Science and Technology (S&T) Current Affairs 2017

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Hyderabad firm develops TCAS for Railways

A Hyderabad based firm, Hyderabad Batteries Limited (HBL), have developed a new safety device to prevent train collision. The device called Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) was recently tested for its viability.

What is special about this device?

The device puts into use a combination of railway signaling data with radio communications, global position, radio frequency identification devices, software and logic. The system will automatically bring trains to a halt when collision-like situations arise or when the red signal is violated. It can prevent head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, over-speeding of trains and disregard for red signal.

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‘Genetic accident’ behind evolution of human intelligence

As per scientists, a ‘genetic accident’ which occurred around 500 million years ago was the origin of intelligence when the genes that enabled humans to think and reason evolved.

As per new findings, intelligence in humans developed as the result of an increase in the number of brain genes in our evolutionary ancestors.

Scientists also believe that the same genes that improved our mental capacity are also responsible for a number of brain disorders.

The findings say that a simple invertebrate animal living in the sea 500 million years ago went through a ‘genetic accident’, which led to formation of extra copies of these genes. These extra genes benefited the descendents of this animal which gave rise to behaviorally sophisticated vertebrates – including humans.

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‘Spaun’ the artificial brain can pass basic IQ test

Scientists in Canada have claimed to have developed world’s most sophisticated, large-scale model simulation of human brain named ‘Spaun’ which can pass the basic elements of IQ test. SPAUN is Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network.

Main features:

  • Runs on supercomputer
  • Digital eye for visual input
  • Robotic arm to draw responses
  • 2.5 million simulated neurons facilitating it to do 8 different tasks like copy drawing, counting, question answering, fluid reasoning etc.
  • It has some limitations which are simulated like human brain

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