science + technology news

Smartphones not so smart for learning?

... unless social media and game apps are removed
July 7, 2015


Smartphones distracted students from school-related tasks in self-reported results of a one-year study of first-time smartphone users at a major research university in Texas.

“Smartphone technology is penetrating world markets and becoming abundant in most college settings,” said Philip Kortum, assistant professor of psychology at Rice and the study’s co-author. “We were interested to see how students with no prior experience using smartphones thought [smartphones] impacted their education.”

The… read more

Smartphoniacs: Addicts of the Information Age

July 10, 2009

The top 10% of smart-phone users — the smartphoniacs — are the true addicts of the information age.

You might be a smartphoniac if you:

- Take your smartphone to the restroom
- Send messages while driving
- Sneak a look at your messages during a conversation
- Suffer from sprained or elongated thumbs
- Openly use your smart phone in inappropriate places, such as first dates

Smell cannon targets virtual reality users

April 2, 2004

A new “air cannon” device can track an individual, shoot an aroma directly at their nose, and leave the person next to them completely unaffected.

Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan developed it for directing evocative smells to people exploring virtual-reality environments.

The device tracks the person it is aiming at with a camera mounted on top, which follows the target’s eyes. Software on a PC analyzes… read more

Smell-o-Vision is finally here

April 1, 2013


Smell-O-Vision was a system that released odors during the projection of a film so that the viewer could “smell” what was happening in the movie.

Now the “smelling screen,” invented by Haruka Matsukura at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in Japan and colleagues, makes smells appear to come from the exact spot on any LCD screen that is displaying the image of a cup of coffee,… read more

Smile, Gamers: You’re in the Picture

November 13, 2003

Sony Computer Entertainment America has released EyeToy, a miniature camera that attaches to the PlayStation 2 and translates body movements into actions in a video game.

Smithsonian turns to 3D to bring collection to the world

March 1, 2012


The Smithsonian is using laser scanners and 3D printers to create “digital surrogate” models, exhibits, and scientific replicas of many of 137 million physical objects in its collection.

The museum also hopes to make its digital 3D models publicly available.


Smoking leaves ‘footprint’ in DNA

Findings could provide researchers with potential targets for new therapies
September 25, 2016

Extinguishing a cigarette (credit: American Heart Association)

Smoking leaves its “footprint” on the human genome in the form of DNA methylation, a process that affects what genes are turned on, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, an American Heart Association journal.

The new findings could provide researchers with potential targets for new therapies.

“These results are important because methylation, as one of the mechanisms of the regulation of gene expression, affects… read more

Smoking ‘triggers deadly changes’

May 15, 2008

Oregon Health and Science University researchers have identified a key mechanism by which smoking triggers genetic changes that cause lung cancer.

Cigarette smoke slows production of the FANCD2 protein in lung cells. FANCD2 plays a key role in repairing damage to DNA and causes faulty cells to commit suicide before they go on to become cancerous.

Snake design inspires improved search-and-rescue robots

January 23, 2012


Georgia Tech researchers have designed a new all-terrain robot by studying the locomotion of snakes.

Designing an all-terrain robot for search-and-rescue missions requires a machine that is flexible enough to move over uneven surfaces, yet not so big that it’s restricted from tight spaces.

It might also be required to climb slopes of varying inclines. Existing robots can do many of these things, but… read more

Snake-like Robot And Steady-hand System Could Assist Surgeons

December 27, 2006
Steady-hand robot

Johns Hopkins University researchers are designing new high-tech medical tools to equip the operating room of the future.

A snakelike robot could enable surgeons, operating in the narrow throat region, to make incisions and tie sutures with greater dexterity and precision.

Another robot, the steady-hand, may curb a surgeon’s natural tremor and allow the doctor to inject drugs into tiny blood vessels in the eye, dissolving… read more

‘Snakebot’ navigates its way round slippery problem

December 17, 2007

Researchers have developed a control mechanism that allows a snake-shaped robot to safely navigate through an unfamiliar environment.

A number of different research groups are developing robots that mimic real snakes: their shape and simplicity make them ideal for crawling through pipes or exploring narrow or cluttered environments.

And yet, while most of these robots can crawl along and turn on command, getting them to navigate independently has… read more

Snakelike Robots for Heart Surgery

April 4, 2008
(Amir Degani)

CardioArm, a snakelike surgical robot from Carnegie Mellon University, could let a surgeon performing a critical heart operation make just one incision.

The curved robot has a series of joints that automatically adjust to follow the course plotted by the robot’s head, operated using a computer and joystick. This provides greater precision than a flexible endoscope can offer.

The smallest version of the device is 300… read more

Snakes on a plane!

October 1, 2012

Snakes on a plane!

Engineers at firms like Rolls-Royce and GE are developing “snake robots” with intelligent algorithms to find and repair problems in plane engines, New Scientist reports.

The slithering simulants would be about 12.5 millimeters (1/2 inch) in diameter, controlled by a technician as they are guided through the engine’s insides, beaming back images — a bit like telesurgery, a Rolls-Royce executive said.

Finding and fixing defects in planes is currently a… read more

Snap and Search (No Words Needed)

December 21, 2009

Google’s massive data centers with their computing power and more than a billion images allow its Goggles image-recognition smartphone app to recognize millions of images.

Snapshot chat creates automatic captions

April 2, 2004

A new system that can automatically caption digital photos by listening to you and your friends chat about them is being developed by Hewlett-Packard.

PC software records these conversations, converts them to text using a speech-recognition program, and extracts keywords to caption and index the photos.

HP says the method should help organize digital files as hard drives approach terabyte levels over the next few years.

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