Assaraf R.,University Pierre and Marie Curie |
Caffarel M.,CNRS Laboratory for Quantum Chemistry and Physics |
Kollias A.C.,United States Patent and Trademark
Physical Review Letters
We present a method to efficiently evaluate small energy differences of two close N-body systems by employing stochastic processes having a stability versus chaos property. By using the same random noise, energy differences are computed from close trajectories without reweighting procedures. The approach is presented for quantum systems but can be applied to classical N-body systems as well. It is exemplified with diffusion MonteCarlo simulations for long chains of hydrogen atoms and molecules for which it is shown that the long-standing problem of computing energy derivatives is solved. © 2011 American Physical Society. Source
News Article | August 19, 2015
This past April, the United States Patent and Trademark Organization approved Boeing's patent application to build a drone that is "adaptable for both flight and water travel." Like most patents initially, the adaptable vehicle is still just a design — but if it reaches the production stage, then it has an interesting set of potential applications, especially in the context of military defense. So how would this transformer-like drone work exactly? Well, the magic is in all the different working parts. An underwater drone is launched atop an aircraft carrier and later released. Upon reaching the surface of the water, the smaller underwater drone sheds its superfluous and heavy parts (wings, air propellers, etc.) to optimize its hydrodynamic abilities. Imagine the scene of a space shuttle ejecting its excessive machinery upon entering the orbit. When submerged, these detached parts would be replaced with a new set of underwater propellers and various control surfaces to help maneuver it. There is also a buoyancy tank that controls the depth of the drone underwater. This kind of system has been used in making payload deliveries and for covert reconnaissance missions. When it resurfaces, it can transmit the data it has collected back to its home base. Although the idea – or different variations of it – isn't new, it will be interesting to see the private sector's take on the technology if it goes into production. Here's a video from Patent Yogi that helps explain the vehicle's workings in greater detail:
News Article | January 11, 2016
The two biggest rivals of the smartphone industry, Samsung and Apple, are expected to implement a dual-camera setup in their upcoming flagships, but Apple is one step ahead. Although there is little information on the specs and functionality of the new camera system, the Cupertino-based company lately filed a patent application in the United States. Apple's patent, entitled "Mobile Camera System," appeared in the files of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and shed some light on the rumors that Apple tinkers with the dual-camera setup technology. To summarize, Apple patented an optical zoom for its upcoming smartphones. The solution to turning this idea into reality is to have a two camera setup on the handset, each set with different focal lengths. There are some other pluses to the camera, such as taking two different pictures at a time and combining them afterwards. Read on to see what Tim Cook's company has in store. Photography enthusiasts know that optical zoom is found exclusively in point-and-shoot and DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras. The latter, which is also known as "digital SLR" or just "DSLR," is a digital camera that integrates the mechanisms and optics of a single-lens reflex camera with the advantages of a digital imaging sensor. The fact that the image forms on the digital sensor sets it apart from photographic film cameras, where the image takes shape directly on film. In comparison with DSLRs, the cameras on handsets today can only deliver digital zoom. It should be noted that zooming digitally acts more like a cropping mechanism. The consequence of this is that when you use your 12-megapixel handset camera to zoom in, you virtually get a 5-megapixel image after digitally zooming. On the other hand, optical zooming guarantees that you get a closer look at your photo subject without losing resolution quality. A 12-megapixel camera that packs optical zoom capability will deliver a zoomed-in photograph at precisely 12-megapixel. Apple's patent promises that the two-rear cameras will offer even more neat features. For example, users may record videos at two different speeds, simultaneously. Merging a video shot in slow-motion with the normal speed variant could yield promising results. It may not win you the next Cannes award, but it will certainly poll more likes and shares than your standard clips. Did you ever consider taking a photo and record a video, at the same time? Apple did, and although the option exists on current iPhones, the manufacturer wants to take it up a notch. Thanks to the dual-camera setup, users will be able to snap full-res photographs with two different focal lengths. Apple's patent even explains how this feature can come in handy. Say you are at a baseball game and one of the two rear cameras captures a wide shot of the batter, while you assign the second rear camera to zoom in and catch the batter in full swing. How cool is that? If dual-photography is not your thing, you might enjoy the possibility to take videos with one camera while you snap pictures with the other. The patent promises some future-proof video recording options. If you want, you can simultaneously record videos in two different resolutions. Whether you do it so you can re-watch the Little League on your new 4K TV, or you want to have a smaller file that's easily sharable via social media, the dual camera setup is there to get you through. According to sources, Apple, Samsung and various other OEMs in China placed orders for components that are found exclusively in dual-cameras. Fans of high-resolution time-lapses can expect future handsets to sport a lot more RAM memory too, so that the complex images taken with the dual camera setup will be processed at a click's speed. Samsung is also said to implement a similar technology in its flagship handsets, but not as soon as the South Korean OEM hoped. An important mention has to be made: not all patents end up under the hoods of the end products, and Apple might just be testing the waters here. However, the company made a name for itself for being constantly innovative, so there is a high chance that we will see the dual-camera setup on the next generation of iPhones.
