A natural biomolecule has been measured acting like a quantum wave for the first time

Physicists have watched a chain of 15 amino acids interfere with itself, in an experiment that paves the way for a new era of quantum biology.

One of the great counterintuitive puzzles of quantum mechanics is wave-particle duality. This is the phenomenon in which objects behave both like particles and like waves.

Numerous experiments have shown that a single particle—an electron or a photon, for example—can interfere with itself, like a wave. The double slit experiment, in which a particle passes through two slits at the same time, is a famous demonstration.

And because all objects are fundamentally quantum in nature, they all have an associated wavelength. So in principle, macroscopic objects should show this kind of wave-particle duality too, given a sensitive enough experiment.

Physicists haven’t yet devised a way to measure the wavelike nature of very large objects, but their ambition in this respect has been steadily increasing. In 1999, they demonstrated the wave-particle duality of fullerene molecules. And other groups have since done the same with even larger molecules.

And that raises the interesting question of how big they can go. Could they, for example, measure the quantum properties of the molecules of life itself?

Today, they get an answer thanks to the work of Armin Shayeghi at the University of Vienna and a few colleagues, who for the first time, have demonstrated quantum interference in molecules of gramicidin, a natural antibiotic made up of 15 amino acids. Their work paves the way for the study of the quantum properties of biomolecules and sets the scene for experiments that exploit the quantum nature of enzymes, DNA, and perhaps one day simple life forms such as viruses.

Shayeghi and co’s experiment is simple in principle. Their approach is to create a beam of ultracold gramicidin molecules and then to measure the interference pattern created when this beam interferes with itself. This interference pattern is then clear evidence of the wavelike nature of the molecules.

That’s easier said than done. The first problem is creating the beam of individual biomolecules, which are particularly fragile and easy to break apart.

Shayeghi and co do this by coating the edge of a spinning wheel with a thin layer of gramicidin. The team then fires a series of short laser pulses at the wheel to knock the gramicidin molecules off the surface. The laser pulses have to be short enough—just a few femtoseconds in length—to kick the biomolecules without damaging them.

Quantum interference of biomolecules

The free-floating gramicidin molecules are then swept up in a beam of argon atoms travelling at 600 meters per second. In this beam, the gramicidin has a wavelength of 350 femtometers (1 femtometer is 1×10-15 meters).

The final step is to measure the pattern created by the wave interfering with itself.

This is perhaps the most difficult bit. The wavelength of the beam is about a thousandth that of the biomolecules themselves (as measured by how closely they can pack together).  So the team require a technique that can measure patterns on that scale.

That’s where interferometry comes in. The team use an extraordinarily sensitive technique known as Talbot-Lau interferometry to measure the size of the interference pattern.

And the results are persuasive. “The molecular coherence is delocalized over more than 20 times the molecular size,” say Shayeghi and co. This kind of “smearing“ of the biomolecules would be impossible if the gramicidin molecules were pure particles. It is possible only with wavelike interference.

Other researchers have measured wave-particle duality for larger molecules. But they have used techniques that would tear apart the delicate molecules of life. The new technique will allow more detailed study of the quantum properties of biomolecules.

“The successful realization of quantum optics with this polypeptide as a prototypical biomolecule paves the way for quantum assisted molecule metrology and in particular the optical spectroscopy of a large class of biologically relevant molecules,” say the researchers.

That’s interesting research with significant potential to help to tease apart the fabulously complex processes at work in the machinery of life.

Ref: : Matter-Wave Interference Of A Native Polypeptide

The Netatmo Weather Station has existed as a product for a while, but only recently added HomeKit support, which is what piqued my interest. I’ve been testing the Netatmo Weather Station for about a week, and I think it is really great. Any drawbacks originate from weaknesses in the HomeKit standard; these are Apple’s problems to fix.

The Weather Station is really a modular ecosystem of accessories. However, you get a lot of mileage out of just the core product — which is what I’ve been using.

