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— Inventors and Remarkable People

Alan Turing's "hidden" manuscript heads to auction

Among his many achievements, British computer science pioneer Alan Turing created one of the first theoretical models of a general-purpose computer, helped develop the concept of artificial intelligence, and was in charge of breaking the German Enigma cypher during World War II. With the recent release of the film The Imitation Game, he's now becoming known to a whole new generation. It's only fitting, therefore, that a rare collection of his scientific notes is about to head to auction. Read More
— Science

Computer-based "deep neural network" as good as primates at visual object recognition

Computers aren't best suited to visual object recognition. Our brains are hardwired to quickly see and match patterns in everything, with great leaps of intuition, while the processing center of a computer is more akin to a very powerful calculator. But that hasn't stopped neuroscientists and computer scientists from trying over the past 40 years to design computer networks that mimic our visual skills. Recent advances in computing power and deep learning algorithms have accelerated that process to the point where a group of MIT neuroscientists has found a network design that compares favorably to the brain of our primate cousins. Read More
— Computers

Hemingwrite digital typewriter looks to let you write in peace

For more than a century typewriters were the weapon of choice for professional writers, office workers and those of us with messy handwriting. Then came the age of personal computers complete with the internet and its infinite reel of comical cat videos. A pair of US entrepreneurs believe this has been to the detriment of productivity and are looking to reign things in a little. The Hemingwrite typewriter offers the bare essentials for a writer in the digital age, no email alerts or Youtube recommendations in sight. Read More
— Games

Sinclair ZX Spectrum reborn as a retro console

For those who enjoyed classic games like Chuckie Egg and Elite, little can compare to the nostalgia that Sir Clive Sinclair's ZX Spectrum home computer invokes. The venerable "Speccy" made a big impact on the UK home computer scene back in the 1980s and an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign aims to launch a new console based on the original 8-bit PC that's endorsed by Sir Clive himself. Read More
— Good Thinking

Off-grid kiosk brings education and internet to Nigeria

In many parts of Africa, a lack of adequate infrastructure means that it's simply not practical to build a school and employ a teacher to give kids an education – but there are alternatives. The Hello Hub is a solar-powered kiosk that features two touchscreen computers loaded with educational software and an internet connection to help kids and adults learn and get online. The first Hello Hub kiosk was recently installed in Nigeria, and there are more planned for next year. Read More
— Science

Empa invents chemical computer faster than a satnav

If you’re going out for pizza in Budapest, which would you choose to get you there; a smartphone with GPS or a drop of gel on a little maze? A team of scientists from Switzerland, Hungary, Japan and Scotland under the leadership of Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, thinks that the gel might be your better bet because that little bit of plastic and goo is a chemical computer capable of navigating a maze faster than a satnav. Read More
— Computers

Apple I computer sells for record US$905,000

When it was announced earlier this month that a 1976 Apple 1 motherboard would be up for grabs at the Bonhams' History of Science auction in New York, we wondered whether the sale prices such artifacts have attracted in the past adequately reflects their value as landmark innovations. This sale looks to have bucked the trend in the most emphatic fashion, attracting a successful bid of US$905,000 and becoming the most expensive Apple computer ever sold. Read More
— Science

Science Museum exhibit explores the Information Age

If the 19th and 20th centuries were the Transportation Age, then the 21st century is the Information Age. Like most other ages, it didn't suddenly leap into being with the arrival of the Web or the smartphone – it has a history going back more than 200 years. The Science Museum in London is exploring this history in a new permanent exhibit called "Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World," which was recently opened by Queen Elizabeth II when she sent the first tweet by a British monarch. Read More