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12.4.19 The San Diego Union Tribune
"This San Diego startup is designing cashier-less stores - and just raised $30M"
A technology startup in San Diego has just raised $30 million from investors to continue building out its software for cashier-less, "grab-and-go" stores. The model, popularized by Amazon Go, allows shoppers to simply walk into a store, grab items from the shelves, and walk out -- with the receipt sent directly to their mobile device. The local startup, Accel Robotics, is developing computer vision software -- along with cameras, sensors and store equipment -- to make this concept work. In fact, the startup can build out an entire modular store for its customers

12.3.19 The San Diego Union Tribune
"UC San Diego using driver-less vehicles to deliver mail in step toward ferrying people"
UC San Diego has begun using driverless vehicles to deliver the mail to two of its six residential colleges, an experiment that's expected to lead to ferrying large numbers of people around the huge, crowded campus. The two carts carry safety drivers who can intervene if problems arise, and usually a graduate student to monitor the vehicle's assortment of sensors. But the vehicles -- like those being tested at other universities -- are mostly run by customized computer programs. The experimental project began in September and has been ramping up as the university's Contextual Robotics Insti

12.2.19 Nature
"A picture is worth a thousand base pairs"
Genome browsers are graphical tools that display the genome sequence, usually as a horizontal line. Other sequence-associated data are aligned and stacked above and below that line in 'tracks', for instance to illustrate the relationship between gene expression, DNA modification and protein-binding sites. Today, a growing collection of free and open-source tools exists for sharing such genomic data. One example is GIVE, an open-source tool developed by UC San Diego engineers that allows researchers to build custom genome browsers for their labs with little if any programming.

12.2.19 The New York Times
"Scientists Race to Document Puerto Rico's Costal Heritage"
A group of U.S.-based scientists is rushing to document indigenous sites along Puerto Rico's coast dating back a couple of thousand years before rising sea levels linked to climate change destroy a large chunk of the island?s heritage that is still being discovered. Scientists hope to use the 3D images they've taken so far to also help identify which historic sites are most vulnerable to hurricanes, erosion and other dangers before it's too late to save the island?s patrimony. "It's literally being washed away," said Falko Kuester

12.2.19 Voice of America
"Scientists Race to Document Puerto Rico's Costal Heritage"
A group of U.S.-based scientists is rushing to document indigenous sites along Puerto Rico's coast dating back a couple of thousand years before rising sea levels linked to climate change destroy a large chunk of the island's heritage that is still being discovered. Scientists hope to use the 3D images they've taken so far to also help identify which historic sites are most vulnerable to hurricanes, erosion and other dangers before it's too late to save the island's patrimony. "It's literally being washed away," said Falko Kuester,

12.1.19 Associated Press
"Scientists race to document Puerto Rico's coastal heritage"
A group of U.S.-based scientists is rushing to document indigenous sites along Puerto Rico's coast dating back a couple of thousand years before rising sea levels linked to climate change destroy a large chunk of the island's heritage that is still being discovered. Scientists hope to use the 3D images they've taken so far to also help identify which historic sites are most vulnerable to hurricanes, erosion and other dangers before it's too late to save the island?s patrimony. "It's literally being washed away," said Falko Kuester

11.29.19 Science
"Indoor chemical pollution impacts often remain invisible"
Furniture, construction materials, humans and their habits are just some sources of the particles and gases that surround people living indoors. As scientists collect increasingly sophisticated data on the chemistry of the indoor environment, policy-makers and industry leaders are seeking more information on how to apply these findings to buildings and homes, experts said at an American Association for the Advancement of Science symposium. It may be time for a "national chemistry of the indoor environment initiative," said Vicki Grassian, a UC San Diego professor of physical chemistry.

11.29.19 Scientific American
"New Technique Welds Ceramics with Lasers"
Ceramics are hard and durable; they resist scratches better than glass and stand up to high heat better than most metals. They could protect electronic devices from challenging conditions found in space or in the human body--but their very toughness makes them hard to manipulate. Joining two ceramic slabs with an airtight seal requires heating them to about 2,000 degrees Celsius, which would typically destroy embedded electronics. Now, however, researchers have developed a welding technique that spot heats the ceramics with lasers, as described in August in Science.

11.29.19 Tech Xplore
"Flexoskeleton printing: Fabricating flexible exoskeletons for insect-inspired robots"
Insects typically have a variety of complex exoskeleton structures, which support them in their movements and everyday activities. Fabricating artificial exoskeletons for insect-inspired robots that match the complexity of these naturally-occurring structures is a key challenge in the field of robotics. Although researchers have proposed several fabrication processes and techniques to produce exoskeletons for insect-inspired robots, many of these methods are extremely complex or rely on expensive equipment and materials. This makes them unfeasible and difficult to apply on a wider scale.