In the box, you get a base station and an outdoor sensor module. The base station connects to your home WiFi to communicate with the app and the web, and it also contains room sensors.

The base station is powered by a wire to the wall, the outdoor module relies on AAA batteries. The outdoor module communicates with the base station over a private radio frequency, with a quoted range up to 100 meters.

I hid the base station in the corner of the living room, behind the TV cabinet, and put the outdoor module in the garden. The company advises placing the outdoor unit in a place where it is not subject to direct rainfall even though it is obviously designed to be water-resistant.

The unit is a bit ugly — a black finish would be more discreet than silver — but it is small enough that it should be straightforward to position it out of sight. I used the included velcro restraints to strap mine to the leg of an outside coffee table. The tabletop obscures it from view and stops raindrops hitting it head-on.

You use the Netatmo app to set up the whole system; the standard affair of typing in WiFi passwords and doing a software update. The HomeKit support is still “rolling out” over the next month or so, I got the alert to add to Apple Home after a couple of days.

What information do you get from these two canisters of sensors? For the indoor sensors in the base station, there’s temperature and humidity. You also have sensors for CO² (measured in parts per million) and an overall air quality detector. In Apple Home, you can trigger automations in response to changes from the carbon dioxide or air quality sensors. You can also get push notification alerts delivered to your phone for the carbon dioxide sensor, again through the standard Home app integration.

By default, iOS 13 presents the accessory as a combined single tile. This means you get one platter in the Home app to look at and a summary of the state of all accessories when you long-press to see the details. Whilst the combined summary screen isn’t bad, the main tile is useless in this state, offering no dynamic information.

Thankfully, with iOS 13.2, you can choose to “Show as Separate Tiles”. This splits every accessory up and puts all the information for a room available at a glance. (Even when separated out, the Carbon Dioxide tile is unhelpfully static. If you long press on it to see details, it can show you your latest ppm measurement. Apple Home just doesn’t include that information on the tile itself.)

This setting does not sync between users of the HomeKit home, so you have to do it separately for everyone. You may also want to customize which sensors appear in the status section on the main screen of the Home app. I stopped most of the sensors from showing up to reduce clutter but left the indoor temperature visible.

For the outdoor module, you get humidity and temperature readouts. You can pair additional indoor modules to track data for additional rooms in the house but you can only have one outdoor sensor. I have been really pleased with the precision of the data and the speed at which the accessories refresh in the Home app. (The indoor Air Quality sensor keeps firing ‘Inferior’ warnings which is the only thing that seems out of line, although I’m not really sure how to really verify the accuracy.)

If you notice in the Garden room screenshot above, there’s a tile for “Rain Gauge”. This is an add-on option for the Weather Station. Unfortunately, the accessory is not supported in Apple Home due to deficiencies in the HomeKit platform. However, Netatmo has committed to releasing software updates for the Weather Station as Apple expands the universe of possible HomeKit integrations.

If you look in the dedicated Netatmo app, you will find the Weather Station also records noise levels (in decibels) and atmospheric pressure. These metrics are also currently unavailable to be exposed to HomeKit. Like all other HomeKit accessories, historical readings and charts are not part of HomeKit protocol but are offered in the Netatmo app if you are interested in digging in deeper.

There’s a lot of capability on display and a lot of untapped potential to be incorporated as Apple expands the HomeKit standard. I wholeheartedly recommend the Netatmo Weather Station if you are in the market for HomeKit-integrated room sensors. Find out more information on the company’s website.

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OWC USB-C Dock deal

Turns Out Elon Musk-Backed OpenAI’s Text Generator Is More Funny Than Dangerous, For Now

Illustration for article titled Turns Out Elon Musk-Backed OpenAIs Text Generator Is More Funny Than Dangerous, For Now
Photo: Jae C. Hong (AP)

Elon Musk-backed non-profit OpenAI, which claimed to have developed a machine learning-powered text generation software so powerful that it couldn’t be ethically released to the public, has… done just that.

