FS Fives: Thursday, September 8

Welcome to your daily tech roundup from Futurescot.com

What can software engineers learn from maggots? Through understanding how complex learning processes in simple organisms work, scientists hope to usher in an era of self-learning robots and predictive computing. The EU-funded MINIMAL project has focused on the learning processes in a relatively simple animal, the fruit fly larva (maggots). Despite having fewer than 10 000 neurons, this creature is capable of learning quickly and flexibly certain cues that lead them towards good things and away from bad things. “Understanding the specific mechanisms behind this learning process could have important applications for technology, such as the development of self-learning small robotic devices,” explains MINIMAL project coordinator Professor Barbara Webb from the School of Informatics at Edinburgh University.

Edinburgh-based visualisation company Holoxica has created the world’s first holographic 3D digital human anatomy ‘atlas’, allowing teaching hospitals, medical schools, colleges and research centres a unique view of intricate anatomical structures. The atlas looks like a book, with physical pages that you can turn, and an integrated light. The light is used to bring out the holographic images which look spectacular as they pop right out of the page in full colour 3D. It is collaboration between Holoxica and Professor Gordon Findlater, Professor of Translation Anatomy at Edinburgh University’s School of Biomedical Sciences.

Digital manufacturing – “the fourth industrial revolution” – presents a significant opportunity for Scottish SMEs to grow, deliver enhanced productivity and compete internationally, addording to David Jones, chief executive of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre. Manufacturers are taking advantage of new digital technologies to transform how they do business, added Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson.

The new National Museum of Scotland’s revamp has boosted attendance, with almost 500,000 people having visited since it opened 10 new galleries two months ago. It is an increase of more than 30% on the same period last year. The new galleries of design, fashion and science and technology opened on 8 July at the museum on Chambers Street. The £14.1m redevelopment in the museum’s 150th anniversary year is the latest phase in an £80m masterplan to transform the museum.

And finally…The Raspberry Pi has sold 10 million units, continuing its success as the most popular British computer ever.