science + technology news

Soft, safe robot actuators inspired by human bicep muscles

"A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." --- Isaac Asimov's first law of robotics
June 2, 2016

VAMP

If robots are going work around humans, they will have to be softer and safer. A Harvard team has designed a new actuator with that in mind. Its movements are similar to those of a human bicep muscle, using vacuum power to automate soft rubber beams. Like real muscles, the actuators are soft, shock-absorbing, and pose no danger, according to the researchers.

The work is led by… 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

eulerian_video_magnification

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.

Software generates video news bulletins

October 25, 2006

Software that automatically generates timely video news bulletins, presented by computer-animated characters, could revolutionize news broadcasting.

The system, called News at Seven, can produce reports tailored to a person’s particular interests.

Using keywords entered by the user, the program selects news site RSS feeds and specific stories to focus on. The next step is to extract further key terms from these reports and use these to search for… read more

Software Helps Develop Hunches

March 13, 2006

Eric Bonabeau, founder of Icosystem, has introduced “the hunch engine,” software designed to enhance and refine human intuition.

When the user starts the hunch engine he or she is presented with a seed — a starting point — and a set of mutations. The user selects mutations that look promising, and the application uses that selection to generate another set of mutations, continuing in that fashion until the user… read more

Software learns new words from Wikipedia

September 6, 2006

A program that works out the meaning of newly coined words using the online encyclopedia Wikipedia could help machines understand the slang used in blogs and other informal texts.

The program, called Zeitgeist, hunts through Wikipedia looking for entries about new words that do not appear in an online resource called WordNet, an official linguistics tool that is both a dictionary and a thesaurus.

Software learns to translate by reading up

February 23, 2005

Translation software that develops an understanding of languages by scanning through thousands of previously translated documents has been developed by Information Sciences Institute.

It takes a statistical approach, building probabilistic rules about words, phrases and syntactic structures.

The translated documents used to teach the translation algorithms can be electronic, on paper, or even audio files. The developer says the system is not only faster than other methods, but… read more

Software lets programmers code hands-free

April 26, 2006

VoiceCode, a new speech-recognition tool, promises to let programmers write clean code without ever having to lay a finger on their keyboard.

It has been developed to help programmers with repetitive strain injury

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