OpenAI previously said that the text generator, using the GPT-2 software and trained on some 40 gigabytes of data yanked from eight million websites, was so good at generating text from a given prompt that it could be used to generate convincing hoax stories. The Guardian described it as “capable of writing plausible passages that match what it is given in both style and subject,” as well as significantly better for general usage purposes than preceding models. Musk is one of OpenAI’s primary funders, though he has been outspoken about his belief that AI poses an existential threat to humanity and reduced his role at the organization last year.

In a blog post this week, OpenAI said that although it had determined humans find the outputs of their trained GPT-2 model convincing and it was capable of creating “synthetic propaganda,” the nonprofit had found no strong evidence of misuse. Users can now access the full-sized GPT-2 text translator on

While the GPT-2 model does generate comprehensible text in a reasonably correct tone and style, and it’s easy to imagine situations in which it could be misused… This is real “your mileage may vary” territory. It’s hard to describe it as particularly dangerous in its current form (though Gizmodo did get it to spit out an eerily good fake Federal Communications Commission letter on net neutrality).

“The words ‘too dangerous’ were casually thrown out here without a lot of thought or experimentation,” researcher Delip Rao told the Verge. “I don’t think [OpenAI] spent enough time proving it was actually dangerous.”

On the other hand, GPT-2 has just enough grasp of the English language to be extremely funny (at least until it gets good enough to help usher in an even more dystopian future). We took it for a spin, and honestly, it was hard to stop. Check out some examples below:

Illustration for article titled Turns Out Elon Musk-Backed OpenAIs Text Generator Is More Funny Than Dangerous, For Now
Screenshot: Talk to Transformer
Illustration for article titled Turns Out Elon Musk-Backed OpenAIs Text Generator Is More Funny Than Dangerous, For Now
Screenshot: Talk to Transformer
Screenshot: Talk to Transformer

Brilliant Smart Home Control review: A convenient control center for your smart home

A convenient control center for all of your smart home gadgets.



Brilliant Smart Home ControlSource: Rebecca Spear / Android Central

These days our homes tend to be filled with several smart devices and gadgets. While these things can make our lives a lot easier, it can be kind of overwhelming when there are so many different ones. It helps to have a central smart home control center of some kind so you can manage all of these devices from one location. Enter the Brilliant Smart Home Control. It’s a clever device that installs directly in place of any existing light switch and helps you control the lights in your home as well as other smart devices.

I tested two of these units – a 1 Switch unit and a 2 Switch unit – for a month. I paid particular attention to how well the light switches work, the number of features available in the menus, and the number of smart devices it’s compatible with. During this time, the switches worked beautifully and never gave me any issues. Like with most things, they aren’t perfect, but they’re a seriously helpful tool once they’ve been set up.

One-stop smart panel

Brilliant Smart Home Control


Helpful and beautiful

Bottom line: This is definitely a pricey product, however, it’s also incredibly helpful. You’ll be able to control several smart home products, lights, and interact with your smart home assistant by using this control panel. The best part is that it looks great and installs in place of an existing light switch. It’s a great tool for anyone who owns several different smart home devices.


  • Intuitive interface
  • Compatible with several smart products and assistants
  • Two-way microphone
  • Relatively easy to install
  • Six gorgeous colors


  • Expensive
  • Cannot play music from the panel

Brilliant Smart Home Panel What I like

Brilliant Smart Home Control 1 SwitchSource: Rebecca Spear / Android Central

For testing purposes, I installed a 2 Switch unit and a 1 Switch unit in my home. The 1 Switch unit is currently in my office, while the 2 Switch unit is installed at the bottom of my basement stairs. I’m not the handiest of persons out there, but I do know how to wire a light switch. That being the case, this was a relatively easy unit to install. It also helps that these units came with an Installation Guide. I used it to step me through removing my existing light switches and replacing them with Brilliant ones. I’d say that as long as you feel comfortable wiring something, you’ll be able to remove your current light switch and install this one. If that’s a daunting prospect, you’ll want to find someone to do it for you.

