Google is pushing more and more into the world of artificial intelligence, announcing a new venture capital firm, Gradient Ventures, that will provide funds and "technical mentorship" to AI startups.
AI startups will be able to talk directly with technical experts at Google, something that includes the minds of Ray Kurzweil, Matias Duarte, and X lab boss Astro Teller. Gradient Ventures is already home to four teams, with Algorithmia a community creating a marketplace for AI-based algorithms and models.
Aurima is making an alternative sensing approach and AI modeling, while Cape is virtualizing drone hardware that lets people fly drones remotely. Lastly, there's Cogniac that is writing software that helps people build convolutional neural networks.
Toyota has just announced its new Toyota AI Ventures initiative, which is a new venture capital subsidiary that will eye down tech companies that are working on AI. The new fund has already received a $100 million injection of funds from the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which is an AI/robotics/autonomous car-focused initiative the Japanese carmaker started in 2015.
Toyota AI Ventures will focus its investments directly into AI, robotics, autonomous vehicles, as well as data and cloud technology. It w ill also offer companies that it invests in both mentorship, and support at its HQ in Silicon Valley. TRI VP Jim Adler said in a statement: "One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is knowing if they're building the right product for the right market. We can help them navigate that uncertainty, and we're committed to doing so in a founder-friendly way because their success is our success".
This new venture will be a little different, with TRI not just waiting for pitches from investors, but it will look for, and support companies that are on the path towards solving something Toyota is interested in. TRI has already funded 3 startups, with Silicon Valley-based Nauto, a company that designs systems for companies that monitors their driver and road environments to stop accidents or bad driving.
The second startup TRI has funded is SLAMcore in the UK which is working on algorithms for smart tech including drones and self-driving cars, a technology that SLAMcore can use to map their surrounds and position the cars and drones around it. The last company is Intuition Robotics, which is a social companion tech startup in Israel.
One day we could all be The One, if the US military has its way with us, that is. The US military has revealed its $65 million funding for a Matrix-like project that sees them working on a 'brain chip' that would let you plug yourself into a computer.
The new system would give soldiers supersenses, and could double as treatment for the blind, those with paralysis, and speech disorders. DARPA officials said that their goal was "developing an implantable system able to provide precision communication between the brain and the digital world". DARPA has selected five recipients for its funding for the Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program, which started earlier this year.
DARPA's multi-million grants will be going to Brown University, Columbia University, The Seeing and Hearing Foundation, the John B. Pierce Laboratory, Paradromics Inc and the University of California, Berkeley, with a DARPA official adding: "These organizations have formed teams to develop the fundamental research and component technologies required to pursue the NESD vision of a high-resolution neural interface and integrate them to create and demonstrate working systems able to support potential future therapies for sensory restoration".
In its race towards competing with the US and Russia in becoming a space superpower, China has started its new 200-day simulation of living on another planet.
Four students from Beijing University have started a new 200-day isolation experiment called Lunar Palace 365, where they will live on the resources that they would have if they were on the Moon, or Mars. The students will have to generate life-giving oxygen from plants, recycle their own urine into drinkable water, and being conservative with their supplies.
The biggest test of all, will be the psychological side of being isolated from the world. In this world of instant gratification from social media, what will people do with 200 days away from smartphones, their friends and family, and the world at large? The test will show how they will react to not having sunlight for 200 days, which will effect both their physical and mental health.
This isn't the first time a simulation like this has been done, but it is a huge step for China as they are on their path to becoming a competitor to the US and Russia. China wanting to visit the stars is only a good thing, as it will push the US and Russia at the same time. But 200 days away from my phone? I don't know if I could do that.
China's launch of the heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March-5 Y2, carrying its heaviest ever satellite, has failed on Sunday, China's official news agency Xinhua said.
The rocket lifted off at 7:23 PM local time, but 40 minutes after the launch, the state-run Xinhua news agency announced that the launch was a failure, without providing any further details.
"Anomaly was detected during its flight, and further investigation will be carried out," stated the agency.
Back in March, SpaceX successfully launched and landed an already used Falcon 9 rocket, which was the first time in history that an already used rocket was launched again.
This weekend, the company marked the second reflight of a Falcon 9 first stage. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched the BulgariaSat-1 satellite into orbit - the first geostationary communications satellite in Bulgaria's history.
Now, the company has published images of this historic launch.
SpaceX has successfully completed its second launch and landing this week. The two Falcon 9 launches and landings in 48 hours show the strength of SpaceX rockets, previously stating that the company intends to up the pace of its launches.
SpaceX's rocket took off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 1:25 PM Pacific Time, and launched ten satellites to low-Earth orbit for Iridium, a global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications.
This is the second set of 10 satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium's next-generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.
SpaceX has successfully launched and landed another Falcon 9 rocket. This mission marked the second reflight of a Falcon 9 first stage, having previously supported the Iridium-1 mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in January of this year.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched the BulgariaSat-1 satellite into orbit - the first geostationary communications satellite in Bulgaria's history.
Following stage separation, the first stage of Falcon 9 successfully landed on SpaceX's East Coast droneship 'Of Course I Still Love You,' stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
NASA plans to send a spacecraft straight into the Sun next year. The space agency made the announcement during a news conference and a ceremony at the University of Chicago.
The mission begins in August 2018. Since this isn't a journey that a human can take, NASA will send a 10-foot high probe on the historic mission, since this will mark the first time humanity has reached the giant star.
NASA named the probe Parker Solar Probe in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker, which is the first time in the space agency's history a space vessel is named after a living person.
The probe will have to withstand substantial radiation and heat never before experienced by a spacecraft. The Parker Solar Probe will have 4.5-inch-thick (11.43 cm) carbon-composite solar shields which will protect the spacecraft from temperatures of around 2,500 Fahrenheit (around 1,380 Celsius).
NASA has published an artist' concept of the Mars 2020 rover, which should join Opportunity and Curiosity rover on the Red Planet in 2020.
The Mars 2020 rover is intended to investigate an astrobiological relevant ancient environment on Mars, investigate its surface geological processes and history, including the assessment of its past habitability, the possibility of past life on Mars, and a potential for preservation of biosignatures within accessible geological materials.
The Mars 2020 rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside on the surface of Mars. A future mission could potentially return these samples to Earth.