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Wearable cameras allow for motion capture anywhere

August 9, 2011

Motion Capture

A wearable camera system makes it possible for motion capture to occur almost anywhere — in natural environments, over large areas, and outdoors, scientists at Disney Research, Pittsburgh (DRP), and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have shown.

The camera system reconstructs the relative and global motions of an actor, using a process called structure from motion (SfM) to estimate the pose of the cameras… read more

Weapon of Mass Diffraction

June 30, 2006

Shoot a laser 56 miles into the mesosphere and measure the distortion. Then adjust the laser’s mirrors until the beam is back in focus. Whatever optical tweaks correct the beam will also focus a telescope. And help build an anti-satellite weapon.

We, Robots

July 14, 2004

“In 2035, sleek humanoid robots that walk, talk and think will be as common as iPods. At least they are in ‘I, Robot.’

“When the big-budget thriller hits movie screens Friday, it will be hard not to notice the gap between the clunky robots of today and those doing battle with Will Smith’s Detective Del Spooner.”

“Yet the future is arriving, one bot at a time. Robots today… read more

‘We will be able to live to 1,000′

December 6, 2004

Cambridge University geneticist Aubrey de Grey believes life expectancy will soon extend dramatically to 1,000.

The SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) project, a detailed plan to repair all types of molecular and cellular damage, should be working in humans in 20 years, he says.

“I think the first person to live to 1,000 might be 60 already.”

‘We should stop designing perfect circuits’

October 8, 2013

Computer chips (credit: iStockphoto)

Christian Enz, head of the EPFL Integrated Circuits Laboratory (ICLAB), says we should build future devices with unreliable circuits, and adopt the “good enough engineering” trend to reduce energy consumption and continue to reduce transistor size.

The problem: We are beginning to hit a wall on miniaturization. As transistors get smaller, they produce more mistakes, so hardware must be added and performance must be decreased, which… read more

We now know that the brain controls the formation of bone

December 23, 2009

The neurotransmitter Neuropeptide Y (NPY) directly controls osteoblasts, the cells that make bone in mice, a neuroscientist from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, has demonstrated.

When we are starving, our brains don’t allow us to waste energy by reproducing, making fat or creating new bone. When we are eating too much, on the other hand, our brains make it easier to reproduce, store fat and create bone.

We may all be Martians, says geochemist

It's likely that life came to Earth on a Martian meteorite; conditions suitable for the origin of life may still exist on Mars
August 30, 2013

mars_nasa_image

New evidence has emerged that supports the long-debated theory that life on Earth may have started on Mars.

Speaking at the at the annual Goldschmidt conference on Thursday, Professor Steven Benner from The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology told geochemists that an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, which may have been crucial to the origin of life, could only have been available… read more

We humans can mind-meld too

July 27, 2010

Uri Hasson of Princeton University.found that fMRI scans of 11 people’s brains as they listened to a woman recounting a story.showed that the listeners’ brain patterns tracked those of the storyteller almost exactly, but 1 to 3 seconds behind. In some listeners, brain patterns even preceded those of the storyteller.

We can survive killer asteroids — but it won’t be easy

April 4, 2012

(Credit: Don Davis)

More than a thousand known asteroids are classed as “potentially hazardous,” based on size and trajectory, says astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson in Wired Science.

Currently, it looks doable to develop an early-warning and defense system that could protect the human species from impactors larger than a kilometer wide. … Smaller ones, which reflect much less light and are therefore much harder to detect at great distances, carry enough energy to incinerate entire… read more

We can feed 9 billion people in 2050

January 12, 2011

The 9 billion people projected to inhabit the Earth by 2050 need not starve in order to preserve the environment, says a major report on sustainability out this week based on a huge five-year modeling exercise by the French national agricultural and development research agencies, INRA andCIRAD.

We Are the Web

August 3, 2005

The Web, a planet-sized computer, is comparable in complexity to a human brain. Both the brain and the Web have hundreds of billions of neurons (or Web pages). Each biological neuron sprouts synaptic links to thousands of other neurons, while each Web page branches into dozens of hyperlinks.

That adds up to a trillion “synapses” between the static pages on the Web. The human brain has about 100 times… read more

We are now one year away from global riots, complex systems theorists say

September 11, 2012

Riots

What’s the number one reason we riot? Hunger — food becoming too scarce or too expensive. So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense, Motherboard reports.

In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute (CSI) unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they… read more

We Are All Mutants: Measurement Of Mutation Rate In Humans By Direct Sequencing

September 3, 2009

We all carry 100-200 new mutations in our DNA, according to researchers from The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute/

‘Wavelength disk drive’ speeds distributed computing

June 12, 2001

The “wavelength disk drive” could make interactions between computers up to 20 times faster, expanding the scope of distributed computing.

Exchanged data is stored in wavelengths of light circling in a fiber-optic network. Computers on the network can perform calculations and “write” the data to an assigned wavelength. They then “read” other processors’ results from the light stream, repeating the process until the calculation is done.

Wave-particle duality visualized in quantum movie

March 27, 2012

interference pattern

An international team of scientists has shot a video that shows the build-up of a matter-wave interference pattern from single dye molecules. The pattern is so large (up to 0.1 mm), it can been seen with a video camera.

The video visualizes the dualities of particle and wave, randomness and determinism, and locality and delocalization in an intuitive way.

Physicist Richard Feynman once claimed that… read more

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