Pressing a button on the Base of the Brilliant Smart Home PanelSource: Rebecca Spear / Android Central

Something I appreciate is that these devices are designed in such a way that you can test to makes sure the wiring was done correctly before sliding the Faceplate onto the Base. You’ll find one test button for each switch. As you can see in the image to the left, I was able to press the buttons on the 2 Switch Base to make sure the unit actually turned the lights on before I slid the Faceplate into place.

If you need to, you can remove the Faceplate after it’s been installed. However, it’s just not as easy to do so. Similarly, you can see that there are metal contact points on the base that interact with contacts on the Faceplate. If you ever need to restart the device for any reason, you simply remove the Faceplate, wait a few seconds, and then put it back in place.

Intuitive setup and interface Super easy to use

Using the panel is a breeze. I just tap the screen to wake the unit up and then swipe to the side to access the different menus and devices connected with the panel. The interface is intuitive and offers plenty of helpful settings options, which allowed me to customize my Brilliant panels the way I wanted. When not in use, the units default to displaying the time and date while scrolling through a slideshow of gorgeous stock pictures.

When I downloaded the Brilliant app, I discovered that it allowed me to upload my own pictures and have the Brilliant double as a digital picture frame. So obviously, I added several pictures of my cat and dog to the slideshow. I love walking into my office and seeing my favorite images flash on the screen. Brilliant only allows you to add up to 50 images, so you’ll need to be selective in what you add, but it’s nice that you can do this. Alternatively, If you prefer to save energy, you can make it so the screen only turns on when touched.

Simply slide your finger up and down on the capacitive screen to dim the lights or turn them on and off.

As stated previously, I tested both a 1 Switch unit and a 2 Switch unit. The 2 Switch offers two capacitative light switch controls to the right of the screen. Simply slide your finger up or down on these indented sections to turn the lights on or off. Depending on the lights you have installed in your home, you can even use this slider to dim your lights to whatever percentage you want.

The 1 Switch unit doesn’t feature the finger slider area for controlling lights, but it operates basically the same way. Simply slide a finger up or down on the screen to control the main light that it’s connected to. You don’t have to wake the screen up in order to use this function. Just simply slide your finger up or down. It took me a while to get used to feeling a smooth screen rather than a plastic switch when feeling for the light, but the smart switch works wonderfully every time I use it.

If you have multiple Brilliant Smart Home Panels installed in your home, then you’ll be able to control any of the lights connected to these various Smart Home Panels from any Brilliant Panel in your home. For example, while interacting with the Brilliant panel that I have installed in my office, I’m able to control the lights connected to the Brilliant panel that I have installed in the basement. I can even press a button and turn all of the lights on in my home that are connected to Brilliant devices if I want to.

Brilliant also offers 3 Switch and 4 Switch smart home panels if you’re wanting to replace a light switch that controls that many connections.

Compatibility Smart devices and assistants

Brilliant Smart Home Control setting up smart devicesSource: Rebecca Spear / Android Central

Something I love about the Brilliant Smart Home Panel switches is that they are incredibly easy to use. The minute I finished wiring it into place and attached the Faceplate, the device walked me through the Wi-Fi setup. I was also able to connect it with various smart devices around my home, including some Bluetooth speakers and my Schlage Encode. I’m able to lock and unlock my door, control my music, view video doorbell feeds, and interact with those on my porch from this device. It’s super convenient.

To pair a smart gadget, you swipe through the icons on the bottom of the screen until you come across the “Add Devices” option. This will take you to a list of compatible devices. If your smart product is compatible with Brilliant, then the panel will walk you through the setup. If the device you want to pair isn’t compatible, then you can tap the button that reads “Don’t See Your Device?” and Brilliant will make a note that you accessed that page.

