Sydney : Developing an artificial intelligence tool that helps infertile men conceive

Infertility affects 7% of men worldwide, and artificial intelligence can help solve the problem.

Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia have developed an artificial intelligence system that can detect sperm in samples taken from severely infertile men faster than trained professionals.

The system, called SpermSearch, works by analyzing images of sperm samples and identifying any healthy sperm cells.

This is done in seconds, compared to the six or seven hours it can take an embryologist to manually search for viable sperm.

“SpermSearch can highlight potentially viable sperm before humans can even process what they are looking at,” explained Dr. Stephen Vasilescu, founder of medical company NeoGenix Biosciences, and study leader at the University of Technology Sydney, who developed the software.

It is designed to help men who have no sperm to ejaculate at all, a condition called non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA), which affects 10% of infertile men.

In these cases, a small portion of the testicle is surgically removed and the embryologist manually searches for healthy sperm in the laboratory.

This procedure involves the tedious process of separating tissues from each other and examining them under a microscope. If any viable sperm are found, they can be extracted and injected into the egg.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr. Vasilescu pointed out: “There may be only 10 sperm, in addition to millions of other cells. It is like searching for a needle in a haystack.”

SpermSearch has been trained to quickly identify sperm in these complex tissue samples by being shown thousands of these images.

In a recent scientific paper, a biomedical engineering team at the University of Technology Sydney described the sperm search test as being 1,000 times faster than that of an experienced embryologist.

AI is not designed to replace embryologists, but to assist them, thus improving the chances of success by reducing fatigue and inaccuracy.

While the AI ​​system is still in the early stages of development, it has the potential to revolutionize infertility treatment by reducing the time and cost of treatment.

However, SpermSearch is currently still in the proof-of-concept phase, with a very small trial involving just seven patients.

California : Humanity will overtake all life on Earth within 90 years

Scientists predict that within the next 90 years, humanity will outpace all other life forms on Earth. This means that humans will be the most connected people on the planet.

A recent study conducted by a team of scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, analyzed communication patterns between different species on Earth. They found that humans are already the most communicative species, but our communication capabilities will increase in the future.

Scientists predict that by 2110, humans will communicate at a rate of about 10²⁴ bits per second. This is an incredibly high communication rate, estimated to be 10,000 times greater than the current communication rate on Earth.

Although it would be nearly impossible to get an accurate measure of the rate of data exchanged between terrestrial organisms, you can estimate the rate as an order of magnitude. One way to do this is to look at the number of living cells and their data exchange because they make up the bulk of life on Earth. Based on many studies, the total number of prokaryotes, such as bacteria, is about 10²⁹ cells. These cells exchange one bit of information in about three hours, so the Earth's biosphere exchanges on a very large scale, about 10²⁴ bits of information every second.

In contrast, estimating the technological environment, or the totality of digital information that humans exchange, is a little easier. Based on data exchange over the Internet, our bit rate is about 10¹⁵bit/s, which is a billionth of the rate of a biosphere (i.e. closed, self-regulating systems containing ecosystems that support life in any form).

But while the biosphere is relatively stable over time (except for the occasional mass extinction), our digital data is growing at an exponential rate. If our technosphere (the development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things) continues to expand at historic rates, it will overtake the biosphere in less than a century.

Humans will be able to communicate with each other and with machines in ways that were previously unimaginable.

However, scientists also warn that this increase in communication may have negative consequences. As humans become more reliant on technology to communicate, we may lose the ability to communicate face-to-face and develop meaningful relationships with others.

Overall, the study highlights the importance of understanding the impact of technology on communication and the need to balance our reliance on technology with our ability to communicate in more traditional ways.

European Space Agency : A "terrifying" scene of the final farewell to a satellite before it falls into the Earth's atmosphere

International regulations on space debris mitigation set a limit to the “residence” of a satellite in orbit once its mission is complete, which must be no longer than 25 years.

For low-altitude missions, their return is faster, as they are captured by the Earth's atmosphere and mostly destroyed there.

This was the fate of the European Space Agency's Aeolus satellite after it completed a mission to analyze our planet's winds.

Last Tuesday, the European Space Agency released a series of images showing Aiolos as it began to plummet through the atmosphere.

Scientists captured rare views of the satellite shortly before its disappearance. The images come from a radar antenna at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany.

The views of the collapsed satellite represent a fascinating glimpse into the final moments of a mission that refused to become part of Earth's space junk problem.

“The color in these final images represents the intensity of the radar echo, not the temperature,” the European Space Agency said.

During the first-ever supported re-entry of Aeolus last July, the risk of falling debris (already low) was not only reduced, but the time it was left out of control in orbit was shortened by a few weeks. This reduces the risk of collision with other satellites on this vital space path.

Aiolos became space debris after the last command was executed at 17:43 CEST on July 28, 2023, after which the flight control team was no longer able to communicate with, listen to or influence the satellite.

After months of preparation and a week of intense and critical operations, the team pulled out all the stops, and the satellite was disabled, parked, and “handed over” to the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office, which tracked its final landing.

"Aiolos", which weighs a little more than a ton, gradually descended from an altitude of 320 kilometers to an altitude of 120 kilometers, then penetrated the atmosphere and collapsed.

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Looking at the ground track, which is the track Aeolus flew over, it was clear that the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany would have a good view.

Using the 34-metre-long TIRA radar antenna, they tracked Aeolus at around 18:20 CEST for about four minutes.

“Spacecraft operators are used to entering into a dialogue with their missions, but the debris cannot communicate,” explains Benjamin Bastida-Virgili, an expert at the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office. “These final observations confirmed that the final burn of Aiolus had gone well and that the satellite” "Dead" has reached the expected elliptical orbit, with a minimum altitude of 120 km.

The radar antenna in Germany was able to track the satellite for about four minutes. The data helped ESA determine the exact reentry path and time.

The satellite burned up safely over an uninhabited area of ​​Antarctica about two hours later. If any debris fell on the ground, it would not have affected human lives or homes.

At around 20:40 CEST, Aiolos became a fireball, a "temporary star" in the atmosphere.

The European Space Agency is now designing satellites with debris mitigation in mind. But Aiolos predates these efforts, so the space agency came up with a way to help it safely return to the atmosphere. The goal was to make sure any pieces that didn't burn got to a safe place where they wouldn't hurt people. The Aeolus team performed a complex set of maneuvers to lower the satellite's orbit.

“The Aiolos mission was a great example of sustainable spaceflight and responsible operations,” said Tommaso Parinello, Aiolos mission director. “We stayed with the mission as long as possible and guided its return as much as was possible. These images are our final farewell to the mission that we all miss.” "Her legacy still lives on."

"Aeolos" was launched in 2018, carrying an instrument that measures Earth's winds on a global scale. “These observations have improved weather forecasts and climate models,” the European Space Agency said. The satellite spent nearly five years in orbit and returned to Earth on July 28.

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