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Underwater Robots Track Declining Shark Species with Lasers

Plus, Toyota’s mobility play at the Olympics, a high-tech virtual reality technique that could reduce the need for multiple heart surgeries and the perhaps surprising case for building a bigger microchip.

by / October/November 2019


Sand tiger sharks, a species with a declining population that’s currently classified as “vulnerable” to endangerment, have been swimming around shipwrecks off the coast of North Carolina, and researchers there are using a futuristic way to study them: underwater robots outfitted with lasers. They use the bots to monitor water conditions and animal size, plus pick up signals from acoustic tags that mark individual sand tiger sharks. Source: Treehugger


On average, about half of people undergoing heart surgery will need at least one follow-up procedure, and the Food and Drug Administration is planning a high-tech approach to combat that. Called Optimal Target Identification via Modelling of Arrhythmogenesis (OPTIMA), the procedure will create a virtual model of a patient’s heart, use electrical pulses to see where it is experiencing an irregular heartbeat, and then perform simulated surgeries as many times as needed to get the correct fix. Once a surgeon performs the operation according to the plan, the patient likely will not need follow-up surgeries. Source: Engadget


Toyota reports it will provide “3,700 mobility products and/or vehicles” for the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo next year, 90 percent of which will be electric, some powered by batteries and others by fuel cells.  Source: The Verge

Building Bigger

While the longtime trend has been for microchips to get smaller and smaller, thereby enabling ever-shrinking computing devices, a new chip from California-based startup Cerebras is going in a whole different direction. The company’s WSE chip is about the size of an iPad at about 46,000 square millimeters and is specifically designed to power artificial intelligence processes with its 1.2 trillion transistors and 18 GB of memory. The idea is that a bigger, more powerful chip will stand up to the growing use of AI, enabling the software to learn faster. Source: Digital Trends 

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Lauren Harrison Managing Editor

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.

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