Checking the weather using Amazon Alexa on Brilliant Smart Home ControlSource: Rebecca Spear / Android Central

This control panel even has Amazon Alexa built right into it, so I was able to connect it to my account. Now I interact with Alexa directly from the smart panel. An unexpected perk about this is that I was able to remove my Echo Dot from my office and place it in another room where I didn’t previously have one. Additionally, when I’m in my office, I can now command Alexa to do things without there being a small device taking up space on a shelf. It’s proven to be incredibly helpful, especially since things show up on the screen now when I ask Alexa a question.

For example, when I ask what the weather is like, the screen displays the weather while Alexa audibly gives me the details. If I ask it to tell me the definition of a word, the word description appears on the screen as Alexa talks. It’s like having a super-simplified Echo Show 5 or a magic mirror in my home.

This smart panel also works with Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, Nest thermostats, Sonos speakers, Hue lights, August Locks, and Ring Video Doorbells, among other things. Brilliant’s website also states that Apple HomeKit compatibility is coming soon, so Apple users will find it more convenient to use in the future.

Being able to connect several of my smart home devices to this control panel makes it a lot easier to manage my home. It also helps that these Brilliant panels look good in any room. The company offers six different colors to help you find a panel that matches your decor.

Helpful features Plenty of conveniences

Using video intercom on Brilliant Smart Home PanelSource: Rebecca Spear / Android Central

In addition to controlling your smart devices and interacting with your preferred smart home assistants, Brilliant has a few helpful features on its own. You’ll note that there are a camera and a microphone in the upper right corner of the unit. When two or more Brilliant switches are set up in your home, you’ll be able to view live feeds from each Brilliant device or use the video intercom to communicate through the other Brilliant devices. I’ve used it to let my husband know when dinner is ready or to get his attention when I don’t want to walk down the stairs.

The Broadcast feature lets me tell everyone in my home that dinner is ready.

I also often squirrel myself away in my office so I can write, undisturbed. The intercom allows my husband to check in with me briefly without actually interrupting my workflow. The way the intercom works, someone accesses the panel and calls to a specific Brilliant installed somewhere else in your home. It’s then up to another person to answer this call. For your voice to travel to another Brilliant’s speakers, you need to hold down the button. This allows us to talk back and forth without me needing to leave the room. Something I like is that I can determine how loud I want the sound to be by moving the slider along the screen.

The video quality isn’t the best, but then again, you likely aren’t going to be using it for long stretches at a time. The visuals are good enough that you’ll be able to talk to a family member and get a decent view of them on the other line. I like that the camera has a built-in cover so you can slide the plastic tab over the lens whenever the camera isn’t in use. That way, I feel safer knowing that my privacy is protected and that no one can access my video feed.

Alternatively, you can also use the Broadcast feature to send the same audio message to every Brilliant in your home. It’s the perfect way to let everyone know that dinner is ready or that it’s time to go somewhere without having to run all over your house and tell everyone individually.

Brilliant Smart Home Control What I don’t like

Picture of the Brilliant Smart Home ControlSource: Rebecca Spear / Android Central

The expense Definitely costs a pretty penny

Smart control panels are pricey, and the same goes for the Brilliant Smart Home Control. The price goes up with the number of switches you want on the unit. Additionally, the color of the panel you choose affects the price. The white units are the least expensive and range anywhere from $300 for a 1-Switch Control to $450 for a 4-Switch Control. If you plan on placing one of these switch controls in several rooms of your house, the cost will easily add up. It can be pretty hard to cough up that much money.

If you don’t use smart home devices or smart assistants, then this will just be an expensive light switch.

The thing is, this really isn’t a bad price for what these devices offer. I’ll add a caveat to that in saying that if you don’t already own several compatible smart home devices, then these units probably aren’t a good fit for you. They’ll end up being expensive light switches in that case. However, if you currently have things like a Ring Video Doorbell, Hue lights, a Schlage Encode smart lock, Sonos speakers, or a Nest thermostat, then you’ll find plenty of value in this device. One of the best things about choosing a smart home panel instead of relying on a hub is that all of the wires are hidden away and don’t clutter up your home.

