- Tram Ho
Bill Gates gave his comment on the list of inventions that could change the world in 2019.
1. The ingenuity of the robot
Robotics are training each other to solve the human world. It’s undeniable that industrial robots are still clumsy and lack flexibility. A robot can pick up a component in the assembly line with high accuracy and is not boring, but to move the object a few centimeters, or replace it with another, the robot will become clumsy, Immediately.
However, while robots have not been programmed to calculate how to capture objects just by looking at it, like humans, robots can learn to manipulate things themselves through virtual tests. An example is Dactyl, a product of the OpenAI nonprofit organization, that can flip a block of toy shapes with its fingers. Dactyl has a built-in robotic arm with a network of lights and cameras, using reinforcement learning (reinforcement learning) for artificial neural network software to learn how to grasp and rotate toy blocks in a simulated environment before Robotic arms perform in real life. The experiment on this software was initially random, then reinforced by a gradual connection over time and approaching our goal.
The transfer of virtualized test results to the real world is hardly feasible due to the varying characteristics of different materials leading to difficulty in simulation. The OpenAi team sought to solve the problem by adding randomness to the virtual training experiment, allowing the robot to approach the complexity of real life.
2. Nuclear energy
Many new technologies in the nuclear sector in recent years have achieved growth momentum, promising to ensure a safer and cheaper energy source. Among them was the Generation IV fission reactor with improved design; small modular reactors; or fusion reactor, technology that is considered impossible to deploy. Researchers developed the IV generation fission reactor like Canada’s Terrestial Energy or Bill Gates’ TerraPower, which began working on combining research with partners to join the grid during the 2020s. .
Modular small reactors usually produce about 10 megawatts, compared to the capacity of a traditional nuclear reactor of about 1,000 megawatts. Some companies deploying this type said they can save capital and reduce the risk of environmental harm or financial loss. As for fusion energy, not many people expected to deploy successfully before 2030, although some research companies have started to attract attention.
3. Forecast of preterm birth by technology
Results of simple blood analysis can predict the risk of premature birth in pregnant women. Human genetic material lies mainly in cells. But a small number of DNA and RNA released from dead cells are still moving to blood vessels. For pregnant women, this type of non-cellular material is an infinite source of nucleic acids in the fetus, placenta and mother’s body. Stephen Quake, a biologist at Stanford University, has found a way to solve a medical headache: premature births up to 1/10.
Free DNA and RNA can be informative, previously taken through invasive tissue sampling methods such as tumor biopsy or pregnant amniocentesis. It is now easier to detect and arrange small amounts of non-cellular gene matter in human blood, thereby developing tests for cancer detection and prenatal testing for diseases such as Down syndrome. The test for these diseases is based on genetic modification of DNA, while RNA is a molecule that carries genetic information to parts of proteins that produce proteins. By monitoring maternal free RNAs, Quake discovered changes in the expression of seven identified genes linked to preterm birth. Since then, doctors and pregnant women have been warned and implemented timely measures to save young lives.
The technology behind blood test according to Quake is quite simple, fast and cheaper than 10 USD. A startup, Akna Dx, has been built to commercialize this technology.
4. Exploration of the intestine with a capsule
Environmental intestinal disease (EED) can be one of the most expensive diseases you have ever heard of. Quite popular in countries with low living standards, the disease includes symptoms such as the intestinal wall become more porous and leakage of gastric juice, poor nutrient absorption, resulting in malnutrition, developmental delay and no height development. The origin of this disease is not known, as well as how to prevent or treat it.
Screening for EED detection will help doctors identify the time of intervention and the method. Therapy for children is available, but diagnosis and research of intestinal disease in young patients often requires anesthesia and insertion of the endoscope through the throat. This method is expensive, inconvenient and difficult to implement in popular EED regions.
Guillermo Tearney, a pathologist and engineer at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), is developing microscopic devices for detecting EED signs in the intestine and sampling cell biopsies. Unlike endoscopy, this device can be used at a regular medical facility. Tearney’s swallowable capsule-shaped device contains microscopic microscopes, connected to flexible conductors that provide energy and light, and transmit images to the control screen. Healthcare personnel can stop the device at the points to be observed and pulled out when completed, then the device is sterilized and reused. It also carries the imaging technologies of the entire surface of the digestive system at the resolution of each cell or creating 3D cut-angle images with a depth of several millimeters.
This technology has been applied in some places: MGH is used to detect signs of esophageal cancer. For EED, Tearney’s team has developed a smaller version for babies who cannot swallow pupae.
5. Vaccines for cancer
Scientists are preparing to step into the commercialization of cancer vaccines. If it works as expected, the vaccine activates the human immune system to identify individual genetically modified tumors, resulting in effective prevention of many types of cancer. By using the body’s natural defense mechanisms to destroy cancer cells, unlike traditional chemotherapy, vaccines will limit the impact on healthy cells. After the first treatment, immune cells will also attack more aggressively on scattered cancer cells.
The orientation of this vaccine began in 2008, 5 years after the Human Genome Project was completed, when geneticists announced the first cancer cell sequence. Shortly thereafter, the expert compared the DNA of cancer cells and healthy cells, the results show that each cancer cell contains hundreds to thousands of special changes, most of which are specific to each type of cancer. letter. A few years later, a German-based BioNTech startup provided convincing evidence of a copy-containing vaccine that could catalyze the immune system of T-cell producers with the ability to The ability to find, attack and destroy cancer cells around them. In December 2017, BioNTech teamed up with Genentech to begin a large test of this vaccine on cancer patients around the world, targeting at least 10 serious diseases. Extensive implementation of this type of personalized vaccine requires more complex production technology due to the tumor biopsy of each patient, analysis and production, and then immediately transferred to the patient.
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Source : cafebiz