Author Archives: Łoboda Zofia


Reading Time: 3 minutes

When I was younger and somebody asked me what super power I wanted, I always said “teleportation”. Teleportation could solve many problems in the world. But will we ever be able to move like in science fiction films? So far, the teleportation seems to be heading in a slightly different direction.

The topic of teleportation is extremely interesting, but at the same time very hard to understand, because it is based on quantum physics. Everyone knows what teleportation is, but not everyone knows that the work on its development started a long time ago, because it was in Einstein’s time. But everything happens on the level of micro-scale – that is quantum particles, which behave slightly differently than everything that is visible from the level of macro-scale. In short, as mankind we can “pair” particles at the quantum level with each other. We can transfer the state of the particles from A to B, but we do not transfer the right information. We do not have such technological capabilities to develop a special channel for this purpose, which would carry this information at the speed of light.


In its current form, teleportation aims at instantaneous data transfer and to revolutionize computing power. Qubit is the simplest information unit in quantum physics. Nowadays, teleportation consists in the interweaving of these particles, thanks to which information occurring in place A, will also occur in place B. Now the researchers have managed to make this type of teleportation over a distance of 22 kilometres using a quantum computer from Caltech. The recipient was Fermilab’s quantum network. The previous record was 6 kilometres and was set in 2016. This means that we are talking about the foundations of the existence of quantum internet. Of course, this does not mean that in a moment the Internet will change beyond recognition. However, this is a breakthrough that gives rise to further research. Therefore, there are plans to build a much larger scale network around Chicago, called the Illinois Express Quantum Network.


Many people ask themselves this question. Unfortunately, I think that it will never work that way. When we talk about teleportation, we are constantly talking about the transfer of the state of the particle. So this particle must be some kind of “described” state. Meanwhile, the human brain changes every second. There is now ay to stop billiard of synapses or pulses. Perhaps it would be possible to track a person with the information received from the environment, but it will certainly not be the same person with the same brain as at the time of the “transfer”. After all, the state itself is a kind of a record, and in the case of our nervous center, there is not even such a thing as “state”

Of course, no one can predict what the future will bring and it may still surprise us. However, research and technological development is now heading in a slightly different direction.


New tech can get oxygen, fuel from Mars’ salty water

Reading Time: 2 minutesIs life on Mars possible? This is a question people have been asking themselves for many years. The main reason why there is no life on Mars is the lack of usable water, which is essential for life. All water present on Mars is ice or saline. You can’t drink salty water, and the usual method using electricity (electrolysis) to break it down into oxygen (to breathe) and hydrogen (for fuel) requires removing the salt — a cumbersome, costly endeavor in a harsh, dangerous environment. If oxygen and hydrogen could be directly coerced out of briny water, however, that brine electrolysis process would be much less complicated — and less expensive.

Fortunately, engineers at the McKelvey School of Engineering (MCE) at Washington University in St. Louis invented an application that can solve this problem. The system could help astronauts to produce some necessities, including water and fuel, which is necessary to live (even temporarily) on Mars and to return to Earth. Speaking of this new invention, Vijay Ramani, head of the research team of MCE, says: “Our novel brine electrolyser incorporates a lead ruthenate pyrochlore anode developed by our team in conjunctionwith platinum on carbon cathode. These carefully designed components, coupled with the optimal use of traditional electrochemical engineering principles, has yielded this high performance”. Thanks to its design, the system can operate without the need to heat or treat the water source. Moreover, the system was tested in a simulated Martian atmosphere at -33 ⁰F (-36⁰C) and did well. Shrihari Sankarasubramanian, a research scientist in Ramani’s group says: “Paradoxically, the dissolved perchlorate in the water, so-called impurities, actually help in an environment like that of Mars. They prevent the water from freezing and also improve the performance of the electrolyser system by lowering the electrical resistance”.

Usage on Earth

The brine electrolysis system can also be successfully used on Earth. It can use brackish or salty water, for example from the oceans, to produce hydrogen and oxygen. Such applications can be useful in the field of defense, for example in creating oxygen on demand in submarines. It can also provide oxygen, as researchers explore unexplored environments closer to home, in the deep sea.

This system is a real game-changing technology that can facilitate research on Mars and perhaps in the future will enable life there, which humanity hopes very much for.


new technologies helping blind people

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

Do you know that every 5 seconds someone in the world loses their sight? There are approximately 45 million blind people in the world and 269 million with visual impairment. Due to significant disability, such people have serious problems with movement and everyday activities.  Nowadays blind people are looking for more autonomy and developing on their own.

To help them Diego Roel created a startup called Strap Technologies (ST) to replace the white cane. Thanks to it, the blind will be able to walk in unknown locations, have access to more work places and travel opportunities and to take care of themselves – what means to achieve greater independence.