Crystal structure of S pyogenes Cas9 in complex with sgRNA and its target DNA at 2.5 A ˚ resolution. Credit: Nishimasu, et al. 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.02.001 (Phys.org)—The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officially agreed this past Monday to move forward with interference hearings regarding the case of the true inventor of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique. This sets the stage for a major battle between two groups of scientists, their affiliated institutions and supporters backing one or the other who hope to reap large financial rewards from its use. CRISPR/Cas9 has been in the news a lot of late, as it has been used to edit genes in ways that were never possible before, allowing for a whole host of new research opportunities. The development of the technique has taken a long and winding road as is the case with most modern inventions, with many people from around the world making small contributions to the science of gene editing which eventually led to some researchers having what was needed to develop the new technique. At least two teams of them filed for a patent on the product in the U.S. The first was a team with the University of California, led by Jennifer Doudna, they filed for a patent in late 2013. The second was a team affiliated with MIT and the Broad Institute, headed by Feng Zhang—they filed in early 2014, but, realizing they had something pretty special, they asked for and were granted an expedited process which meant that their patent was granted before the one submitted by the UofC team was completed, leaving the UoC team out in the cold. This past April, attorneys for UoC requested an interference on the case, claiming they should have been granted the patent because they filed first—the request by the MIT team should have been recognized as an interfering party, they claim, because their application interfered with the original. The judge on the case, Deborah Katz, designated the UoC team as the "senior party" which essentially means that the USPTO is starting the hearings with the assumption that the UoC team should hold the patent, leaving the MIT team to prove that it invented the procedure first, regardless of who filed first. There is one minor detail in the case that could turn things in MIT's favor—when filing for the patent, the UoC team did not include words describing the technique as something to be used on mammalian cells—including humans. They were more general, whereas the MIT team was much more specific regarding how the technique could be used. It is not likely there will be quick resolution to the dispute, both sides will likely be given time to find and compile pertinent evidence and then to present it, and others might be allowed to chime in as well. All in all it could take months, but the effort should be more than worth it as there are millions to be made in licensing fees. Explore further: New techniques improve specificity of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tools
News Article | January 28, 2016
Sony's attempt to trademark "Let's Play," a term that for years has been commonly used to describe videos of people playing through and reacting to video games, has been shot down. Earlier this month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office website showed that Sony applied to trademark "Let's Play" to describe “Electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks; streaming of audio, visual, and audiovisual material via global and local computer networks.” Gaming is a hugely popular category for video content on the internet. It’s why Amazon acquired the video game streaming platform Twitch for $1 billion, and why the most famous creator of "Let's Play" videos Pewdiepie has the most popular channel on YouTube with 41 million subscribers. Basically, if Sony managed to register this “Let’s Play” trademark, the company would be in a good position to sue any YouTuber or Twitch streamer who used the term to promote their videos, even though the term has been commonly used in the gaming community for roughly a decade. The USPTO said it would likely reject Sony's application in its initial form, but gave Sony six months to address its concerns, namely that Sony's application is too similar to an existing trademark called "LP Let’z Play.” Stephen McArthur, an attorney who spends his time counseling clients on trademark and copyright issues in the video game industry, told Motherboard that this would have been an easy concern for Sony to address because the "LP Let’z Play" trademark was abandoned. Fearing that Sony would be able to register the "Let's Play" trademark, McArthur filled a Letter of Protest, an obscure procedure that allows third parties to submit evidence for the USPTO to consider before a trademark is published. The letter provided the USPTO with blog posts, the "Let's Play" subreddit, and other evidence demonstrating "Let's Play" was used long before Sony's application to describe video game streaming in general, not Sony's video game streaming service in particular. On Wednesday, a post on The McArthur Law Firm website announced that the Letter of Protest worked. "The USPTO has finally agreed that 'Let’s Play' is a common term in the industry and it issued a strong rebuke of Sony’s attempt to monopolize the term," the post said. An excerpt from the USPTO's argument posted to The McArthur Law Firm website shows that it refused Sony's application to trademark "Let's Play" because "the applied-for mark merely describes a feature of applicant's services." According to The McArthur Law Firm the USPTO’s evidence consisted entirely of the first two sources included in its Letter of Protest: the Wikipedia page for "Let’s Play" and the /r/letsplay subreddit. With it's current application refused, Sony has six months to respond with its own evidence and argument in support of registration, though it's not likely to succeed. "Given the strength of this evidence, we are confident that Sony will not be able to overcome this rejection," The McArthur Law Firm said. "The term “Let’s Play” is now forever in the public domain."