SciTech Roundup, 4/26

Designing a national institute for AI in construction

Artificial intelligence is becoming an integral part of various industries, and now researchers are looking into increasing the presence of AI in construction projects. Led by Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Burcu Akinci and Associate Professor of CEE Pingbo Tang, the National Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Construction is still in its nascent stages, with the goal of investigating and developing ways to integrate rapidly evolving machine learning and AI technology into modern construction work. With the ability to quickly detect and predict structural defects, AI technologies can be incorporated in large-scale construction projects to help improve the safety, efficacy, and efficiency of modern structures, leading to overall improvements in public infrastructure.

Read more about it here.

Connecting the dots between engagement and learning

Overcoming educational barriers is critical to ensuring that future generations of students are able to make the most of the opportunities presented to them. Traditional educational wisdom holds that repetition is necessary for mastery, but new research from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh shows that internal states like engagement have an impact on learning outcomes. By examining changes in internal states such as arousal, attention, motivation, and engagement using brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, researchers found that systematic variations in these factors can influence how behavior improves with learning. This work gives insight into how to develop more effective methods for teaching.

Read more about it here.

The ubiquity of tarantulas

As far as spiders go, tarantulas are iconic. With their large size and vibrant colors, they are eye-catching creatures. Researchers, including Carnegie Mellon University’s Saoirse Foley, are investigating the ancestry of spiders to learn more about their origins and when they first originated. Surprisingly, tarantulas are ancient, first emerging in the Americas about 120 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. Natural homebodies, tarantulas are now widespread thanks to continental drift.

Read more about it here.