Science/Technology Part 5

Inside China’s growing use of facial recognition technology

February 15, 2018

  • In the past, the country has relied heavily on cardless identification. The “Smile to Pay” feature, launched by Alibaba’s Ant Financial affiliate, lets users take a grinning selfie to authenticate a digital payment. Facial recognition in China also allows students to enter university halls, travelers to board planes, and employees to enter office premises with ease and no ID cards. In 2016, Dahua Technology set a new record for labeled faces in the wild (LFW) facial recognition, beating previous records from Baidu, Tencent, and Google. Consisting of a network with over one hundred layers, Dahua’s facial recognition system is currently the deepest network among facial recognition systems. This allows a new type of metric learning method, which can detect suspects in the crowds of Beijing and even monitor pedestrians at traffic lights in the Fujian Province. Dahua says its technology helped police arrest a number of fugitives during the G20 summit. China’s Hangzhou-based Hikvision Digital Technology claims to be the world’s largest maker of surveillance technology. The company weaves facial image modeling and a similarity calculation into the system to enable facial recognition capabilities. Users apply this solution to blacklist criminals and prevent admission of known offenders to venues like sports stadiums, parks, and casinos. Ranked 11 out of 50 on MIT’s list of the world’s smartest companies, Face++, which may be the first facial-recognition AI startup, sits on a whopping valuation of $1 billion. SenseTime has used facial recognition to help the police department nab 69 suspects in one month in southwest China. The company has a growing business relationship with the government and large data sets of a vast population, which has raised concerns about privacy. Among many other things, the company’s technology can trace the route of targets in a billion-scaled database of face image capture records and has a flexible surveillance for different times, places, and targets.

At China’s new smart gas stations, no cash, cards, or smartphone apps will be required

February 7, 2018

  • How it works: When a Banma car enters the gas station, geo-fencing systems detect where it is and trigger an app on the car’s touch screen. That lets drivers select fuel, pay via Alipay, and order things from the convenience store. Humans fuel the car and bring the goods. Then the driver just … goes.

Chinese scientists develop heat-resistant memristor


  • A group of Chinese scientists have developed a high temperature-resistant memristor that could address existing challenges in the development of electronic devices. The sandwich-like memristor is composed of two layers of graphene, with a layer of molybdenum disulfide in the middle. The memristor devices exhibit excellent thermal stability and can operate at a high temperature of up to 340 degrees Celsius. Memristors are a leading candidate for future storage and neuromorphic computing.

New system developed to boost China’s earthquake prediction ability

February 08, 2018

  • Chinese scientists have discovered an earthquake monitoring system called AETA, which will be able to forecast earthquakes at least one to 15 days ahead of time after fully deployed, according to its chief developer, Science and Technology Daily reported on Feb. 8. AETA is able to capture earthquake precursors, record signs before and after a quake, and discover patterns to predict earthquakes, said Wang Xinan, director of an earthquake monitoring and prediction technology research center based in southern China’s Shenzhen.

Citation impact helps China surge ahead in latest Asia rankings

February 6, 2018

  • Breakdown of year-on-year performance of different countries shows how Chinese universities are quickly catching up with Japan as Asia’s major higher education powerhouse According to data underlying the ranking, released on 7 February, the overall average score of the country’s institutions has climbed by more than 2.5 points since last year, with about half this change a result of the increased citation impact of its scholarship.

China’s breathtaking transformation into a scientific superpower

January 21 2018

  • The National Science Foundation and the National Science Board have just released their biennial “Science & Engineering Indicators,” a voluminous document describing the state of American technology. There are facts and figures on research and development, innovation and engineers. But the report’s main conclusion lies elsewhere: China has become — or is on the verge of becoming — a scientific and technical superpower. China has become the second- largest R&D spender, accounting for 21 percent of the world total of nearly $2 trillion in 2015. Only the United States, at 26 percent, ranks higher, but if present growth rates continue, China will soon become the biggest spender. From 2000 to 2015, Chinese R&D outlays grew an average of 18 percent annually, more than four times faster than the U.S. rate of 4 percent. There has been an explosion of technical papers by Chinese teams. Although the United States and the European Union each produce more studies on biomedical subjects, China leads in engineering studies. American papers tend to be cited more often than the Chinese papers , suggesting that they involve more fundamental research questions, but China is catching up. China has dramatically expanded its technical workforce. From 2000 to 2014, the annual number of science and engineering bachelor’s degree graduates went from about 359,000 to 1.65 million. Over the same period, the comparable number of U.S. graduates went from about 483,000 to 742,000.

China embraces research competition in drive for greatness

January 23, 2018

  • China’s flagship initiative to create more than 40 “world-class” universities is set to adopt a new UK-influenced system linking research funding to disciplinary excellence, experts have predicted. While little is known about how China will distribute huge amounts of funding under its “Double First Class” project to establish 42 “world-class” universities by 2050, new results from the country’s latest research audit have given the biggest clue as to how institutions will be funded during the world’s largest university investment programme. In the ratings, Peking University is China’s most highly regarded research university, with 21 A+ disciplinary areas and a further 11 A-grade areas, followed by Tsinghua University, which had 21 A+ areas and eight A-grade marks, the audit showed.