Strap Technologies is developing a wearable pod that uses the same sensors what autonomous vehicles — radar, lidar, ultrasonic — to give blind people a clearer sense of their surroundings. Strap’s chest-worn device weighs less than half a pound and is scheduled to go on sale next summer for $750. (It’s currently available for $500 on preorder.)


How does it work?

Strap calculates the proximity of the hazards and then passes this information to the user using a haptic feedback – four vibrating strips according to the grammar the user must learn. The device is able to distinguish whether the obstacle  is a hole, a step, stairs or other people. Strap contains an audible warning that indicates an imminent significant danger, such as a potential fall or something that could cause serious injury. It also has a built-in intelligent motion detector that detects when a person is resting or moving, then it automatically switches on or off. For convenience and to reduce battery consumption, the motion detector activates when motion is sensed and switches off when no movement is detected. However, in my opinion, the greatest advantage is not having to use hands. Strap is a next generation wearable device worn around a chest that can replace the white cane and make hands free.

However nowadays there are many technologically advanced activities aimed at helping the blind for example a paper published in October outlining a system that would use ultrasonic sensors in ankle- and waist-worn modules to generate audio guidance for blind users. Toronto-based iMerciv, which received a grant from Microsoft last year, sells a wearable, ultrasonic collision-warning sensor: the BuzzClip. It may also be difficult to convince people to give up their existing solutions such as the white cane, which extends the sense of touch and whose technique of use has been developed over the years. In fact, it protects people well from obstacles. Another time-tested form is a guide dog, which can distinguish between indoor and outdoor places.

Overall, the product can be very helpful and may replace the white cane in the future. People who are currently testing this device praise it very much and claim that their lives will be much easier now. But for this to happen, Strap’s next step – according to Alexander Leonessa, director of Virginia Tech’s Terrestrial Robotics Engineering & Controls Lab – should be a very thorough study of the potential population.



AI and presidential elections

Reading Time: 3 minutesIn recent weeks, the United States has been living the presidential elections, which ends on November 3. Elections are the time when people in a country are given the opportunity to decide on their future.  Every citizen can take control of the situation and choose the best president for them. As you know, technology and Internet play a huge role in our daily lives today.

In less than a decade, social media have become a threat to a democracy. As we all know, Internet can mobilise a large number of people for political actions. Unfortunately, the Internet can be used to spread false information, affect voting lists or delete votes. If we are not careful, the new world of Artificial Intelligence  may become even more dangerous weapon in the years to come.

AI can be used to manipulate individual voters. This is possible by the availability of real-time data on voters, from their behavior on social media to their consumption patterns and relationships. Paranoids receive advertisements with messages based around fear and people with a conservative predilection received advertisements with arguments based on traditions and community. Traces they leave behind on the Internet are used to build unique behavioural and psychographic profiles. The current President Donald Trump, a candidate with flexible campaign promises, is particularly well suited to this tactic. Every voter can receive a message tailored to their needs, the most important thing is to find emotional reasons that will stimulate the person to act.


Another threat are the bots. “With the 2020 election now in progress, researchers are more worried than ever that bots will interfere. The fake accounts have become more sophisticated and harder to detect.” says Emilio Ferrara, a data scientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In 2016 nearly 19% of all tweets related to the election that year were generated by bots. But then bots used simple strategies that were easy to detect: an active account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that posts every minute. Nowadays there are artificial intelligence tools that produce human-like language. Humans cannot detect bots that use AI, because they cannot distinguish them from human accounts. These bots survive longer on social-media platforms and can spread disinformation longer. There are usually more human accounts than bots, but around some political events, such as the presidential elections, there are more bots which manipulate information.

What will the future of AI in elections look like?

A survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards technology showed that a quarter of people would prefer if policy decisions were made by AI instead of politicians once elected. This probably shows a growing distrust of citizens towards the government. AI collects data about the nation and creates clear policies.

Can AI be used in politics for a good purpose?

We blame technology for the world’s evil or lost elections, but the truth is that technology itself is not harmful. It is people who use it for bad purposes: manipulating information and misleading people. But technology can support democracy. With the help of the AI, propaganda can be counteracted, and AI can be better used to listen to what people have to say and make sure that their voices and opinions are clearly heard by their elected representatives.

The AI pollster has predicted the chances of a win by Biden or Trump

Polly Pollster, the artificial intelligence pollster that correctly predicted the Liberal’s minority win in the 2019 Canadian election, has found that President Donald Trump has a slim chance of winning the White House this time around. Polly is not a traditional surveyor. In order to predict the results of the elections, artificial intelligence extracts data from social media. The advantage is to get a larger population sample and to eliminate prejudices. People don’t know that they are the sample, so the answers are consistent with their real feelings, unlike traditional questionnaires where people are biased to give answers. Even though Polly correctly predicted the outcome of the previous election, this time she may be wrong. We’ll find out soon enough.


It’s amazing, but at the same time terrifying that technology has developed so much that it knows so much about us that it can predict our choice. AI gets better every day, so we have to be careful not to use it against us.