Tech

UBC computer scientists have turned Amazon Alexa into a tool for software engineers, tasking the virtual assistant to take care of mundane programming tasks, helping increase productivity and speed up workflow.

Software engineers use many different tools for any one project. They work with millions of lines of computer code and run their code through various independent tools to help edit, build and test systems and for project management to get their programs running smoothly.

Researchers using powerful supercomputers have found a way to generate microwaves with inexpensive silicon, a breakthrough that could dramatically cut costs and improve devices such as sensors in self-driving vehicles.

"Until now, this was considered impossible," said C.R. Selvakumar, an engineering professor at the University of Waterloo who proposed the concept several years ago.

High-frequency microwaves carry signals in a wide range of devices, including the radar units police use to catch speeders and collision-avoidance systems in cars.

Researchers at Children's Hospital Colorado (Children's Colorado) and the University of Colorado School of Medicine have found that taking a specially formulated antioxidant-enriched multivitamin may decrease respiratory illnesses in people with cystic fibrosis (CF).

Orlando, FL - Understanding the microscopic structure of a material is key to understanding how it functions and its functional properties. Advances in fields like materials science have increasingly pushed abilities to determine these features to even higher resolutions. One technique for imaging at nanoscale resolution, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), is one example of promising technology in this area.

The privilege to operate in a specialist asthma clinic allows for a light to be shed on the persistence of the many pitfalls in the management of this condition, which continue despite the recommendations of the numerous authoritative guidelines produced and spread in the last decades. Asthma heterogeneity and variability make it extremely difficult to be optimally managed, also in a specialist environment.

Researchers at Columbia Engineering have demonstrated, for the first time, a chip-based dual-comb spectrometer in the mid-infrared range, that requires no moving parts and can acquire spectra in less than 2 microseconds. The system, which consists of two mutually coherent, low-noise, microresonator-based frequency combs spanning 2600 nm to 4100 nm, could lead to the development of a spectroscopy lab-on-a-chip for real-time sensing on the nanosecond time scale.

Astronauts go through many physiological changes during their time in spaceflight, including lower muscle mass and slower muscle development. Similar symptoms can occur in the muscles of people on Earth's surface, too. In fact, it could affect everyone to some extent later in life.

"Age-related skeletal muscle disorders, such as sarcopenia, are becoming a greater concern in society," said Hiroshima University (HU) Professor and Space Bio-Laboratories Director Louis Yuge. "It is especially a big concern in Japan, where the number of aging people is increasing."

The many threats facing bumblebees can be tested using a "virtual safe space" created by scientists at the University of Exeter.
Bumble-BEEHAVE provides a computer simulation of how colonies will develop and react to multiple factors including pesticides, parasites and habitat loss.

Lithium ion batteries have come a long way since their introduction in the late 1990s. They're used in many everyday devices, such as laptop computers, mobile phones, and medical devices, as well as automotive and aerospace platforms, and others. However, lithium ion battery performance still can decay over time, may not fully charge after many charge/discharge cycles, and may discharge quickly even when idle.

Preschoolers can learn a lot from educational television, but younger toddlers may learn more from interactive digital media (such as video chats and touchscreen mobile apps) than from TV and videos alone, which don't require them to interact. That's the conclusion of a new article that also notes that because specific conditions that lead to learning from media are unclear, not all types of interactive media increase learning and not all children learn to the same degree from these media.