Music and speakers Sound quality

Using built-in Alexa on Brilliant Smart Home ControlSource: Rebecca Spear / Android Central

The Brilliant Smart Home Panel isn’t compatible with music players on its own; you’ll need to connect a Sonos smart speaker if you want to listen to tunes. If you already have a Sonos speaker, this won’t be a problem; you’ll be able to access Spotify or several other music services using the panel. However, these speakers are pretty expensive, and not everyone owns one or is willing to buy one.

I can’t even get Alexa to play music from the Brilliant panel. Instead, it states, “Sorry, music and radio playback are not supported on this device.” Additionally, while the panel’s built-in speaker is good enough for brief communication around your home, it really wouldn’t be good for playing music on its own anyway.

Bottom line, the Brilliant Smart Home Panel is designed to be connected to an external Bluetooth speaker so you can easily set it up with a nice sound system. However, it would have been nice if I could have played music directly on the device.

Brilliant Smart Home Control Should you buy it?

Brilliant Smart Home Control showing a slideshowSource: Rebecca Spear / Android Central

During the month that I tested the Brilliant Smart Home Control, I grew to love it. It doubles as a digital photo frame, allows me to view live camera feeds from the other Brilliant unit installed in my home, and lets me control several lights and smart devices from one location.

I definitely recommend it for people who use a smart assistant and several smart gadgets or for people who are planning to convert their home into a smart home. Conversely, if you don’t have a lot of smart gadgets and you don’t usually use a smart home assistant, then this device will just be an expensive light switch.

4.5 out of 5    

Overall, these Brilliant Smart Home Control units have made it easier for me to communicate with my family without having to yell or run around to each room, they’ve made managing my smart devices more convenient, and they look great wherever they go. If you’re planning on getting some, just remember that you might need to have someone install it for you if you aren’t comfortable with wiring.

One-stop smart panel

Brilliant Smart Home Control


Helpful and gorgeous

This is definitely a pricey product, however, it’s also incredibly helpful. You’ll be able to control several smart home products, lights, and interact with your smart home assistant by using this control panel. The best part is that it looks great and installs in place of an existing light switch. It’s a great tool for anyone who owns several different smart home devices.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

NIU has an extensive line of popular electric scooters, but that hasn’t stopped the company from innovating even further.


NIU is here at the EICMA 2019 Milan Motorcycle Show to debut its newest models, and we got an up-close look at the new rides. This year’s additions to the NIU product line include three electric scooters and an electric bicycle.

NIU MQiGT electric scooter

NIU’s two-seater M-series of electric scooters get the GT treatment with a speed boost up to 70 km/h (44 mph).

The scooter features a 3,000 W Bosch rear hub motor, making it a more powerful version of the company’s previous MQi electric scooters. It also features either a single or dual 2 kWh battery.

And unlike most electric scooter companies that advertise unrealistic ranges in non-real world scenarios, NIU tells you exactly what you can expect out of the scooter. The NIU MQiGT electric scooter gets the following range ratings with the dual battery option:

135 km (84 mi) at 25 km/h (15 mph)

95 km (59 mi) at 45 km/h (28 mph)

55 km (34 mi) at 70 km/h (44 mph)

NIU NQiGTs Pro electric scooter

The NIU NQiGTs Pro electric scooter is designed for suburban commuters that have more demanding requirements than most city commuters.

The NIU NQiGTs Pro gets larger 14-in wheels, upgraded suspension, and dual 2.1 kWh batteries for a total 4.2 kWh of capacity. The scooter also gets a 3,000 W Bosch rear hub motor.

NIU rates the scooter’s range as follows:

150 km (93 mi) at 25 km/h (15 mph)

100 km (62 mi) at 45 km/h (28 mph)

70 km (44 mi) at 70 km/h (44 mph)


NIU’s U-series has been the companies smallest – and cutest – electric scooter line. It’s the scooter that bridges the gap between electric bicycles and larger electric scooters and is more portable than the rest of NIU’s scooter line up. If you need to take your scooter in an elevator up to your office or apartment for some reason, this is the one you want.

