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A Passion to Build a Better Robot, One With Social Skills and a Smile

June 10, 2003

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York is exhibiting a “cyberfloral installation” by Dr. Cynthia L. Breazeal of MIT, which features robotic flowers that sway when a human hand is near and glow in beautiful bright colors.

“The installation,” said Dr. Breazeal, “communicates my future vision of robot design that is intellectually intriguing and remains true to its technological heritage, but is able to touch us emotionally in… read more

A Patch for Broken Hearts

December 14, 2004

MIT researchers have grown a tissue patch that could repair damaged hearts, using electric signals that mimic a heartbeat to force single cardiac cells to develop into tissue similar to that of the native heart.

They attached rat cardiac cells to a three-dimensional collagen scaffold and then zapped the cells with electrical pulses modeled on a rat heartbeat for several days, inducing the cells to grow into beating patches… read more

A pathway in the brain that allows humans to learn new words

Might account for language disorders and differences between humans and non-human primates in language learning
July 25, 2013

The arcuate fasciculus (c

Researchers from King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, in collaboration with Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the University of Barcelona, have mapped the neural pathways involved in word learning among humans.

They found that the arcuate fasciculus, a collection of nerve fibers connecting auditory regions at the temporal lobe with the motor area located at the frontal lobe in the left hemisphere… read more

A patient-specific 3D virtual birth simulator

November 26, 2013

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Computer scientists from the University of East Anglia are developing a virtual birthing simulator that will help doctors and midwives prepare for unusual or dangerous births.

The new program will take into account factors such as the shape of the mother’s body and the positioning of the baby to provide patient-specific birth predictions.

“We are creating a … simulation of childbirth using 3D graphics to simulate… read more

A Peek Inside DARPA

January 23, 2007

DARPA’s research projects include cognitive technologies that enable systems to reason, learn from experience, explain themselves and reflect on their own capabilities; beneficial bacteria in the gut to protect soldiers from enteric disease; speech technology that can translate with about 50 percent accuracy, expected to reach 90 percent by 2009; and “distillation” technology designed to remove irrelevant and redundant information from masses of translated text, with a goal to go… read more

A Peek Into the Remarkable Mind Behind the Genetic Code

July 12, 2006

The first biography of Francis Crick has now appeared. In “Francis Crick, Discoverer of the Genetic Code,” Matt Ridley has created a vivid portrait that explains Crick’s scientific work with clarity, deftly outlines his career and provides sharp insights into the nature of Crick’s remarkable creativity.

A people’s view of Mars (images)

April 2, 2010

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NASA has released some of the shots that resulted when it handed over command of the HiRise camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and let the general public choose its Martian targets.

A Periodic Table Of Nanoparticles

August 22, 2006

By mixing and matching pairs of semiconducting, metallic, and magnetic nanoparticles, researchers have made many versions of what they call “binary nanoparticle superlattices.”

Their theoretical analyses, modeling work, and experimental data indicate that the factors that determine exactly what binary superlattice will form include relatively long-range electrostatic forces between the nanoparticles, close-proximity effects such as dipole interactions and van der Waals forces, size effects, and the relative concentrations of… read more

A personalized robot companion

August 20, 2013

cordis_mobiserv

A consortium of European researchers has developed a customizable robot companion for people with memory or mobility problems.

The robot, a mobile wheeled semi-humanoid figure equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface, can remind users to take their medicine, suggest they have their favorite drink or prompt them to go for a walk or visit friends if they haven’t been out for a while,… read more

A Picowatt Processor

July 8, 2008

University of Michigan have made a processor (the Phoenix) that measures just one millimeter square with a power consumption so low (2.8 picojoules of energy per computing cycle) that emerging thin-film batteries of the same size could power it for 10 years or more.

At this scale, it could be feasible to build the chip into a thick contact lens and use it to monitor pressure in the eye,… read more

A planet made of diamond

August 29, 2011

Pulsar Planet

A once-massive star has been transformed into a small planet made of diamond, researchers led by Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne have found.

The researchers first detected a pulsar using the Parkes radio telescope of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The newly discovered pulsar, known as PSR J1719–1438, produced pulses that were systematically modulated. The astronomers concluded that this… read more

A planetary mood ring

March 15, 2010

Planetary Moodring by Emily Kasriel

What if there was a central place for all of humanity to text, tweet, email, blog and click in the essence of their mood in the moment — a gigantic feelings aggregator that would provide an emotional pulse check on the planet?


That’s a concept that Digital Space CEO Bruce Damer suggested Sunday on BBC World Service program “The Forum.”… read more

A Planetary System That Looks Familiar

November 8, 2007

Astronomers reported Tuesday that there were at least five planets circling a star 41 light-years from here in the constellation Cancer, known as 55 Cancri, where only four had been known before.

This makes it the most extensive planetary system yet found outside our own. It is also the one that most resembles our solar system, with a giant planet orbiting far out from the star and four smaller… read more

A Plastic That Chills

August 12, 2008

Thin films of a new polymer developed at Penn State change temperature in response to changing electric fields (the electrocaloric effect).

This could lead to new technologies for cooling computer chips and environmentally friendly refrigerators.

A Plastic Wrapper Today Could Be Fuel Tomorrow

April 9, 2007

A “fuel-latent plastic,” designed for conversion, can be used like ordinary plastic, but when it is waste, the “bioplastic” can easily be turned into a substitute diesel fuel.

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