Category Archives: Research

Researchers Teach Robots To Avoid Childhood Bullies

“…By assessing the current situation, the robots are able to tell if, say, a child is alone or with a parent…” – original author

TechCrunch

Kids are mean. Just ask any robot.

Robotics engineers have discovered a tendency for little kids – kindergarteners and grade schoolers – to be abusive towards robots when they’re not near their parents. To prove this, the researchers sent a wheeled robot out into a mall and watched it perambulate around foot traffic. When a little kid approached with his or her parent, the kid tended to tease the robot for a moment – stand in its way, for example – and then move on. But if you got three or four little tykes together you would see them abuse the robot by pushing it, hitting it, and even making a ring around it so it couldn’t escape.

In an initial paper researchers discovered that even if the robot were life-like and “friendly,” children would abuse it, a trait that has been exhibited in childhood animal abuse. In fact, humans only gain…

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Verge Genomics Wants To Cure Neurodegenerative Diseases Through Advanced Algorithms

“Big pharma is taking the approach of covering the best player on the court, whereas we approach the game by spreading out our defense and covering the whole team, man-to-man.”- Jason Chen

TechCrunch

Launching out of the Y Combinator accelerator, Verge Genomics is looking to find cures for brain diseases. Diseases such as Alzheimers, ALS, and Parkinsons are complex diseases that usually involve a network of genes, as opposed to a single gene.

According to the company, over 99.9 percent of drug discoveries ultimately fail because researchers are looking at a single gene at a time. But Verge Genomics is able to cure brain diseases 1000x more quickly than big pharma by using algorithms to map out the human genome and understand hundreds of genes at once.

The company then takes public information about which genes are affected by already-FDA-approved drugs that may have expired patents and go into testing once the matching process is already complete. By comparison, big pharma goes straight into blind testing on drugs based on single genes, usually spending around $2 billion and 12 years to get a…

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