And this year the UQiGT Pro improves upon the U-series line with upgrades including larger 15-in wheels to improve the ride quality on pockmarked city streets. The new model reaches a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) yet retains its small and lightweight package.

Power comes from a 1,200 W Bosch hub motor in the rear wheel.


The NIU UQiGT Pro gets the following range ratings:

85 km (53 mi) at 25 km/h (15 mph)

50 km (31 mi) at 45 km/h (28 mph)

NIU Aero EB-01 electric bicycle

NIU claims that its new Aero EB-01 is the most energy-efficient vehicle that the company has ever made. And that makes sense, considering most of their scooters don’t get the benefit of human-powered assistance.

The Aero EB-01 features a 1 kWh removable battery and has a top speed of 25 km/h (15 mph) in the EU, or a much more fun 45 km/h (28 mph) in the US.

The Aero EB-01 leverages NIU’s experience in electric scooter building and combines it with the convenience of a lightweight electric bicycle.

As such, the EB-01 benefits from full suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, a scooter style dashboard display, and LED lighting more consistent with scooter lighting including high and low beam lights.

When is NIU expanding its electric scooters and bicycles to the US?

NIU is still working on its rollout in the US and has made significant progress. So far, the N-series scooters have passed all DOT homologation requirements and NIU expects to open its first retail locations in the US this spring, or potentially as early as this winter in the southern US.

In total, NIU hopes to open around 10 exclusive NIU stores in the US in 2020 and partner with existing dealerships to have as many as 50 retail locations across the US.

Google updates Teachable Machine so you can train an AI without code

Google updates Teachable Machine so you can train an AI without code

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are complex subjects and while you might see them being mentioned every day, you might not necessarily understand how they work.

Two years ago, Google launched a site called Teachable Machine, which let you train a simple model using their camera without any code. Now, it’s launching an updated version so you can train more advanced models.

The earlier version allowed you to train three classes through your camera. The new model, not only lets you define more than three classes, it also allows you to use images, audio clips, pose data, or your own dataset for the training.

Here are some of the most prominent features of the updated Teachable Machine:

  • Train a model on image data

  • Train a model on audio data

  • Train a model on pose data (like in Posenet)

  • Upload your own datasets to train models

  • Train more than 3 classes per model

  • Disable classes

  • Save your TensorFlow.js model

  • Download your model

  • Deploy your model to use in your own project (websites, apps, physical machines, etc.)

Google said some folks have already built some interesting projects using the Teachable Machine. For example, technology expert Steve Sailing built a communication tool for people with speech imparity.

Meanwhile, Yining Shi, a professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, and her students, built a gaming model that was trained to move using different gestures.

Irene Alvarado@ire_alva

At ITP @yining_shi‘s students graciously tried beta & they made some awesome projects! This one by Dylan Dawkins is sweet, he trained a model to navigate a character in Unity WebGL using his ✋🏽s.

Full project: https://dylandawkinsblog.wordpress.com 

See Irene Alvarado’s other Tweets

The company said you don’t have to worry about your data as the whole process takes place locally on your machine. Plus, since the model is powered by Google’s popular open-source machine learning library Tensorflow, you can easily plug it into apps or websites.

This is quite useful for novices like me who haven’t ever coded for machine learning applications. You can probably create a custom AI assistant or a sorting app if you know a bit of coding. And even if you don’t, this seems like a fun way to spend to learn about one of the hottest tech trends.

You can check out the updated version of the Teachable Machine here.

Scientists should have sex and gender on the brain

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Thinking about sex and gender would help scientists improve their research, a new article published today argues.

Writing in a special 150th anniversary edition of Nature, five experts say these factors are too often ignored.

They say incorporating sex (the biological attribute distinguishing females, males or intersex/hermaphrodite individuals) and  (psychological, social and cultural factors affecting how an individual identifies in society) could improve experiments, reduce bias and create opportunities for discovery and innovation.

