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Society’s vital networks prone to ‘explosive’ changes

March 17, 2009

Random networks, such as the Internet and global flight connections, have the potential for extreme behavior never seen before, suddenly gaining a central backbone of connections that make it simple to travel between any two points, researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz and elsewhere have found.

The addition of just one link triggers an instantaneous phase change and the network becomes fully connected.

Soft arrays of miniature electrodes for improved Parkinson’s treatment

February 19, 2013


Miniature, ultra-flexible electrodes could be the answer to more successful treatment for Parkinson’s diseases, according to Professor Philippe Renaud of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

He has developed soft arrays of miniature electrodes in his Microsystems Laboratory that open new possibilities for more accurate and local deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Some 90,000 patients per year are treated for Parkinson’s disease, a number that… read more

Soft Drinks Linked To Heart Disease Via Metabolic Syndrome

July 25, 2007

In a new study, the large-scale ongoing Framingham Heart Study has found that drinking more than one soft drink a day, whether regular or diet, may be linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease, via an increase in metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms such as excess waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) and… read more

Soft memory device opens door to new biocompatible electronics

July 16, 2011

Jello Memory

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a soft memory device design that functions well in wet environments and has memristor-like characteristics, opening the door to new types of smart biocompatible electronic devices.

A memristor (“memory resistor”) is an electronic device that changes its resistive state depending on the current or voltage history through the device.

The ability to function in wet environments and… read more

Soft microrobots that simulate unicellular water microorganisms

December 6, 2013


Miniaturized robots that could one day function medically inside the human body are being designed by researchers in Trieste and Catalonia.

The robots of the future will be increasingly like biological organisms, with the same “softness” and flexibility as biological tissues, according to Antonio De Simone from SISSA (the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste) and Marino Arroyo from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, who have… read more

Soft robotics ‘toolkit’ features everything a budding robot-maker needs

September 24, 2014

(Credit: Eliza Grinnell, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences)

Several Harvard University labs in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin have developed the Soft Robotics Toolkit — an online treasure trove of downloadable open-source plans, how-to videos, and case studies to assist users in the design, fabrication, modeling, characterization, and control of soft robotic devices.

With the advent of low-cost 3D printing, laser cutters, and other advances in manufacturing technology, soft robotics is emerging as an increasingly… read more

Software Advance Helps Computers Act Logically

June 16, 2005

A new software language, ISO 18629, promises to enable computers to reason much more precisely and thus better reflect subtleties intended by commands of human operators.

ISO 18629 uses AI and language analysis to represent computer commands in the context of a manufacturing plan. Researchers have incorporated approximately 300 concepts, such as “duration” and “sequence,” into its software structure. Computers using software with this expanded, though still primitive AI… read more

Software aims to put your life on a disk

November 21, 2002

Engineers at Microsoft’s Media Presence lab in San Francisco are aiming to build “MyLifeBits,”
a multimedia database that chronicle people’s life events and make them searchable.

Each media file saved in MyLifeBits can be tagged with a written or spoken commentary and linked to other files. Spoken annotations are also converted into text, so the speech is searchable, too.

The system could also help us preserve our experiences… read more

Software automatically transforms movie clips into comic strips

March 19, 2012

A comic page generated from a movie clip of “Titanic” (credit: Wang, et al./IEEE

“Movie2Comics” software can generate comics automatically, including comic panels of different sizes, positioning word balloons, and rendering movie frames in a cartoon style.

The researchers used the new method to transform 15 movie clips into comic strips.

Ref.: Meng Wang, et al. “Movie2Comics: Towards a Lively Video Content Presentation, IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, 2012 [DOI: 10.1109/TMM.2012.2187181]

Software Being Developed to Monitor Opinions of U.S.

October 5, 2006

A consortium of major universities is developing natural language processing software that would let the government monitor negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications overseas.

The researchers have complied a database of hundreds of articles that it is being used to train a computer to recognize, rank and interpret statements.

Software detects motion that the human eye can’t see

Video technique could lead to remote diagnostic methods
July 24, 2012


A new set of software algorithms can amplify aspects of a video and reveal what is normally undetectable to human eyesight, making it possible to, for example, measure someone’s pulse by shooting a video of him and capturing the way blood is flowing across his face, Technology Review reports.

The software process, called “Eulerian video magnification” by the MIT computer scientists who developed the program,… read more

Software equal to or better than humans at cataloging published science data

December 2, 2014

Computer-generated genus-level diversity curves (credit: Shanan E. Peters et al./PLOS ONE)

A computer system called PaleoDeepDive has equaled (or bested in some categories) scientists at the complex task of extracting data from scientific publications and placing it in a database that catalogs the results of tens of thousands of individual studies.

The development, described in the current issue of PLoS, marks a milestone in the quest to rapidly and precisely summarize, collate, and index the vast output of scientists… read more

Software finds learning language child’s play

July 26, 2007

A computer program that learns to decode language sounds in a way similar to a baby could shed new light on how humans acquire the ability to talk.

James McClelland, a psychology professor at Stanford University, says his computer algorithm supports the idea that babies systematically sort through sounds until they understand the structure of a language.

Software finds possible anthrax cures

March 11, 2002

Scientists, using distributed computing via a million home computers, have come up with 300,000 potential compounds that could be developed as a cure for anthrax.
The project was completed in 24 days, versus years with traditional methods, according to Graham Richards, a chemistry professor at Britain’s Oxford University who helped organize the project.

The list of drug candidates goes to the U.S. Department of Defense and Britain’s Office of… read more

Software gambler takes on the tipsters

December 12, 2002

Software developed by Australian IT researcher Alan McCabe uses a neural network to learn which features of a team’s performance make them winners. The neural network is trained with match data obtained from a national bookmaker, such as a team’s current success rate and the points scored for and against them each week.

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