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Machine-Learning Wizards Vie for Zillow’s $1 Million Prize

Early this year, the real-estate giant will reward the team that best predicts home prices

3 min read
Photo-Illustration: Edmon de Haro
Photo-Illustration: Edmon de Haro

In 1714, the British Parliament passed the Longitude Act, which offered serious money to anyone who could devise a practical method to measure longitude at sea. While the determination of longitude might seem a trivial thing in today’s world of smartphones and GPS satellites, at the time it was an immense technical challenge. It took many years, but the strategy worked, leading to the development of the marine chronometer, a handheld mechanical marvel that undoubtedly saved the lives of countless sailors.

Prizes have, of course, since been used to spur innovation in many other spheres. “These were typically offered by governments,” says Josh Lerner of the Harvard Business School, who has studied the effectiveness of such prizes. But private companies are doing it, too. Lerner notes that the US $1 million Netflix Prize, awarded in 2009 to a team that devised an algorithm that could beat the company’s Cinematch recommender system, helped to revive the popularity of these prizes.

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This Wearable Neck Patch Can Diagnose Concussions

Self-powered sensors convert neck strain into electrical pulses to detect head trauma in athletes

4 min read
image of back of man's head and shoulders with a patch taped to his lower neck; right image is a time lapse image of a man's head extending far forward and back, simulating a case of whiplash

The prototype patch in this research is shown in (a) on the left; on the right (b) is the kind of head rotation that can yield an electrical response from the patch.

Juan Pastrana

Nelson Sepúlveda was sitting in the stands at Spartan Stadium, watching his hometown Michigan State players bash heads with their cross-state football rivals from the University of Michigan, when he had a scientific epiphany.

Perhaps the nanotechnologies he had been working on for years—paper-thin devices known as ferroelectret nanogenerators that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy—could help save these athletes from the ravages of traumatic brain injury.

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Video Friday: PoKeBo Cubes

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read
A young girl looks at a cluster of three simple robots facing each other on a table

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.

RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4 November–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14 December–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Harnessing the Power of Innovation Intelligence

Through case studies and data visualizations, this webinar will show you how to leverage IP and scientific data analytics to identify emerging business opportunities

1 min read
Clarivate
Clarivate

Business and R&D leaders have to make consequential strategic decisions every day in a global marketplace that continues to get more interconnected and complex. Luckily, the job can be more manageable and efficient by leveraging IP and scientific data analytics. Register for this free webinar now!

Join us for the webinar, Harnessing the power of innovation intelligence, to hear Clarivate experts discuss how analyzing IP data, together with scientific content and industry-specific data, can provide organization-wide situational awareness and reveal valuable business insights.

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