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Kinect-based program makes yoga accessible for the blind

October 20, 2013

An incorrect Warrior II yoga pose is outlined showing angles and measurements. Using geometry, the Kinect reads the angles and responds with a verbal command to raise the arms to the proper height.

University of Washington computer scientists have created a software program that watches a user’s movements and gives spoken feedback on what to change to accurately complete a yoga pose.

“My hope for this technology is for people who are blind or low-vision to be able to try it out, and help give a basic understanding of yoga in a more comfortable setting,” said

The… read more

Data-mining our dreams

Using computer analysis to decode the meaning of dreams
October 20, 2013

The Dream

Many people assume that this quest to interpret dreams has failed. This conclusion is premature, Kelly Bulkeley, former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and author of Dreaming in the World’s Religions: A Comparative History,” writes in The New York Times. …

“I have conducted several experiments in “blind analysis,” a technique developed with the help of the psychologist G. William… read more

MD Anderson Cancer Center taps IBM Watson to power its mission to eradicate cancer

October 20, 2013

IBM'S WATSON TO HELP FIGHT AGAINST LEUKEMIA AT MD ANDERSON

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and IBM have announced that MD Anderson is using the IBM Watson cognitive computing system for its mission to eradicate cancer.

Following a year-long collaboration, IBM and MD Anderson showcased a prototype of MD Anderson’s Oncology Expert Advisor powered by IBM Watson at a news conference on October 18,

The organizations discussed… read more

IBM unveils concept for a future brain-inspired 3D computer

October 20, 2013

IBM 3D computer

IBM has unveiled a prototype of a new brain-inspired computer powered by what it calls “electronic blood,” BBC News reports.

The firm says it is learning from nature by building computers fueled and cooled by a liquid, like our minds.

The human brain packs phenomenal computing power into a tiny space and uses only 20 watts of energy – an efficiency IBM is keen to match.… read more

How the brain ‘takes out the trash’ while we sleep

October 18, 2013

cerebral_spinal_fluid

A new study shows that a recently discovered system that flushes waste from the brain is primarily active during sleep, giving fresh meaning to the old adage that a good night’s sleep clears the mind.

This revelation could transform scientists’ understanding of the biological purpose of sleep and point to new ways to treat neurological disorders.

“This study shows that the brain has different functional states… read more

Light triggers cancer death switch

October 18, 2013

(Credit: Cardiff University)

Cardiff University researchers have created a peptide (a small piece of protein), linked to a light-responsive dye, capable of switching “on” death pathways in cancer cells. The peptide remains inactive until exposed to external light pulses, which convert it into a cell death signal.

Complex mechanisms in healthy cells normally protect us from developing cancer. However, when the finely balanced networks of interactions between proteins… read more

Mathematical thinking area of brain identified; technique could lead to mind-reading devices, scientists say

October 18, 2013

ECoG responses (red: IPS region)

Researchers have found the first solid evidence that a specific brain region is activated in everyday conversation when people use numbers (or even imprecise quantitative terms, such as “more than”), according to a study by Stanford University School of Medicine scientists.

That brain region was previously found to be activated when people are asked to perform mathematical calculations, but only in a limited, unnatural experimental setting.

Those… read more

Creating a deep-sea Internet

October 17, 2013

internet_underwater_1

University at Buffalo researchers are developing a deep-sea Internet that could lead to improvements in tsunami detection, offshore oil and natural gas exploration, surveillance, pollution monitoring, and other activities.

“A submerged wireless network will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from our oceans in real time,” said Tommaso Melodia, UB associate professor of electrical engineering and the project’s lead researcher.… read more

New 3D method used to grow miniature pancreas model

Could help in the fight against diabetes
October 17, 2013

stamcelle_stor

An international team of researchers led by scientists from the University of Copenhagen has successfully developed an innovative 3D method to grow a miniature pancreas model from progenitor cells.

The goal is to use this model to help in the fight against diabetes.

Using cell material from mice, Professor Anne Grapin-Botton and her team at the Danish Stem Cell Centreread more

Cyborg swarm maps unknown environments

October 17, 2013

biobots_swarm

Remember the much-debated “biobots” (remotely controlled cockroaches — see How to remotely control cockroach cyborgs and Kinect tracks bionic rescue roaches) created by researchers from North Carolina State University?

Well, here’s an update: they have now developed software that allows for mapping unknown environments — such as collapsed buildings — based on the movement of a swarm of the insect cyborgs.… read more

Lensless zoom hologram system paves the way for small, low-cost portable projectors

October 17, 2013

These two still photos show the same holographic image. In the second photo the image has been magnified by the lensless projector. (Credit: Tomoyoshi Shimobaba/Chiba University and Michal Makowski/ Warsaw University of Technology)

A small holographic projection system with a lensless zoom function has been created by researchers from Japan and Poland.

Imagine giving an important presentation when suddenly the projector fails. You whip out your smartphone, beam your PowerPoint presentation onto the conference-room screen, and are back in business within seconds.

When fully developed, the system should be cheaper and smaller than other projection systems, which typically require expensive,… read more

Taking 3D printing into the metal age

October 16, 2013

mars_probe_3d_printed

The European Space Agency (ESA)and the EU, together with industrial and educational partners, are developing the first large-scale production methods to 3D-print complex 3D-printed parts made of metal that can withstand temperatures at 1000°C — fit for space and the most demanding applications on Earth.

3D printers are expected to revolutionize the way we live but until recently they could work with only plastic, which… read more

A biomimetic artificial leg with a natural gait

October 16, 2013

(Credit: Michigan Technological University)

Researchers at Michigan Technological University and a Mayo Clinic scientist are working on a microprocessor-controlled ankle-foot prosthesis that comes close to achieving the innate range of motion of this highly complex joint.

It has pressure-sensitive sensors on the bottom of the foot that detect how an amputee is walking. The sensors instantaneously send signals to a microprocessor, which in turn adjusts the prosthesis to make walking more… read more

What does the assistive robot of the future look like?

October 16, 2013

human vs robot face

It depends. Older and younger people have varying preferences about what they would want a personal robot to look like, and they change their minds based on what the robot is supposed to do, a new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology has found.

Participants were shown a series of photos portraying either robotic, human, or mixed human-robot faces and were asked to select… read more

Laser slicing technique lets scientists explore the 3D structure of small objects

Awesome videos alert
October 15, 2013

Yellowjackethead

Penn State scientists have developed a powerful new tool for exploring the three-dimensional structure of small objects.

Using a nanosecond-pulse laser, then-student Benjamin Hall developed a method* to slice 11 identically spaced root samples per second.

“Then I had to take the samples all the way across campus to the root lab to have them analyzed,” Hall says.

“It was easier to buy… read more

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