your Next Trainers

 Buying shoes online is a risky business, as it’s hard to know if they’ll fit once they arrive on your doorstep. Nike is attempting to address that issue, with its app-based and artificial intelligence-enabled Nike Fit system.

The footwear company already has an app that allows customers to browse and buy shoes via their smartphone. When it gets to the point where they’re asked to select a size, however, users will soon be offered the option of using the Nike Fit feature.

If they choose to do so, they’ll start by standing against a wall in their sock-clad feet. They will then point their phone’s rear camera down at those feet, using an onscreen guide to make sure that the phone is being held horizontally level. The app will subsequently use the camera to visually identify and scan both feet, collecting 13 data points on each one within a matter of seconds.

Uber And Lyft Are Making San Francisco’s Traffic Worse

Weekday travel times in the Golden Gate city increased a shocking 62 percent between 2010 and 2016, and a growing number of studies are finding that ride sharing services are chiefly to blame. The latest study ran simulated traffic models with and without ride shares to determine how much impact they make.

San Francisco is by no means an enormous city, with a population approaching 900,000 it’s only around the 13th largest in America, but it’s by far the most future-forward spot in the United States, and the birthplace of Uber, Lyft and any number of other ride-share companies looking to disrupt the status quo.

With some 45,000 ride-sharing cars on the road making 170,000 trips per day (2017 figures), it’s also an excellent test bed to see the effect that such services have on traffic flow. Ride sharing advocates would point to the numbers of single-occupant cars on the road, and claim that ride sharing – and Uber Pool-style multi-passenger ride splitting – makes more efficient use of a vehicle.

On the other hand, you’re also radically lowering the bar to get into the taxi business, and flooding the roads with tens of thousands of vehicles purchased mainly to be used as ride share services, who spend as much as 20 percent (in SF) to 50 percent (in New York City) rolling about waiting for a job with no passenger on board.

First 3D-Printed Neighbourhood Under Construction

 A noble plan to improve housing access for those in need through cutting-edge construction technology is gathering momentum, with a blueprint now in place for what is billed as the world’s first 3D-printed community.

Set to take shape in Latin America, the cluster of homes is designed for families living on less than US$200 a month, and will ideally serve as proof of concept for low-cost housing solutions around the world.

The project is a joint initiative from non-profit New Story, Yves Béhar’s design firm Fuseproject and construction technology company Icon to provide housing solutions for the homeless. At the SXSW festival in Texas last year, the team revealed an impressive example of how this vision might take shape, showing off a full-sized proof of concept model of a 350 sq ft (32 sq m) home.

The use of 3D printing in architecture has taken significant steps forward of late. We’ve seen the technology put to use to construct offices, a castle and even 10 houses in 24 hours by one particularly ambitious Chinese firm. While there will be variations in how it is tuned to these different projects, generally speaking, large 3D printers for construction extrude a mortar through the nozzle in programmed patterns, layer by layer, until the basic structure of the building is formed.

Do You Eat High Fat Because You’re Depressed – Or Does It Cause It?

 An intriguing new study, led by scientists from the University of Glasgow, suggests there is a direct causative link between eating a high-fat diet and the development of depression. The new research demonstrates how certain dietary fats can enter the brain, disrupt specific signalling pathways in the hypothalamus, and subsequently induce signs of depression.

Scientists have long observed a strong correlation between obesity and depression and, while it may seem like the two are simply interlinked through obvious psychological associations, some studies are starting to suggest the connection may actually be underpinned by biological mechanisms.

One compelling study from 2018 found that mice given a high-fat diet displayed depressive behaviours until microbiome-altering antibiotics returned their behaviour back to normal. This study inferred that high-fat diets may cultivate certain populations of gut bacteria that have the capacity to induce neurochemical changes leading to depression symptoms.

This new study moves away from specifically investigating gut bacteria to examine what neurological mechanisms could be triggered by high-fat diets that lead to the development of depression. After the research initially verified that both dietary and genetically induced obesity led to depression-like behaviours in mouse models, the scientists zoomed in on what was happening in the animal’s brains to induce the changes.

Is This A Con, Or Is It Genius? “Magnet Generator Produces Free Power”

 Dennis Danzik, the science and technology officer for Wyoming-based Inductance Energy Corp., says he has invented a magnetic generator, a flywheel system that extracts usable energy from the interplay of exotic magnets—also known as a free-energy device, a cousin to the fabled perpetual-motion machine.