The article highlights a host of examples in which including sex and gender has led to advanced understanding or insight—from male and female shellfish responding differently to , to gendered social robots and to computer vision improvements prompted by evidence that facial recognition systems misclassify the sex of darker-skinned women more often than lighter-skinned men.

“It’s striking to what degree sex and gender are overlooked in science,” said co-author Dr. Robert Ellis, of the University of Exeter. “We need to include this at every level of research and in everything we do, or provide robust scientific justification as to why sex or gender are unimportant, based on experimental evidence.

“Things are certainly improving. For example, the original crash test dummies were based on a male physique, however a study found that as a result US female drivers were 47% more likely than males to suffer severe injuries in a comparable crash. Such insight undoubtedly helps engineers design more sophisticated test platforms that will ultimately prevent major injury or save lives.

“Sex and gender are increasingly seen as important in research, but misconceptions and under-consideration still persist. We know, for example, that researchers’ sex can affect how they interpret their observations, so this should be considered during the .”

The paper focusses on four key areas—, biomedicine, robotics and artificial intelligence—but the authors say the lessons apply across scientific disciplines. They highlight scientific successes achieved due to consideration of sex and/or gender.

Dr. Tannenbaum from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research points to our deeper understanding of the genetic basis for sex differences in immunity.

“We now know immune cells function differently depending on whether they have XX or XY chromosomal complement or are exposed to different concentrations of sex hormones in the body. There are exciting implications for antibody treatments and new cancer immunotherapies. Who knows? One day men and women may be treated completely differently for the same health condition. Patients should ask their healthcare provider if the treatment being recommended works equally well for individuals with their same sex and gender. ”

A study in mice showed, surprisingly, that pain levels the animals exhibited changed depending on whether a male researcher was in the room. Researchers concluded that the animals responded to a scent associated with men. What’s more, whilst both female and male animals showed this response, female mice were more sensitive.

Marine biologist Dr. Ellis said: “Within the oceans there are many examples highlighting the importance of considering sex differences within species. In marine turtles, incubation temperature determines the sex of hatchlings, so climate change could poses a major threat to this group and could lead to the total feminisation of some turtle populations.

“Marine biology also reminds us of the need to challenge the assumption that sex is binary and fixed. Clownfish, for example, are ‘protandrous hermaphrodites’ (they mature as male; some change to female). Living in a strict social hierarchy each family contains a single dominant female that mates with a single large male in the .

“All remaining individuals remain juveniles. Removal of the alpha female results in the alpha male changing sex to female, with all subordinates moving up a rung in the . This  certainly adds a fascinating plot twist to the Finding Nemo story, but it also highlights a key area of biology that requires further study in relation to things like climate change.”

The paper says the goal is to “increase transparency, promote inclusion and reset the research default to carefully consider sex and gender, where appropriate”. For instance, one would hardly assume that social robots are attributed a male or female gender.

However, as social psychologist and social roboticist Dr. Friederike Eyssel from Bielefeld University emphasizes: “People use mental shortcuts to evaluate nonhuman entities and through the process of anthropomorphising social robots, humans even ascribe gender to robots. Empirical and experimental research has shown that this impacts the perception of such novel technologies.

“Moreover, gendering robots has strong social and ethical implications that need to be taken into account by developers of  and by stakeholders who aim to deploy robots in various domains of use in people’s everyday lives. At the same time, clearly, further research is called for to explore the effects of gendered technologies in field settings. The existing literature marks a relevant first step to our understanding of the role of sex and gender in the design and uptake of novel technologies.”

The Nature “Perspective” sets out a “roadmap” and calls on researchers, funding agencies, journals and universities to coordinate efforts to implement robust methods of sex and gender analysis. It concludes: “Eyes have been opened, and by integrating sex and gender analysis into their work, researchers can enhance excellence and social responsibility in science and engineering.”

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More information: Sex and gender analysis improves science and engineering, NatureDOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1657-6 ,

Journal information: Nature