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‘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

What Will Life Be Like in the Year 2189?

March 5, 2007

A new fictional children’s book, “21st Century Kids” by Shannon Vyff (Warren Publishing, March 2007), explores the idea that two children, killed in a car accident, are cryonically preserved and reanimated in the year 2189.

Vyff’s own children were the inspiration for the main characters in the book and served as sounding boards. They are also featured along with Vyff in an upcoming Barbara Walter’s Special, “How… read more

Faster circuits go for gold

April 26, 2004

Computer chip manufacturers are fast running out of room on conventional, flat circuit boards. So for the next generation of chips, the only way is up.

Researchers have developed a way to draw the circuit directly into a block of glass. They added gold oxide to the glass, focused short laser pulses on specific points inside the block to dislodge individual atoms of gold, and heated the block to… read more

Magic and the Brain: Teller Reveals the Neuroscience of Illusion

May 7, 2009

Our brains don’t see everything — the world is too big, too full of stimuli. So the brain takes shortcuts, constructing a picture of reality with relatively simple algorithms for what things are supposed to look like.

Magicians capitalize on those rules.

Science’s 2007 Breakthroughs of the Year

December 21, 2007

Science recognized “Human Genetic Variation” as the 2007 Breakthrough of the Year, and detailed nine other of the year’s most significant scientific accomplishments in its December 21 issue:

- Cosmic rays’ acceleration may come from passing by the magnetic fields around black holes.
- Researchers determined the structure of the human Beta2-adrenergic receptor.
- Advances in transition metal oxides may herald the next materials revolution for their… read more

Nanoparticle Research Offers Hope of Artificial Retinas, Prostheses

March 12, 2007

The world’s first direct electrical link between nerve cells and photovoltaic nanoparticle films has been achieved by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the University of Michigan.

The development opens the door to applying the unique properties of nanoparticles to a wide variety of light-stimulated nerve-signaling devices–including the possible development of a nanoparticle-based artificial retina.

Images Get Their Own Search Engine

May 5, 2004

Backed by CIA funding, Pixlogic software can be “visually programmed” to monitor video feeds in real time to search for certain events or elements.

The software sees objects in a picture or video frame and makes a mathematical formulation to describe them. The formulations are stored in a searchable database and compared to the formulations for objects that are already filed.

A commercial version, Pixserve, will allow users… read more

Swine Flu May Be Human Error; WHO Investigates Claim

May 14, 2009

The World Health Organization is investigating a claim by an Australian researcher that the #swineflu virus may have been created as a result of human error, says researcher Adrian Gibbs, based on its genetic makeup.

He said he intends to publish a report suggesting the new strain may have accidentally evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines.

Is time slowing down?

December 28, 2007

Jose Senovilla at the University of the Basque Country and colleagues suggest we are fooled into thinking that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, because time itself is slowing down.

If he is correct, things will seem to get faster and faster until time finally disappears. “Then everything will be frozen, like a snapshot of one instant, forever,” he says. The good news: time wouldn’t freeze for billions… read more

Activity discovered at Yellowstone supervolcano

March 16, 2007

One of the largest supervolcanoes in the world lies beneath Yellowstone National Park, and activity has been increasing lately.

Conjuring music, sans instruments

August 2, 2011

Imogen Heap, the Grammy Award-winning musician, debuted a pair of musical gloves at the recent TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh that allow her to compose, arrange, and perform music with hand movements..

Those movements include, for example, the ability to record a loop by opening her hand, filtering sound by bringing her hands togetherl and panning by pointing in the desired direction. Volume can also be manipulated with some… read more

Code that kills, for real

May 12, 2004

Future military combat systems will require ever more complicated code, but writing software that is bug free and ready for a firefight is a challenge that gets tougher every day.

The military faces a “software divergence dilemma” today. In the past 50 years, the amount of code in a typical military system has increased a hundredfold. Meanwhile, in that same span of time, the average productivity of programmers has… read more

I.B.M. Unveils Real-Time Software to Find Trends in Vast Data Sets

May 21, 2009

System S, new software from IBM, can acquire huge volumes of data from many sources and quickly identify correlations within it, harnessing advances in computing and networking horsepower in a fashion that analysts and customers describe as unprecedented.

Instead of creating separate large databases to track things like currency movements, stock trading patterns and housing data, the System S software can meld all of that information together. In addition,… read more

New Sling Products Clip, Catch, and Receive TV

January 7, 2008

Sling Media’s Player 2.0 PC video streaming software will let users “clip and sling”–or clip chunks of TV video that can then be shared with friends in streaming Flash format on a Web page.

Engineering Bacteria to Harvest Light

March 26, 2007

Commonly used lab bacteria called E. coli can be converted into light-harvesting organisms in a single genetic step, according to new research from MIT.

These findings could ultimately be used to genetically engineer bacteria that can more efficiently produce biofuels, drugs, and other chemicals.

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