AI Can Help Apple Watch Predict High Blood Pressure, Sleep Apnea


The world's most valuable company crammed a lot into the tablespoon-sized volume of an Apple Watch. There's GPS, a heart-rate sensor, cellular connectivity, and computing resources that not long ago would have filled a desk-dwelling beige box. The wonder gadget doesn't have a sphygmomanometer for measuring blood pressure or polysomnographic equipment found in a sleep lab--but thanks to machine learning, it might be able to help with their work. Research presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim Monday claims that when paired with the right machine-learning algorithms, the Apple Watch's heart-rate sensor and step counter can make a fair prediction of whether a person has high blood pressure, or sleep apnea, in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly through the night. Both are common--and commonly undiagnosed--conditions associated with life-threatening problems, including stroke and heart attack.

Self-Driving Trucks May Be Closer Than They Appear

NYT > Economy

Trucks will someday drive themselves out of warehouses and cruise down freeways without the aid of humans or even a driver's cab -- about that there seems little disagreement. The question is how soon that day gets here. And while the answers vary -- technologists, not surprisingly, are more bullish than truckers -- billions of dollars and a growing parade of companies, from tiny start-ups to the country's biggest trucking operations, are betting it will be here sooner than most people think. This year, companies and investors are on pace to put just over $1 billion into self-driving and other trucking technologies, 10 times the level of three years ago, according to CB Insights, which tracks the venture capital industry. Tesla is widely expected this week to showcase an electric truck that will have some self-driving capabilities.

Facing Facts: Artificial Intelligence and the Resurgence of Physiognomy


On the first day of school, a child looks into a digital camera linked to the school's computer. Upon a quick scan, the machine reports that the child's facial contours indicate a likelihood toward aggression, and she is tagged for extra supervision. Not far away, another artificial intelligence screening system scans a man's face. It deduces from his brow shape that he is likely to be introverted, and he is rejected for a sales job. Plastic surgeons, meanwhile, find themselves overwhelmed with requests for a "perfect" face that doesn't show any "bad" traits.

Israel Shoots Down Drone Over Golan Heights

U.S. News

In September, Israel also shot down an Iranian-made drone sent by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the same area. Both Iranian and Hezbollah forces have been backing Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war.

Ford Assembly Line Workers Try Out Exoskeleton Tech to Boost Performance

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

"Built tough": That's the slogan used in ads for Ford trucks, which are shown hauling massive loads, towing equipment, and roaring across rugged terrain. But the workers who assemble those trucks in Ford's manufacturing plants are subject to human frailties. They can suffer from back and shoulder pain as a result of carrying out the repetitive tasks required by their jobs, particularly as they work on chassis suspended above them. Ford estimates that some assembly workers lift their arms about 4,600 times per day, or about 1 million times per year. So workers on Ford's assembly lines in two U.S. factories are getting some extra help.

Robotics change the face of modern logistics in China


As China gears up for its version of Black Friday, robots are one way companies are revolutionizing the logistics behind the annual online shopping extravaganza. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. As China gears up for its version of Black Friday, robots are one way companies are revolutionizing the logistics behind the annual online shopping extravaganza.

Artificial Intelligence Is Putting Ultrasound on Your Phone


If Jonathan Rothberg has a superpower, it's cramming million-dollar, mainframe-sized machines onto single semiconductor circuit boards. The entrepreneurial engineer got famous (and rich) inventing the world's first DNA sequencer on a chip. And he's spent the last eight years sinking that expertise (and sizeable startup capital) into a new venture: making your smartphone screen a window into the human body. Last month, Rothberg's startup Butterfly Network unveiled the iQ, a cheap, handheld ultrasound tool that plugs right into an iPhone's lightning jack. You don't have to be a technician to use one--its machine learning algorithms guide the user to find what they might be looking for.

AI Startup Embodied Intelligence Wants Robots to Learn From Humans in Virtual Reality

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Depending on who you ask, robotic grasping has been solved for a while now. That is, the act of physically grasping an object, not dropping it, and then doing something useful is a thing that robots are comfortable with. The difficult part is deciding what to grasp and how to grasp it, and that can be very, very difficult, especially outside of a structured environment. This is a defining problem for robotics right now: Robots can do anything you want, as long as you tell them exactly what that is, every single time. In a factory where robots are doing the exact same thing over and over again, this isn't so much of an issue, but throw something new or different into the mix, and it becomes an enormous headache.

Google sibling Waymo launches fully autonomous ride-hailing service

The Guardian

Waymo, formerly known as Google's self-driving car, is launching a fully autonomous Uber-like ride-hailing service with no human driver behind the wheel, after testing the vehicles on public roads in Arizona. Waymo, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet, said members of the public will begin riding in its fleet of modified Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans outfitted with self-driving technology in the next few months. Passengers will initially be accompanied in the back seat by a Waymo employee, but will eventually travel alone in the robotic car. The service will first be available to those who are already part of the company's public trial already under way in Phoenix. Rides will be free to start with, but Waymo expects to begin charging for journeys at some point.