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Grant Imahara: Debunker in The Box

Builder for the Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters”

4 min read
Grant Imahara
Exploding Poodles: Grant Imahara puts urban legends to the test.
Photo: Timothy Archibald

Grant Imahara needs to buy a few yards of wire mesh, so he’s on an errand to a warehouse on San Francisco’s southern outskirts. Having done some quick calculations in his head, Imahara knows exactly how much mesh he needs, but he’s stopped short as he finishes unrolling it on the cutting table.

“Hold on, Grant. Could you do that one more time?” the cameraman says, wanting to get the best angle on the shiny expanse of metal weave. Imahara grins and complies, unfurling the mesh slowly and deliberately this time for the benefit of the cameraman and the sound technician with the boom mike—the crew that often tracks his every move. “Being on camera all the time is hard to get used to,” Imahara says later. “It’s always, ‘Grant, can you do that again?’”

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-size humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Computing With Chemicals Makes Faster, Leaner AI

Battery-inspired artificial synapses are gaining ground

5 min read
Array of devices on a chip

This analog electrochemical memory (ECRAM) array provides a prototype for artificial synapses in AI training.

IBM research

How far away could an artificial brain be? Perhaps a very long way off still, but a working analogue to the essential element of the brain’s networks, the synapse, appears closer at hand now.

That’s because a device that draws inspiration from batteries now appears surprisingly well suited to run artificial neural networks. Called electrochemical RAM (ECRAM), it is giving traditional transistor-based AI an unexpected run for its money—and is quickly moving toward the head of the pack in the race to develop the perfect artificial synapse. Researchers recently reported a string of advances at this week’s IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022) and elsewhere, including ECRAM devices that use less energy, hold memory longer, and take up less space.

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Get the Coursera Campus Skills Report 2022

Download the report to learn which job skills students need to build high-growth careers

1 min read

Get comprehensive insights into higher education skill trends based on data from 3.8M registered learners on Coursera, and learn clear steps you can take to ensure your institution's engineering curriculum is aligned with the needs of the current and future job market. Download the report now!