science + technology news

Behind Artificial Intelligence, a Squadron of Bright Real People

October 14, 2005

The five robots that successfully navigated a 132-mile course in the Nevada desert last weekend demonstrated the re-emergence of artificial intelligence, a technology field that for decades has overpromised and underdelivered.

This leap was possible, in large part, because researchers are moving from an approach that relied principally on logic and rule-based systems to more probability or statistics-oriented software technologies.

Iris recognition scanner eliminates passwords

May 16, 2011

Eye Lock

A device called EyeLock, which uses iris recognition as an alternative to passwords to log you in to password-protected Web sites and applications, has been designed by the Hoyos Group.

The scanning device resembles a wand and plugs into a base that connects to your PC via a USB port.

After you install the software and choose the sites and applications that you want… read more

Research examines robot-assisted therapy

December 6, 2002

Purdue University is running a year-long study that puts an AIBO robot dog for six weeks in the homes of people 65 years and older who live alone to see if robots can provide social stimulation.

One manufacturer is working to include a blood-pressure sensor in its robot. Other possibilities include alerting a nurses’ station if the person does not react to the robot for extended periods.

The Crowd Is Wise (When It’s Focused)

July 20, 2009

Open-innovation models succeed only when carefully designed for a particular task and when the incentives are tailored to attract the most effective collaborators, say collective-intelligence experts.

Laser beam sets record for intensity

February 18, 2008

The world’s most intense laser beam uses 300 terawatts of power concentrated in a 30 femtosecond pulse to a 1.3-micron area, or 20 billion trillion watts per square centimeter.

University of Michigan news release

See also The most intense laser in the Universe

Future nanotech tools made from clay

October 26, 2005

NaturalNano Inc. has found a way to use Halloysite, a naturally occurring tubular clay, as an unobtrusive carrier in metals, perfumes and other substances.

By filling Halloysite tubes with copper and then mixing the tubes into a polymer, a manufacturer could make an electrically conductive plastic. If filled with fungicides, the Halloysite particles–which consist of aluminum, oxygen, silicon and hydrogen–could be swirled into paint to make it more resistant… read more

The Matrix Makers: virtual cinematography

December 25, 2002

The two sequels of “The Matrix” will feature photorealistic virtual actors that are impossible to tell from real ones, say the producers. “The Matrix Reloaded” arrives in theaters on May 15, “Matrix Revolutions” in early November.

Actor performances are captured on five high-resolution digital cameras; a complex algorithm calculates the actor’s appearance from every angle the cameras missed and allows for creating scenes with virtual actors.

Terrorists could use internet to launch nuclear attack: report

July 28, 2009

Terrorist groups could soon break into computer systems and set off a devastating nuclear attack, according to a study commissioned by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

Cyber-terrorists could also provoke a nuclear launch by spoofing early warning and identification systems or by degrading communications networks.

Adobe Blurs Line Between PC and Web

February 25, 2008

On Monday, Adobe will release AIR, a software development system that will power potentially tens of thousands of applications that merge the Internet and the PC, as well as blur the distinctions between PCs and new computing devices like smartphones.

Some Technologies Will Annoy

November 9, 2005

If you’re waiting for the “home of the future,” filled with talking appliances and complex networks that let all our devices communicate with each other, prepare to keep holding your breath. It’s not that those things aren’t technically possible. It’s just that if we had them, they’d irritate us.

Professional futurists weigh in.

Future-gazing in Las Vegas

January 13, 2003

A giant LCD panel that acts as computer display and TV, does facial recognition for home security; and users connecting to huge remote databases of archive material with massive educational potential linked to advanced, virtual reality technology were among the forecasts at a CES session.

Virtual Worlds May Be the Future Setting of Scientific Collaboration

August 5, 2009

The first professional scientific organization based entirely in virtual worlds, the Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics (MICA), has been formed by scientists from the California Institute of Technology, Princeton, Drexel University, and MIT.

In addition to getting people together in a free and convenient way, virtual worlds can offer new possibilities for multi-dimensional data visualization.

Researchers find key step in programmed cell death

March 3, 2008

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital researchers have discovered three molecules that together protect certain cells from undergoing apoptosis–programmed cell death–describing one mechanism for how cells may delay apoptosis.

Molecular malfunctions that trigger apoptosis may cause some diseases, including Parkinson’s disease.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital News Release

Library of Congress Plans World Digital Library

November 22, 2005

The U.S. Library of Congress is kicking off a campaign on Tuesday to work with other nation’s libraries to build a World Digital Library, starting with a $3 million donation from Google Inc.

Over the past decade, the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress has digitized more than ten million items to create a documentary record of Americana.

These include manuscripts, maps, audiovisual recordings,… read more

Light Particles Are Duplicated More Than a Mile Away Along Fiber

January 30, 2003

Scientists have taken particles of light, destroyed them and then resurrected copies more than a mile away. Previous experiments in “quantum teleportation” moved particles of light about a yard.

Possible uses include sending unbreakable encrypted messages and as fiber-optics repeaters.

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