It might be expected that Mr. Danzik, 61, an industrial engineer but not a trained physicist, to tread lightly, perhaps starting with a small lab apparatus to prove his theories.

Actually, he has built several, including Crystal, a 1,222-pound demonstrator fabricated out of Lexan polycarbonate, so as to be literally transparent to visitors and sceptics. As you read this, IEC is live streaming the Crystal from its lab in Scottsdale.

If Crystal is working as advertised, Mr. Danzik will have revealed a new field in, well, fields, the dynamics among his proprietary magnets and their ability to do work. He will have also achieved something that has eluded great minds from Leonardo da Vinci to electrical pioneer Nikola Tesla. How is that even possible? “Tesla didn’t have rare-earth magnets and digital machine control,” Mr. Danzik said.

Smart Pyjamas Can Monitor Your Sleep

The pyjamas you wear to bed may soon be able to tell how well you are sleeping. Trisha Andrew and her colleagues at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, have developed a cotton pyjama shirt that has sensors for monitoring breathing, heartbeat and movement.

The shirt can be used to monitor the wearer’s sleep quality, such as the amount of REM sleep they are getting, which is thought to be important for consolidating memories, or if they have breathing issues during the night.

Five lightweight sensors are sewn into the lining of the shirt. Four of the sensors detect constant pressure, like that of a body pressed against a bed. The fifth, positioned over the chest, senses rapid pressure changes, providing information about heart rate and breathing.

The sensors are connected by wires made from thread thinly coated in silver. “They are sewed onto the seams of the shirt, so you don’t see them,” says Andrew. The shirt is fully machine-washable.

Signals collected from the five patches are sent to a tiny circuit board that looks and functions like an ordinary pyjama button. The button has a built-in Bluetooth transmitter that sends the data wirelessly to a computer for analysis.

The pyjama shirt is still in its early stages – it has been tested overnight on only eight people, and the team is still in the process of ensuring the sensors are accurate for a variety of body shapes and heights.

Andrew says the shirt cannot yet be used to diagnose medical issues, but the goal is to eventually replace lab-based sleep studies where participants are hooked up to various machines overnight. Instead, they could simply put on the pyjama top.

Your Gut Biome Will Be Mapped Onto A Chip

Harvard University scientists have used an ‘organ-on-a-chip’to recreate human gut microbiomes and diagnose disease-causing imbalances, a new study finds.

In the last decade, we’ve learned that the gut and the bacteria populations that live in it have far more influence on our overall health than previously thought.

But studying how these bacteria behave within the gut has been next to impossible – until now.

The team is one of several to develop an ‘organ-on-a-chip’ a microprocessor can mimic not only the makeup but the activities of lungs, intestines, kidneys and more, to help scientists better understand diseases and test drugs to treat them

Now, they have developed a chip intestine that can sustain the complex microbes that would exist in a human gut, as well as a microchip version of the human intestine.

Their latest achievement, they hope, will pave the way to being able to work out what a ‘healthy’ gut microbiome looks like so scientists can test, treat and prevent diseases that are linked to these microorganisms.

Editing Tomato Genes To Bring Back The Tomato Taste

 It’s no secret that tomatoes plucked from the supermarket aisles just aren’t as tasty as those fresh from your garden patch or a local market. That difference is tomato growers select for genes that help the fruit survive the long journey, sacrificing taste in the process.

To find taste genesthat could be spliced back into commercial crops, researchers have now complied a pan-genome of all cultivated and related wild tomato species, uncovering almost 5,000 previously-unknown genes.

The domestic tomato genome was fully sequenced back in 2012, but that was only one particular breed, known as Heinz 1706. More recent work has gone into studying other varieties, including heirloom tomatoes that are more flavourful, before they were bred out of the modern commercially produced fruit in favour of appearance and shelf life.

The new work has expanded that view out to a full genome of all regularly-grown tomato breeds and their closest relatives. That includes all genes from 725 different types of tomatoes, and in doing so the team discovered an extra 4,873 genes that weren’t included in the base Heinz 1706 genome.

That gives growers plenty of new tools to work with for growing tastier, healthier or longer-lasting tomatoes. And in terms of flavour, one gene in particular caught their attention. TomLoxC was found to add floral and fruity notes to tomatoes by producing more of a certain group of apocarotenoids.