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Robot moved by a slime mould’s fears

February 13, 2006

Kobe University researchers have developed a slime mold-controlled bot in an effort to find simpler ways to control a robot’s behavior in a complex or paradoxical environment.

They grew slime in a six-pointed star shape on top of a circuit and connected it remotely, via a computer, to the hexapod bot. Light sensors on top of the robot controlled light shone onto one of the six points of the… read more

Robots use Kinect to understand our world

July 22, 2011

Researchers at Cornell University are teaching robots to understand the context of their surroundings so that they can pick out individual objects in a room.

Microsoft’s Kinect sensor perceives real-world 3-D scenes by combining two visible-light cameras with depth information from an infrared sensor. The researchers’ algorithm learns to recognize particular objects by studying images labelled with descriptive tags such as “wall,” “floor,” and “tabletop.”

To find out… read more

Man or Machine? (Part 1 of 3): Human or Robot?

May 6, 2003

Pattern recognition is what Ray Kurzweil calls the heart of human intelligence. “Ultimately, our machines will have equal and, in fact, even greater powers of pattern recognition,” he says.

He predicts as we reach a greater understanding of the brain, artificial intelligence will advance even more. “We’ll be able to essentially recreate the powers of human intelligence and combine them with the speed, accuracy and knowledge-sharing ability of machines.”

Free-flying cyborg insects steered from a distance

October 2, 2009

By connecting electrodes and radio antennas to the nervous systems of beetles, University of California, Berkeley engineers were able to make them take off, dive and turn on command.

Funded by DARPA, the project’s goal is to create fully remote-controlled insects able to perform tasks such as looking for survivors after a disaster, or acting as the ultimate spy.

Human-Computer Interaction in the Year 2020

April 7, 2008

What will human-computer Interaction (HCI) be like in the year 2020?

That’s the focus of a Microsoft Research report, “Being Human: Human-Computer Interaction in the year 2020,” just released. Among its conclusions for the year 2020 and beyond:

  • We’re in the Mobility Era now, but we’ll be in the Ubiquity Era in 2020 and beyond, with thousands of computers per user.
  • Silicon and
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    Enzyme computer could live inside you

    February 24, 2006

    A molecular computer that uses enzymes to perform calculations has been built by researchers in Israel.

    They believe enzyme-powered computers could eventually be implanted into the human body and used to, for example, tailor the release of drugs to a specific person’s metabolism.

    Researchers develop mouse with ‘off switch’ in serotonin-producing brain cells

    August 1, 2011

    Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed a strain of mice with a built-in off switch that can selectively shut down the animals’ serotonin-producing cells, which make up a brain network controlling breathing, temperature regulation, and mood.

    The researchers developed mice with a unique receptor on the surface of their serotonin-producing neurons.  Typically, cells communicate via chemicals that bind to receptors on… read more

    Connections to Broadband Increase 50%

    May 20, 2003

    The number of American households that connect to the Internet via broadband cnnections grew by 50 percent in the last year, raising to nearly one-third the portion of home Internet users who now use broadband connections. But the rapid growth rate is unlikely to continue.

    Astronomy service Slooh will let you watch the LCROSS impact live on October 9

    October 8, 2009

    Slooh, a service that offers access to two huge earth-based telescopes, is inviting folks to watch the LCROSS impact on Friday at 4:30am PDT or 7:30am EDT. The feed begins at 3:30am PDT. NASA is also transmitting the impact live.

    The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite will help assess how large bodies will damage planets along with an assessment of current water levels in the moon.

    Selling Stem Cells

    April 10, 2008

    BioTime, a California biotech company headed by Michael West, a prominent scientist and entrepreneur involved in stem cell research, plans to supply scientists working with stem cells the tool they most need to develop and test novel therapies–a reliable and reproducible source of the cells.

    They plan to sell human embryonic progenitors, cells that have inched partway along the continuum from embryonic stem cell to differentiated adult cell and… read more

    2006 Guardian Award Winners Develop Defenses Against Harmful Nanotechnology And Biotechnology

    March 12, 2006

    This year’s recipients of the Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Award are Robert A. Freitas Jr. and Bill Joy, who have both been proposing solutions to the dangers of advanced technology since 2000.

    Robert A. Freitas, Jr. has pioneered nanomedicine and analysis of self-replicating nanotechnology. He advocates “an immediate international moratorium, if not outright ban, on all artificial life experiments implemented as nonbiological hardware. In this context, ‘artificial life’ is defined… read more

    FAA looks into News Corp’s Daily drone

    August 5, 2011

    (Credit: Creative Commons)

    The News Corp’s The Daily has sent out a drone a few times to cover storms and flooding in Alabama and North Dakota.

    While current FAA regulations may prohibit the use of drones for news gathering, the agency is planning to revisit — and possibly relax — those regulations this year, potentially making it easier for private companies to use drones.

    The state of Oklahoma has taken steps to… read more

    Coming Soon: Smarter Soldiers

    June 3, 2003

    Soldiers of 2011 will step into wired uniforms that incorporate all the equipment they need. The uniforms will monitor vital signs and plug them into a massive network of satellites, unmanned planes and robotic vehicles.

    ‘ECG For The Mind’ Could Diagnose Depression In An Hour

    October 16, 2009

    Electrovestibulography (EVestG), a new diagnostic technique, could lead to a simple, quick and inexpensive screening process for CNS diseases, according to its inventor, Monash University biomedical engineer Brian Lithgow.

    The patient sits in a specially designed tilt chair that triggers electrical responses in their balance system. Patterns of electrical activity in the brain’s vestibular (balance) system are measured against distinct response patterns found in depression, schizophrenia and other Central… read more

    Too many choices — good or bad — can be mentally exhausting

    April 15, 2008

    Researchers from several universities have found that people faced with numerous choices, whether good or bad, find it difficult to stay focused enough to complete projects, handle daily tasks or even take their medicine.

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