This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories on the Web (through November 13)

COMPUTING

Two of the world’s largest quantum computers made in China
Charles Q. Choi | IEEE spectrum
“… scientists in China have tested two different quantum computers on what they say are more difficult tasks than [Google’s] Sycamore coped and showed faster results. They note that their work indicates “an unambiguous quantum advantage in computing.”I

SPACE

Alternative rocket maker SpinLaunch completes first test flight
Michael Sheetz | CNBC
“The company is developing a launch system that uses kinetic energy as the primary method to take off, with a vacuum-sealed centrifuge spinning the rocket at several times the speed of sound before releasing it. “It’s about building a business and a space launch system that will enter commercial markets at a very high rate and at the lowest cost launch in the industry,” said Jonathan Yaney, CEO of SpinLaunch. CNBC. “

ROBOTICS

Scientists build tiny robot that can deliver drugs with incredible precision
Julien Dossett | CNET
“[A] team of scientists [ETH Zurich] has built a microrobot inspired by the movement of starfish larvae. Their robot, whose name has not yet been named, measures only a quarter of a millimeter in diameter and swims in the liquid by moving tiny hairs of surface, or cilia, found on all kinds of microorganisms, including newborn starfish.

ENERGY

Wind and solar could meet 85% of current electricity needs
K. Holt | Committed
“and could meet about 85 percent of the United States’ electricity needs, according to an article published in Nature Communication. Batteries, overcapacity and other storage options could increase that figure. A mixture of wind and solar energy should be sufficient to meet most of the current energy needs of “advanced industrialized countries”.

BIOTECHNOLOGIES

An E. Coli bio-computer solves a maze by sharing the work
Siobhan Roberts | MIT Technology Review
“… this multitalented bacterium has a new trick: it can solve a classic computer maze problem using distributed computing, distributing the necessary calculations among different types of genetically modified cells.” This great feat is in the spotlight of synthetic biology, which aims to set up biological circuits a bit like electronic circuits and to program cells as easily as computers.

SENSORS

Lidar discovers hundreds of lost Mayan and Olmec ruins
Kiona N. Smith | Wired
“In recent years, lidar investigations have revealed tens of thousands of irrigation canals, causeways and fortresses across the Mayan territory, which now extends to the borders of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Infrared beams can penetrate dense foliage to measure the height of the ground, which often reveals features such as canals or long abandoned plazas. The results showed that the Mayan civilization was larger and more densely populated than we previously thought. “

NEUROSCIENCE

The long search for a computer that speaks your mind
Adam Rogers | Wired
“The trick is to use the data from the brain to synthesize speech in real time so that users can practice and the machine can learn. New brain-computer interface systems are coming. … The end of the game, probably half a decade away, will be a unification of precision and intelligibility with real-time audio. “This is the common direction that all the groups that do this are heading towards – doing it in real time,” says Anumanchipalli. “I

AUGMENTED REALITY

“AR is where the real metaverse is going to happen”
Steven Lévy | Wired
I“Our overarching goal… is to help bring the Metaverse to life,” Mark Zuckerberg told his squad in June. [Niantic CEO John] Hanke hates this idea. He’s read every sci-fi book and seen every movie that first imagined the metaverse, all very fun and all wrong. He believes his vision, unlike virtual reality, will make the real world a better place without encouraging people to fully check it out.

Image Credit: Shubham Dhage / Unsplash

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