Duke University researchers have developed technology that enables machines to make sense of three-dimensional (3D) objects in a more human-like way. For example, a robot that clears dishes off a table must be able to adapt to a variety of bowls, platters, and plates of different sizes and shapes, left scattered on a cluttered surface. The researchers' robot-perception algorithm can guess what a new object is and how it is oriented, without first looking at it from multiple angles. A robot equipped with this technology would not need to see every side of a teapot to know that it likely has a handle, a lid, and a spout, and whether it is sitting upright or off-kilter. "Overall, we make a mistake a little less than 25 percent of the time, and the best alternative makes a mistake almost half the time, so it is a big improvement," says Duke researcher Ben Burchfiel.
Chalmers University of Technology - Researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden say they have moved one step closer to a possible paradigm shift for the electronics industry. The researchers want to use graphene and terahertz waves in electronics in order to improve future data traffic. Graphene enables electrons to move much faster than in most conventional semiconductors, and this permits developers to access frequencies 100 to 1,000 times higher than gigahertz, constituting the terahertz range. "Data communication then has the potential of becoming up to 10 times faster and can transmit much larger amounts of data than is currently possible," says Chalmers' Andrei Vorobiev. The researchers have shown graphene-based transistor devices could receive and convert terahertz waves. The team is currently working to replace the silicon base on which the graphene is mounted, which limits the performance of the graphene, with other two-dimensional materials that can offset these limitations and enhance the effect.
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