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A tactile glove provides subtle guidance to locate objects

October 11, 2012


Researchers from the University of Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics have developed a prototype of a glove that uses vibration feedback on the hand to guide the user’s hand towards a predetermined target in 3D space.

The glove could help users in daily visual search tasks in supermarkets, parking lots, warehouses, libraries etc.

Their study shows an almost three-fold advantage… read more

A Talk with the Brain behind Blue Gene

November 9, 2001

On Nov. 9, IBM will disclose a partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Labs to work on a wide range of scientific applications for Blue Gene. This will be the world’s fastest supercomputer, being designed to operate a hundred times faster than today’s speediest machines. The objective: to simulate how proteins fold themselves into their unique patterns.
With Blue Gene, IBM is trying to set a new supercomputer speed limit –… read more

A telescope bigger than a galaxy

March 11, 2014

Abell 2744 cluster (credit: STScI)

Astronomers have announced a view of the universe though a lens more than 500,000 light years wide, as part of a program called “Frontier Fields” to search for the first galaxies.

The “lens” is actually a massive cluster of galaxies known as Abell 2744. As predicted by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, the mass of the cluster warps the fabric of space around it. Starlight passing by… read more

A telescope for your eye

New contact lens design may improve sight of patients with macular degeneration, switches between magnified and normal vision
July 1, 2013

telescopic contact lens

An international team of researchers led by University of California San Diego Professor Joseph Ford has created a slim, telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision. With refinements, the system could offer age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients a relatively unobtrusive way to enhance their vision.

Visual aids that magnify incoming light help AMD patients see by spreading light around to undamaged parts of… read more

A telescope that sets its sights on cyber-crime

February 5, 2010

Endgame Systems of Atlanta has come up with a system called the Internet telescope that can map the physical location of computers infected with malicious software, or malware, used to run botnets (thousands of computers taken over to run malware). It can even identify the type of malware on the machine and preempt its next moves.

A Terabyte In A Cigar Box

January 15, 2004

LaCie has introduced a 1 Terabyte disk for $1,199.

A Terminator-style contact-lens display

November 23, 2011

(Credit: University of Washington/

Bringing us a step closer to a Terminator-style augmented-reality display, University of Washington engineers have constructed an experimental contact lens with a single-pixel embedded light-emitting diode (LED) and tested it in a rabbit.

The LED lights up when it receives energy from a remote radio frequency transmission, picked up by an antenna around the edge and collected via a silicon power harvesting and radio integrated circuit.

But the… read more

A termite-inspired robot construction team

February 14, 2014


On the plains of Namibia, millions of tiny termites are building a mound of soil — an 8-foot-tall “lung” for their underground nest. During a year of construction, many termites will live and die, wind and rain will erode the structure, and yet the colony’s life-sustaining project will continue.

Inspired by termites’ resilience and collective intelligence, Harvard  computer scientists and engineers have created an autonomous robotic construction crew comprising… read more

A Test for 400 Inherited Diseases

January 14, 2011

Researchers at the National Center for Genome Resources have developed a new universal screening test that shows promise for accurately identifying a couple’s risk of conceiving a child with any one of 448 devastating and fatal childhood genetic diseases.

The test is expected to become commercially available in the third quarter of 2011, at a cost lower than any single test currently available for any single disease on the… read more

A theoretical metamaterial that acts as an analog computer

Computational metamaterials could almost instantly perform certain complex mathematical operations
January 12, 2014

Edge detection - featured

Metamaterials can be designed to do “photonic calculus” as a light wave goes through them, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, The University of Texas at Austin and University of Sannio in Italy have discovered.

A light wave, when described in terms of space and time, has a profile in space that can be thought of as a curve on a… read more

A Theory of Evolution, for Robots

September 6, 2002

Scientists have designed a winged robot capable of learning flight techniques automatically with genetic algorithms. Its small motors allow it to manipulate its meter-long, balsa-wood wings in different directions. A computer program feeds the robot random instructions, which let it develop the concept of liftoff on its own.

A Theory Set in Stone: An Asteroid Killed the Dinosaurs, After All

March 8, 2010

Asteroid Killed Dinosaurs

A study by a group of 41 researchers has verified the theory that a massive asteroid some 10 kilometers across that slammed into Earth, creating Chicxulub Crater on Mexico’s Gulf Coast, killed off many of the species on the planet, including the non-avian dinosaurs.

A therapist in your pocket

February 8, 2012

Mobilyze (credit:

Are you depressed, checking e-mail and Facebook, or home alone ruminating for hours?

Cheer up. Scientists are inventing  web-based, mobile and virtual technologies to treat depression and other mood disorders at a new National Institutes of Health-funded Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine center.

In the works: a virtual human therapist to prevent depression, a medicine bottle that reminds you to take antidepressant medication and tells your doctor if… read more

A thermal invisibility cloak that actively redirects heat

Uses may include electronic systems cooling, high-power engines, MRI instruments, thermal sensors, and clothing
September 21, 2015

Active thermal cloak hides a circular object in conductive heat flow by “pumping” heat from hot end to cold end. (credit: Xu & Zhang/NTU)

A new thermal cloak that can render an object thermally invisible by actively redirecting incident heat has been developed by scientists at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. It’s similar to how optical invisibility cloaks can bend and diffract light to shield an object from sight and specially fabricated acoustic metamaterials can hide an object from sound waves.

The system has the potential to fine-tune temperature… read more

A thermodynamic limit on brain size

May 26, 2009

The thermodynamics of heat balance does not restrict brain size, which could be heavier than 5 kg, leaving plenty of growing room for humans, which have brains of only 1.5 kilograms on average, calculates Jan Karbowski at the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology at the California Institute of Technology.

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