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Android app from GCHQ emulates the Enigma Machine

December 15, 2014

(Credit: GCHQ)

GCHQ, the British counterpart of the NSA, announced Friday a free Android (iOS planned) educational app called Cryptoy, which “enables users to understand basic encryption techniques, learn about their history, and then have a go at creating their own encoded messages.

“These can then be shared with friends via social media or more traditional means and the recipients can use the app to see “how… read more

Online schooling is exploding in US

September 6, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A small but rapidly growing number of families are turning to the Internet as an alternative to chronically under-resourced brick and mortar institutions, New Scientist reports.

Proponents say online primary and secondary education, whether full-time or as part of a “blended” program of online and face-to-face education, could usher in a new era of personalizing education that will give each child the best chance of success.… read more

Google glass to hit developers’ hands this month

January 16, 2013


Developers who want to get their hands on Google’s Project Glass won’t have to wait much longer, Mashable reports.

Google announced plans Tuesday to hold a “Glass Foundry” in San Francisco and New York in the coming weeks: two full days of hacking that will allow developers to get an early look at Glass and start developing for the platform.

Glass Foundry will be… read more

Solve for X: celebrating moonshot thinking

February 15, 2013


Last week, Google hosted its 2013 Solve for X event, where they gathered 50 experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from around the world who are taking on moonshots — proposals that address a huge problem, suggest a radical solution that could work, and use some form of breakthrough technology to make it happen, Megan Smith and Astro Teller, co-hosts/creators of… read more

The ‘birdman’ is FAKE: Filmmaker behind wing suit flight video admits footage was a hoax and says it was ‘online storytelling’

March 22, 2012


The Dutch “bird man” who posted a video showing a successful “test flight” of a wing suit contraption has admitted that the amazing feat was a hoax all along.

Viewers became sceptical after it emerged that no scientists actually knew “Jarno Smeets,” who claimed to have created the technology.

Now Smeets has confessed that he is actually a “filmmaker and animator” named Floris Kaayk, and… read more

Life-size, 3D hologram-like telepods may revolutionize videoconferencing

May 4, 2012


A Queen’s University researcher has created a Star Trek-like human-scale 3D videoconferencing pod that allows people in different locations to video conference as if they are standing in front of each other.

“Why Skype when you can talk to a life-size 3D holographic image of another person?” says professor Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab.

The technology Dr. Vertegaal and researchers at… read more

Neuroscience: the mind reader

June 14, 2012


Adrian Owen has found a way to use brain scans to communicate with people previously written off as unreachable in a so-called “vegetative state.” Now he’s fighting to take his methods to the clinic.

Patients in these states are usually written off as lost.

Owen took fMRI scans of a 23-year-old woman in a vegetative state while he asked her to imagine playing tennis and walking through the… read more

Why you’re smarter than a chicken

August 21, 2015

(credit: Johnathan Nightingale via Flickr)

A single molecular event in a protein called PTBP1 in our cells could hold the key to how we evolved to become the smartest animal on the planet, University of Toronto researchers have discovered.

The conundrum: Humans and frogs, for example, have been evolving separately for 350 million years and use a remarkably similar repertoire of genes to build organs in the body. So what… read more

How to lab-test your brain with an iPhone

February 10, 2013

iDichotic test (credit: Bergen fMRI Group)

Suggestion: for better validity, download and try the free iDichotic iOS app first before continuing to read this. I found it very interesting.  — Editor

A new study shows that an iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.) app yields results on a dichotic listening test that are as reliable as laboratory tests.

Two years ago, psychology researcher Josef Bless was listening to music on his phone when… read more

Your virtual avatar can impact your real-world behavior, researchers suggest

February 13, 2014

Can playing these characters affect your behavior differently? (Credit: Jim Lee and Scott Williams/DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures)

How you represent yourself in the virtual world of video games may affect how you behave toward others in the real world, new University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign research published in Psychological Science suggests.

“Our results indicate that just five minutes of role-play in virtual environments as either a hero or villain can easily cause people to reward or punish anonymous strangers,” says lead researcher Gunwoo Yoon.

The… read more

Crowdsourcing for robots

Humans acting like robots teach robots to act like humans
June 30, 2014

The UW’s robot builds a turtle model (credit: University of Washington)

Crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks, University of Washington computer scientists have shown.

Learning by imitating a human is a proven approach to teach a robot to perform tasks, but it can take a lot of time. But if the robot could learn a task’s basic steps, then ask the online community for additional input, it could collect more… read more

Is our universe a bubble in the multiverse?

July 21, 2014

Screenshot from a video of Matthew Johnson explaining the related concepts of inflation, eternal inflation, and the multiverse (see<br />
Credit: Image courtesy of Perimeter Institute

Researchers at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics are working to bring the multiverse hypothesis — we are living in one universe of many — into the realm of testable science.

Perimeter Associate Faculty member Matthew Johnson and his team are looking for clues for the existence of multiverses (a.ka. parallel universes) in the cosmic microwave background data, assumed to be left over from… read more

New metamaterial lens focuses radio waves

Device could improve satellite and molecular imaging
November 15, 2012

The orientation of 4,000 S-shaped units forms a metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision, and very little energy lost (credit: Dylan Erb/MIT)

MIT researchers have fabricated a three-dimensional, lightweight metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision.

The concave lens exhibits a property called negative refraction, bending electromagnetic waves — in this case, radio waves — in exactly the opposite sense from which a normal concave lens would work.

Concave lenses typically radiate radio waves… read more

How to build a low-cost AFM nanoscope out of LEGO + Arduino board

September 19, 2013

An  AFM made from LEGO and electronics (Credit: Alice Pyne, London Centre for Nanotechnology)

The world’s first low-cost atomic force microscope (AFM) has been developed in Beijing by a group of PhD students from University College London (UCL), Tsinghua University, and Peking University — using LEGO.

LEGO2NANO brought together students, experienced makers and scientists to take on the challenge of building a cheap and effective AFM, a device able to probe objects only a nanometer in size… read more

Combining antennas with solar panels for high efficiency, low weight and volume

December 3, 2013

antenna-solar cell

Researchers at EPFL have managed to combine telecommunication antennas and solar cells to work together with unprecedented efficiency.

Traditionally, antennas and solar cells have never worked well together, as they have to function independently of each other in order to avoid interference. This has an impact on the weight and size of satellites — the surface area has to be large enough for both antenna systems, which… read more

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