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What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us

June 28, 2004

Privacy advocates are hindering development of sophisticated pattern-analysis and data mining tools for detecting terrorist networks, say some experts.

What We Can Learn from Robots

December 28, 2004

Mitsuo Kawato, director of the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, believes that experiments on humanoid robots can provide simplified models of what certain groups of neurons in the brain are doing.

Then, using advanced imaging techniques, he looks at whether brain cells in monkeys and humans accord with the models.

By combining magnetic-resonance imaging, which offers millimeter-level resolution, with electrical and magnetic recording techniques, which resolve… read more

What ultra-tiny nanocircuits can do

February 10, 2011

Researchers have used germanium wires to create a 'nanochip'. (Lieber Group/Harvard Univ)

Engineers and scientists collaborating at Harvard University and the MITRE Corp. have developed and demonstrated the world’s first programmable nanoprocessor.

The groundbreaking prototype computer system, described in a paper appearing Feb. 9 in the journal Nature, represents a significant step forward in the complexity of computer circuits that can be assembled from synthesized nanoscale components.

It also represents an advance because these ultra-tiny nanocircuits… read more

What to Wear: Why Not a Computer?

October 15, 2002

Wearable computers are especially well suited for disabled people. Under development: a universal control interface that would allow cell phones, PDAs and wearable control systems read simple hand gestures to control a wide variety of devices; small head-mounted visual displays to provide on-the-fly captioning to manage a variety of devices with wireless connections; tele-health systems for monitoring real-time vital signs in patients; and “way-finding systems,” which use a global positioning… read more

What to expect from the Google I/O conference

Tablet, Maps, Cloud Services, Drive... and maybe Google Glass -- where to watch live starting Tuesday 6/26
June 26, 2012


Google’s annual developer conference starts today (June 26) at Moscone Center in San Francisco, ReadWriteWeb reports, with these expccted announcements:

  • Tablet: Google is expected to unveil a seven-inch, $199 tablet under the flagship Nexus brand., or possibly a tablet running Chrome OS.
  • Maps: Google is taking Maps to “the next dimension” with new 3D technology and an improved user interface, Google Maps, and apps built

read more

What to Expect at CES 2012 and Beyond

January 11, 2011

Improved video will be a key focus for future consumer electronics, according to a panel at the IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics (ICCE). The cutting edge is now processing HD video at 60 frames per second, capturing several images from the sensor and combining them into one “good” picture or frame of video.

The algorithms used to perform this processing will receive a significant performance boost… read more

What the Web knows about you

January 28, 2009

Much of the publicly available information on individuals online is sourced from online county, state and federal government records databases, with little or no attempt made to redact sensitive personal data such as Social Security numbers — a treasure trove for data aggregators, brokers and criminals.

A Computerworld special report explains how individuals can play a role in reducing their information footprint and shaping the information that is available… read more

What the net did next

January 7, 2004

The Internet is set to become the basis for just about every form of communication, according to net pioneer Vint Cerf.

The Enum initiative attempts to turn phone numbers into net addresses and give people a universal way of contacting anyone, provided they know at least one e-mail, address, phone or pager number for them.

Naming Authority Pointer (NATPR) allows almost anything, such as book or magazine ISBN… read more

What technology from science fiction would you most like to see as science fact?

June 17, 2012

Stargate (credit: MGM)

Friday, @DARPA asked the twitterverse, “What technology from science fiction would you most like to see as science fact?

Amusing answers, ranging from Stargate to “very tiny Rick Moranis” and Andy Levy’s “Black goo that tears apart your DNA.”

Your ideas?


What technologies will crowdfunding create?

September 17, 2012


Inventor Jay Silver, creator of MaKey MaKey, an “invention kit” consisting of a processor board and alligator clips that turns objects with high electrical resistance — bananas, Play-Doh, human flesh — into computer controllers, listed the project on Kickstarter this year hoping to raise $25,000.

He ended up with $568,106 from 11,124 people, Technology Review reports.

In the U.S., Internet funding occurs on Indiegogo,… read more

What running robots can learn from turkeys

October 30, 2014

Model of motion (Credit: OSU)

With an eye toward making better running robots, researchers from from Oregon State University, the Royal Veterinary College and other institutions have made surprising new findings about some of nature’s most energy-efficient bipeds — running birds.

These are some of the most sophisticated runners of any two-legged land animals, including humans, the researchers found in a study published Wednesday (Oct. 29) in the Journal of Experimental Biology, with an… read more

What Other People Say May Change What You See

June 29, 2005

A new study used advanced brain-scanning technology to cast light on a topic that psychologists have puzzled over for more than half a century: social conformity.

They found evidence that other people’s views can actually affect how someone perceives the external world, implying that truth itself is called into question.

What makes us decide to stay or go?

June 16, 2011

Michael Platt and colleagues at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University have found that a small group of neurons in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of the primate brain steadily increases its firing rate during foraging until a threshold is reached and the animal moves on.

The experimenters had the rhesus macaque monkeys direct their gaze to selected portions of a computer screen to… read more

What makes Paris look like Paris? CMU software uncovers stylistic core

Visual data mining of Google Street View identifies cities' distinctive details
August 8, 2012

These two photos might seem nondescript, but each contains hints about which city it might belong to. Given a large image database of a given city, our algorithm is able to automatically discover the geographically-informative elements (patch clusters to the right of each photo) that help in capturing its “look and feel”. On the top, the emblematic street sign, a balustrade window, and the balcony support are all very indicative of Paris, while on the bottom, the neoclassical columned entryway sporting a balcony, a Victorian window, and, of course, the cast iron railing are very much features of London.


Paris is one of those cities that has a look all its own, something that goes beyond landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and INRIA/Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris have developed visual data mining software that can automatically detect these sometimes subtle features, such as street signs, streetlamps and balcony railings, that give Paris and other… read more

What Kind of Genius Are You?

July 12, 2006

A new theory suggests that creativity comes in two distinct types — quick and dramatic, or careful and quiet.

“Conceptual innovators” make bold, dramatic leaps in their disciplines. They do their breakthrough work when they are young.

“Experimental innovators” proceed by a lifetime of trial and error and thus do their important work much later in their careers.

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