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Digital World Reveals Architecture of Evolution

August 8, 2006

The architecture that pervades biological networks gives them an evolutionary edge by allowing them to evolve to perform new functions more rapidly than an alternative network design, according to computer simulations conducted at the University of Chicago.

Remote-Controlled Humans

August 8, 2006

Electrically stimulating the vestibular nerve can influence human movement — and may create better virtual-reality devices and prosthetics.

Big bang pushed back two billion years

August 7, 2006

Our universe may be 15% larger and older than we thought, according to new measurements of the distance to a nearby galaxy.

Computer art changes to suit mood

August 7, 2006

Computer scientists have helped develop electronic artwork that changes to match the mood of the person who is looking at it.

Using images collected through a web cam, special software recognises eight key facial features that characterize the emotional state of the viewer.

It then adapts the colors and brush strokes of the digital artwork to suit the changing mood of the viewer.

Researchers watch brain in action

August 4, 2006

For the first time, scientists have been able to watch neurons within the brain of a living animal change in response to experience.

The researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute implanted transparent cranial windows over the primary visual cortex, allowing them to monitor over time the expression of proteins in the brains of live mice. They used two-photon microscopy (so-called because it uses two infrared photons to emit fluorescence in… read more

Virtual bots teach each other using wordplay

August 3, 2006

Robots that teach one another new words through interaction with their surroundings have been demonstrated by Plymouth University researchers.

They say their novel method of communication could someday help real-life robots cooperate when faced with a new challenge or help linguists understand how human languages develop.

Sensory illusions dazzle at graphics conference

August 3, 2006

Inventions on display at the SIGGRAPH 2006 computer graphics conference, which opened in Boston, on Monday,
include a toy house that appears to warp into surreal shapes, a handheld device that “pulls” a person around, and a display that generates holographic illusions using scores of hidden projectors.

Shape-shifting lens mimics human eye

August 3, 2006

A shape-shifting lens has been developed that alters its focal length when squeezed by an artificial muscle, a ring of polymer gel that expands and contracts in response to environmental changes, eliminating the need for electronics to power or control the devices.

Different polymer gels can be used to create a lens that responds to changes in acidity, temperature, light, electric fields or even certain proteins.

A lens… read more

It’s Alive (ish)

August 2, 2006

Georgia Institute of Technology, scientists have developed “neurally controlled animats” — a few thousand rat neurons grown atop a grid of electrodes and connected to a robot body or computer-simulated virtual environment.

They have programmed a robot to associate neural firing patterns with actions such as movement of a cursor on a screen, creating an interactive system between a culture of cells placed on a culture dish and the… read more

BYU scientists create tool for ‘virtual surgery’

August 2, 2006

Computer scientists at Brigham Young University have created a “virtual surgery” tool that lets surgeons, diagnosticians and others extract a 3-D computer image from from MRI and CT scans or similar data.

The “Live Surface” software also can be used to extract a single actor’s performance or inanimate objects from video clips.

Oceans teeming with 10 million kinds of microbe

August 2, 2006

The diversity of microbes living in the world’s oceans may be more than 100 times greater than previously estimated, according to researchers working on the International Census of Marine Microbes, part of the Census of Marine Life.

Life After Earth: Imagining Survival Beyond This Terra Firma

August 1, 2006

The Alliance to Rescue Civilization advocates a backup for humanity by way of a station on the Moon replete with DNA samples of all life on Earth, as well as a compendium of all human knowledge.

It would be run by people who, through fertility treatments and frozen human eggs and sperm, could serve as a new Adam and Eve in addition to their role as a new Noah.… read more

The next computer interface: your finger

August 1, 2006

The “Fingertip Digitizer,” which users wear on the tip of the index finger, can transfer to the virtual world the meaning and intent of common hand gestures, such as pointing, wagging the finger, tapping in the air or other movements that can be used to direct the actions of an electronic device, much like a mouse directs the actions of a personal computer, but with greater precision.

What’s more,… read more

Visualising invisibility

August 1, 2006

A new study published in the New Journal of Physics describes the physics of several theoretical devices that could create invisibility.

The ideas in the paper are based around devices that will bend light or radio waves around a hole inside a device. Any object placed inside the hole will become invisible.

There are advances being made in metamaterials that mean the first devices will probably be used… read more

Calculating the speed of sight

July 31, 2006

University of Pennsylvania researchers have found that a guinea pig retina transfers data at about 875 kilobits per second. Human retinas have about ten times as many ganglion cells, giving a bandwidth of 8.75 megabits per second per eye, comparable to Ethernet speed.

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