Chinese doctors use virtual reality tech to help with operation 3,700km away

12 January, 2018

  • Doctors in China have used virtual reality technology and 3D imaging to allow a surgeon to help in an operation taking place thousands of kilometres away, according to a newspaper report. Doctors performed the surgery on a bone fracture at a hospital in Bortala in the Xinjiang region of northwest China on Monday, the Xinjiang Morning Post reported.

CES becomes the Chinese electronics show as Shenzhen, Dongguan exhibitors throng fair

09 January, 2018

  • The number of Chinese exhibitors have quadrupled to 1,551 this year, from a mere 400 as recent as in 2011, the biggest group coming from Shenzhen. As many as 1,551 Chinese companies registered to display their products and software applications in Las Vegas this week, out of a record turnout of 4,500 exhibitors, according to the Consumer Technology Association, which organised the show. The biggest bloc of the Chinese companies – 482 of them – were from Shenzhen, the test bed of China’s 1978 experiment with capitalism just north of Hong Kong, and a claimant to the title as China’s Silicon Valley, according to the CTA’s data.

China developing first smart oil carrier


  • Engineers with Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. (DSIC) are working on China’s first smart crude oil carrier, which will incorporate technology to help the captain operate the ship. The company is undertaking a special project named “smart ship 1.0 R&D,” assigned by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, according to Guan Yinghua, deputy chief engineer of DSIC.

China Is Opening Up City Roads for Driverless Cars

December 18, 2017

  • On Monday, Beijing’s Municipal Commission of Transport announced (Chinese) provisional regulations for testing self-driving cars on city roads. Companies that are registered in China and have tested self-driving cars in enclosed spaces can now apply for permission to test their vehicles on Beijing’s bustling roads.

Scientists develop new method for more effective photothermal treatment of tumors

December 12, 2017

  • Nanorods made of bismuth sulfide kill tumor cells with heat when they are irradiated with near-infrared light (NIR). Chinese scientists are now making these weapons more powerful by remodeling the defect state of the nanorod crystal lattice by adding gold nanodots. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this could be a good basis for more effective photothermal treatment of tumors. Nanomaterials made from the semiconductor bismuth sulfide (Bi2S3) are well suited for this job. Researchers working with Haiyuan Zhang at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Changchun, Jilin, China) have now been able to clarify the mechanisms that underlie the photothermal properties of these materials. Building on this knowledge, they have been able to improve the photothermal performance of bismuth sulfide nanorods by adding gold nanodots to their surface.

Superbacteria Could Soon Be Eating China’s Factory Waste

December 12, 2017

  • In a Hong Kong laboratory, researchers are working with one of the world’s biggest cloth makers to improve its production process using a special ingredient: bacteria. TAL Apparel Ltd., which has factories in mainland China and Southeast Asia, has teamed up with City University to identify bacteria that can clean up more efficiently the vast quantities of waste water the textile industry produces. It’s one of hundreds of efforts by China’s private and state-owned companies to fix a problem that could end up rewriting the playbook of the global fashion industry. The price of ensuring a sustainable water supply in China is yet another expense for factories that are already being squeezed by higher land and labor costs. And while automation and overseas production offer some respite, China’s companies are turning to other technologies to preserve operating margins that, even for major players such as Crystal International Group Ltd., can be less than 10 percent.

China develops world’s first digital positron emission tomography


  • The world’s first digital positron emission tomography (PET ) has been developed at China’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan City, central China. The medical imaging device which helps doctors detect cancer and brain diseases is expected to better fight serious diseases at a lower cost. In early November, Professor Xie Qingguo and his team at HUST conducted full digital PET for online proton beam monitoring in Taiwan Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, which has the largest and most advanced proton radiotherapy center in Asia.

Xi says China must accelerate execution of big data strategy


  • President Xi Jinping has urged Chinese to accelerate the implementation of a big data strategy to better serve social and economic development and improve people’s lives. Efforts should be made to improve digital infrastructure, promote the integration and sharing of digital resources, and safeguard data security, Xi said during a joint study session of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee’s Political Bureau on Friday. “We should target cutting-edge technology and mobilize prime resources to make breakthroughs in developing core big data technology, and accelerate building an independent and controllable industrial chain, value chain and eco-system of big data,” said Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

Better mastery of heat flow leads to next-generation thermal cloaks

Dec 04, 2017

  • Now, Liujun Xu and colleagues from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, have explored a new mechanism for designing such materials. These findings published in EPJ B (“Periodic composites: quasi-uniform heat conduction, Janus thermal illusion, and illusion thermal diodes”) could have implications for manipulating the transfer of thermal energy as a way to ultimately reduce heat waste from fossil fuels and help mitigate energy crises.

China starts 3rd phase of 5G tests


  • China has started the third phase of 5G technology research and development tests, ahead of schedule, as the country accelerates steps to gain a lead in the race toward commercializing the next-generation communication technology. The move came as China Mobile Communications Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd showcased the world’s smallest 5G testing terminal on Friday, indicating that the country will pioneer the world in 5G research and development.

Chinese facial recognition start-up eyes global opportunities beyond public security

22 November, 2017

  • Investment in Chinese artificial intelligence firms reached US$2.76 billion last year as Beijing looks to transform the nation into an AI innovation centre by 2030 Three seconds is all it takes to identify someone from the 1.4 billion faces stored in China’s national databases, and public security agencies have been the major source of demand for Yitu’s technology so far, according to Lin Chenxi, one of Yitu’s co-founders and responsible for product research and development.