11.26.19 C&EN
"Podcast: Science Storytellers is an outreach program that turns kids into science journalists--without the pesky deadlines"
For its latest episode, Stereo Chemistry handed its recorders over to kid journalists interviewing grown-up chemists about cutting-edge research. Listen in as the children get answers to questions about DNA, environmental clean-up, and C-H activation. The kids' reporting was part of an outreach program called Science Storytellers that took place during the American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Diego in August. Science Storytellers empowers kids to ask questions as they interact, one-on-one, with real scientists, such as UC San Diego nanoengineers Chava Angell and Fernando Soto.

11.20.19 Daily Mail UK
"Cancer's ring-shaped DNA lets tumors evolve too fast for treatments to keep up - turning the disease chemo-resistant, scientists say"
'Doughnut-shaped' rings of cancer DNA make tumors more aggressive and resistant to treatment, scientists believe. Circles of extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) are found abundantly in human tumor cells, according to researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego). The shape is different to normal human DNA, which forms twisting double helixes of genetic material, similar in appearance to ladders. As a result of its circular shape, cancer DNA is more 'open' and can respond and morph to evade the treatments that doctors attempt to use to kill the cells,

11.20.19 Yahoo! News
"'Doughnut-shaped' rings of cancer DNA make tumours more aggressive - study"
"Doughnut-shaped" rings of cancer DNA make tumours more aggressive and resistant to treatment, scientists believe. Circles of extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) are found abundantly in human tumour cells, according to researchers from the United States. The shape is different to normal human DNA, which forms twisting double helixes of genetic material, similar in appearance to ladders. These are packed into cell nuclei by being tightly wrapped around clusters of protein complexes.

11.20.19 Live Science
"'Doughnut-Shaped' DNA Makes Cancer More Aggressive"
Cancer cells may owe some of their destructive nature to unique, "doughnut-shaped" DNA, according to a new study. The study, published today (Nov. 20) in the journal Nature, found that, in some cancer cells, DNA doesn't pack into thread-like structures like it does in healthy cells -- rather, the genetic material folds into a ring-like shape that makes the cancer more aggressive. "DNA conveys information not only in its sequence but also in its shape," said co-senior author Paul Mischel, a professor of pathology at the University of California at San Diego.

11.20.19 New York Times
"Scientists Are Just Beginning to Understand Mysterious DNA Circles Common in Cancer Cells"
There's no image in biology more iconic than our chromosomes - all 23 pairs of DNA bundles arrayed in a genetic lineup. But in a surprising number of cases, this picture leaves out something very important. In some cells, extra circles of DNA float alongside the regular chromosomes. Scientists first noticed this so-called extrachromosomal DNA five decades ago. But for years they weren't exactly sure what to make of it. New research is now focusing on those mysterious loops. They are surprisingly common in cancer cells and play a bigger role in many types of cancers

11.20.19 Network World
"IoT sensors must have two radios for efficiency"
To extend battery life, IoT radios that send data should be powered only when there's data to send, and a second, power-sipper radio should just listen for a wake-up signal for the principal radio. Academics say they're making progress getting that all to work.

11.15.19 IEEE Spectrum
"Expert Discusses Key Challenges for the Next Generation of Wearables"
During a talk about biochemistry wearables at ApplySci's 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech event at Harvard on 14 November, UC San Diego nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang outlined some of the key challenges to making such wearables that monitor biochemistry as ubiquitous and unobtrusive as the Apple Watch. Wang identified three engineering problems that must be tackled: flexibility, power, and treatment delivery. He also discussed potential solutions that his research team has identified for each of these problems.

11.15.19 IEEE Spectrum
"Video Friday: Invasion of the Mini Cheetah Robots"
Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers.

11.7.19 Asgardian, The Space Nation
"Sea Urchin: A Great Inspiration for Engineers"
We've seen a variety of bio-inspired robots: there is the RoboBee inspired by insects, the Tunabot that mimics fish, the robot inspired by a flying squid, and many more. Still, we bet you've never seen a robot based on the body plan of the sea urchin! However, the animal has inspired engineers before. Sea urchins, close relatives of sea stars and sea cucumbers, are actually pretty amazing marine animals. They seem great, before you accidentally step on one. This week, the team presented a machine that 'incorporates anatomical features unique to sea urchins,' and

11.6.19 IEEE Spectrum
"What Is the Uncanny Valley?"
Have you ever encountered a lifelike humanoid robot or a realistic computer-generated face that seem a bit off or unsettling, though you can't quite explain why? Take for instance AVA, one of the "digital humans" created by New Zealand tech startup Soul Machines as an on-screen avatar for Autodesk. Watching a lifelike digital being such as AVA can be both fascinating and disconcerting. AVA expresses empathy through her demeanor and movements: slightly raised brows, a tilt of the head, a nod.

11.6.19 Medical Press
"Mutations linked to expression of genes associated with complex traits"
Hard-to-study mutations in the human genome, called short tandem repeats, known as STRs or microsatellites, are implicated in the expression of genes associated with complex traits including schizophrenia, inflammatory bowel disease and even height and intelligence. That's the conclusion of a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of Nature Genetics by a team of researchers at the University of California San Diego. They were led by Melissa Gymrek, a UC San Diego professor of computer science and medicine, and Alon Goren, a UC San Diego professor of medicine.

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