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A Voice Recognition Tool Frees Hands for Other Tasks

April 13, 2003

Voice-recognition developers have made enough progress in recent years to produce several low-priced options. The latest is the QPointer, which enables users to operate a PC without touching the mouse or even, in some models, the keyboard.

A wakeup call: what exactly should we do about near-Earth objects?

June 1, 2014

NEOs booklet

The February 2013 event near Chelyabinsk, Russia “has sparked a realization that the incoming rate of small space rocks may be much higher than previously thought, and their impact greater than previously thought,” according to Near-Earth Objects: Responding to the International Challenge, an open-access booklet just published by Secure World Foundation.

The booklet is the first to both bring together the reviews of the… read more

A War of Robots

July 11, 2002

Since the United States military campaign began in Afghanistan, the unmanned spy plane has gone from a bit player to a starring role in Pentagon planning. Rather than the handful of “autonomous vehicles,” or A.V.’s, that snooped on Al Qaeda hideouts, commanders are envisioning wars involving vast robotic fleets on the ground, in the air and on the seas — swarms of drones that will not just find their foes,… read more

A warning system for the planet

November 20, 2012

599px-The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17

There is no centralized system to monitor and report changes in the Earth’s life-support systems. So scientists in 77 nations have established the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Group on Earth Observation Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), which integrates existing data streams into one platform to provide a  global warning system for Earth’sread more

A Way to Spot Cancer Early

December 19, 2008
(Sebastian Osterfeld, PNAS)

Stanford University researchers developing a new magnetic protein detection system that uses the same magnetic phenomenon (giant magnetoresistance) that lets computer hard drives read and write data, and is two orders of magnitude more sensitive than the standard technique for detecting blood proteins.

The device is built on a silicon chip arrayed with 64 magnetic sensors called spin valves. Each valve is coated with a different kind… read more

A weapon we can’t control

June 27, 2012

Stuxnet

The decision by the United States and Israel to develop and then deploy the Stuxnet computer worm against an Iranian nuclear facility late in George W. Bush’s presidency marked a significant and dangerous turning point in the gradual militarization of the Internet, says Misha Glenny, a visiting professor at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and the author of DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercopsread more

A wearable to help measure stress, epileptic seizures, activity, and sleep

November 24, 2014

Embrace (credit: Empatica)

MIT spinoff Empatica, which is developing a medical-quality wearable device to monitor epileptic seizures* and alert caregivers, has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to fund its development.

“When people that have epilepsy wear Embrace, they will get an alert when an unusual event happens, like a convulsive seizure,” the Indiegogo site says. “It will go via their smartphone to parents, roommates or caregivers, so somebody can check… read more

A wearable, 3D-printable temperature sensor

February 23, 2015

Fever Alarm Armband2

University of Tokyo researchers have developed a “fever alarm armband,” a flexible, self-powered wearable device that sounds an alarm in case of high body temperature.

The flexible organic components developed for this device are well-suited to wearable devices that continuously monitor vital signs including temperature and heart rate for applications in healthcare settings.

The new device combines a flexible amorphous silicon solar panel, piezoelectric speaker, temperature… read more

A Web of Sensors, Taking Earth’s Pulse

May 11, 2005

The rapid miniaturization of technologies behind cameras, cellphones and wireless computers is allowing scientists to build innovative networks of small sensors that they say will produce a new era of ecological insight and, in time, help save the planet.

A Web That Thinks Like You

July 5, 2007

Radar Networks plans later this year to launch Radar, which uses semantic Web technologies to help individuals and communities mine and share information from Internet sites, blogs, and social media services.

Built-in artificial intelligence will continually learn as people use the service and computers troll for similar information.

A Wheelchair That Reads Your Mind

January 30, 2007

Researchers are developing a thought-controlled robotic wheelchair, using a small, mobile interface that works with EEG electrodes placed on the scalp.

A Whisper, Perhaps, From the Universe’s Dark Side

November 25, 2008

A concatenation of puzzling results from satellites and experiments has led a growing number of astronomers and physicists to suspect that they are getting signals from a shadow universe of dark matter that makes up a quarter of creation but has eluded direct detection until now.

A whiteboard of the future

May 1, 2015

Handwriting with a magnet-ft

Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed an inexpensive handwriting-enabled e-paper suited to large displays like whiteboards.

The display is made from black-and-white microparticles about 0.1 millimeter in diameter. One hemisphere of each particle is black and carries a negative charge, while the other is white and carries a positive charge. The particles are sandwiched between two electrodes. By switching the direction of the voltage across the electrodes… read more

A Wii warm-up hones surgical skills

January 21, 2008

Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center researchers have found that surgical residents performed better during simulated surgery after playing on the Wii console.

They put it down to the console’s novel “Wiimote” control system, which allows players to direct on-screen action using a wireless wand that detects acceleration in three dimensions.

Now they are designing Wii software that will accurately simulate surgical procedures.

A ‘Wikipedia’ for neurons

March 31, 2015

neuron types

Carnegie Mellon University | NeuroElectro.org description

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have used data mining to create neuroelectro.org, a publicly available website that acts like Wikipedia, indexing the decades worth of physiological data collected about the billions of neurons in the brain.

The site aims to help accelerate the advance of neuroscience research by providing a centralized resource for collecting and comparing this “brain big… read more

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