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New’s of the week selected by Impactscool – May 13th

13 May 2019 | Written by La redazione

The most important news about future and technology selected by Impactscool team

The peanuts that could be resistant to parasites, diseases and droughts

Thanks to the study of the DNA of two different peanut species, the researchers combined the two genomes into a single plant that could be more resistant and characterized by greater production and quality. The American Agricultural Research Service and the University of Georgia published in the journal Nature Genetics the result of a research on the peanut genome. Initially, the scientists sequenced the genomes of the two wild ancestors separately, using DNA taken from the two species. This made it easier to identify the structural features of the genomes; using advanced DNA sequencing equipment, the researchers merged the two DNAs into a single variant of commercially grown peanut. The study could allow better resistance to pests and drought tolerance, high seed production, better oil quality and resistance to diseases and pests.


Tissue chips in orbit

They will help us understand how to cure old age-related diseases and better cope with human permanence in space. On 11 May the SpaceX CRS-17 mission will depart from Cape Canaveral, a supply launch to the International Space Station. Between the two and a half tons of stocks there will also be four small sheets of transparent plastic. These are tiny human tissue chips and complex 3-D bioengineered models that mimic the structure and function of human organ systems. Kidneys, bones and cartilage, lung and bone marrow and blood-brain barrier to be precise. These chips will remain alive on the ISS for a year, before returning to Earth to be studied and to verify the conditions. After 18 months they will return to orbit to experiment with different treatments. The results of this research will be able to counteract the risks associated with permanence in space, which involves damage similar to that caused by old age, from osteoporosis to problems with the immune system.


Climate change goes banana

Changes in moisture and temperature allow a fungus that attacks plants to thrive in areas where it previously could not. The consequences of climate change are sometimes subtle, such as a plant disease that appears in environments where it did not exist before. This is the case of the Black Sigatoka, a disease caused by a fungus, Pseudocercospora fijiensis, which is found only in tropical areas and which has now succeeded in infecting large areas of Latin America and north as far as Florida. The plants infected with this disease have black streaks on the leaves, this is the fungus that occupies the surface preventing the plant from performing photosynthesis effectively. The result is that infected plants produce up to 80% less bananas.


Self driving cars are getting a new pair of eyes

A new type of radar for self driving cars promises to be able to obtain high quality images without interfering with the radar of other cars and keeping the device small. Radars used in self-driving cars to obtain detailed images exploit high-frequency ranges, making them bulky and expensive. Moreover, in the presence of crowding of these radars you would incur interference.
Pavel Ginzburg of the Tel Aviv University School of Electrical Engineering in Israel has proposed a new approach for these radars built for self-driving cars. Instead of exploiting high-frequency waves, which require massive and expensive devices, the idea is based on the principle of coherence of electromagnetic waves, which allows the exploitation of low-frequency signals to be able to identify even small and fast objects, all while avoiding the problem of interference with other vehicles and making the device smaller.
The strength of this technology is that it can be applied to cars with older radars without the need for major upgrades or replacements.


PoemPortrait: the AI that dedicates you poems

Just provide a word and a selfie, the algorithm does the rest. A new interactive experience, created to strengthen the creative bond between men and machines, PoemPortrait is a new service of the Google Arts & Culture online platform. Once on the site, they are asked to donate a word, which will enter the huge database of writings extracted from the works of the greatest poets of the nineteenth century. Over 25 million words that have been used to train neural networks to compose poems. Without this, if you want, you can take a selfie and the text of the poem written for us by the machine will appear directly on our face.

“Poems can be surprisingly moving or, at other times, meaningless – explained Es Devlin, set designer and collaborator of the project – the essence of this project is the profoundly human way in which we seek and find a personal resonance in the text generated by the machine”.


PDK, the plastic of the future completely recyclable

The polymers that compose it can be disassembled and reassembled at a molecular level without losing their characteristics. One of the main problems of normally used plastics, primarily PET, is its limited recyclability, a research may have summarized a new type of plastic that can be recycled indefinitely. To give the polymers, the long molecules that make up the plastic, special characteristics (resistance to heat, hardness, elasticity) additives are added that bind to the molecules that form them, the monomers. This bond is not reversible, so when plastic is recycled these additional agents remain, making it more difficult, if not impossible, to obtain usable material.
A research by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a new type of plastic, called PDK, polydiketoenamine, able to get rid of additives through the use of particular acids. Monomers, cleaned up, can be recast again into new objects, the plastic obtained would be like new, so it could be recycled over and over again.


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