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Sensitive robots taught to gauge human emotion

January 8, 2003

Robotics designers are working with psychologists at Vanderbilt University to improve human-machine interfaces by teaching robots to sense human emotions.

The researchers measured electrocardiogram profiles for specific mental states and performed preliminary analysis of the profiles using signal-processing algorithms and experimental methods like fuzzy logic and wavelet analysis. They have found two EKG frequency bands vary predictably with changes in stress. They are now looking at skin conductance and… read more

First speed of gravity measurement revealed

January 8, 2003

The speed of gravity has been measured for the first time. The landmark experiment shows that it travels at the speed of light, supporting Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The result should help narrow down the possible number of extra dimensions in the universe and their sizes.

Heads and tails: Practical quantum computers are another step closer

January 7, 2003

Researchers have developed a way to increase the number of qubits (quantum bits) that can be entangled (interact) from 10 to nearer 100. Since the power of a quantum computer should rise exponentially with the number of entangled qubits, that would have enormous consequences.


January 7, 2003

Researchers in Beijing have demonstrated a way to hide messages in chaotic signals for two-way voice transmission on a computer network.

The researchers claim the scheme is reasonably secure (it would take an intruder armed with a personal computer more than a million times the lifetime of the universe to break the code) as well as being feasible in realistic, commercial settings.


January 7, 2003

American soldiers may wear Kevlar vests that will protect against biological agents as well as stop bullets. With the flick of a switch, the sleeves of their uniform may stiffen into anti-shrapnel armor or a medical splint. They may carry night-vision contacts lenses, while a patch on their shoulder or helmet signals their position to their commander….

Interface gets the point

January 7, 2003

Researchers are trying to get a computer to recognize gestures by correlating speech signals and hand velocity.

The system could eventually enable more natural human-computer interfaces in applications like crisis management, surgery, vvideo games, and biometric authentication.

On the Scent of Terrorists

January 4, 2003

DARPA wants someone to develop a sniffing machine that can detect individuals by their body odor.

Applicants must, within 15 months of research, identify the specific odors produced by the immune system, whether directly or through bacterial action. After another 15 months, any confounding smells produced by stress, diet, health and age must also be catalogued. And then applicants will have two more years to develop a person-sniffer that… read more

Patients Find ‘Gut-Cam’ Technology Easy to Swallow

January 3, 2003

The M2A disposable diagnostic capsule, also called the “gut cam,” is the first of its kind: a self-contained, miniature, disposable color video system designed to travel painlessly through the digestive system, continuously capturing images along the way to spot tumors, internal bleeding and lesions.

Ten technologies to watch in 2003

January 3, 2003

Terabyte holographic storage, ubiquitous radio-frequency identity chips, affordable consumer robots, and larger/cheaper LCD displays are among the new technologies to watch this year.

Giving robots the gift of sight

January 1, 2003

Hans Moravec has completed work on a three-dimensional robotic vision system that can navigate offices and homes. It consists of stereoscopic digital cameras and 3D grid software that determines the robot’s distance from objects by noticing the different placement of the object in the two camera images and applying a geometric equation.

Genetically modified ‘protato’ to feed India’s poor

January 1, 2003

Genetically modified potatoes will play a key part in an ambitious 15-year plan to combat malnutrition among India’s poorest children. Researchers added the AmA1 gene to potatoes, with the result that they make a third more protein than usual.

More Than Good Intentions: Holding Fast to Faith in Free Will

December 31, 2002

When neurologists make patients’ limbs jerk by electrically zapping certain regions of their brains, the patients often insist they meant to move that arm, and they even invent reasons why. Neurologists call these erroneous, post hoc explanations confabulations, but Dr. Daniel M. Wegner, a psychologist at Harvard, prefers the catchier “intention inventions.” He suggests that whenever we explain our acts as the outcome of our conscious choice, we are engaging… read more

New Billboards Sample Radios as Cars Go By, Then Adjust

December 29, 2002

A Sacramento-based entrepreneur has erected ten billboards with programmable video, text, and images that can be adjusted based on the stations that drivers are listening to.

The technology works by detecting radiation leakage that is emitted when antennas are tuned to specific radio stations.

Uzbek inventor creates eyesight substitute

December 27, 2002

A video signal received from an electronic eye and converted to sound and mechanical oscillations can be used as an eyesight substitute for the blind.

The device uses an electronic light sensor and emits sounds and vibrations according to the composition of the object. For example, the pitch of the sound becomes higher if the object is light in color and lower if the object is dark. Users can… read more

Sick? DNA Scanner Tells What Ails

December 27, 2002

A prototype diagnostic tool under development by two London companies offers rapid genetic analysis of infectious diseases, delivering results in a half hour rather than the usual two weeks with DNA labs.

The box takes a DNA sample directly from saliva. DNA is extracted from the sample and then multiplied in a miniature polymerase chain reaction, which clones DNA strands rapidly. Once enough DNA is present, it can be… read more

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