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Sony demos game controller to track motion and emotion

November 6, 2009

Sony has unveiled a hands-free, full-body game controller, the Interactive Communication Unit (ICU).

Like Microsoft’s Natal, Sony’s ICU tracks a person’s whole body without their having to wear the body markers used in motion-capture studios, and it can detect a player’s emotions by watching their facial expressions, and judge sex and approximate age from their appearance.

CU “reads” facial expressions using a pattern-matching algorithm that has been trained… read more

Get Smarter: 12 Hacks That Will Amp Up Your Brainpower

April 23, 2008

Wired magazine’s guide to better brainpower shows you “how to boost your memory, sharpen your concentration skills, and even pop the right combination of drugs and supplements.”

Pa. Professor Develops Snake-Like Robots

April 23, 2006

Carnegie Mellon University professor Howie Choset has developed snake-like robots he hopes will eventually slither through collapsed buildings in search of trapped victims.

The machines are designed to carry cameras and electronic sensors and can be controlled with a joystick. They wriggle with the help of small electric motors, or servos.

A step toward a saliva test for cancer

September 1, 2011

A new saliva test developed by researchers at National Chung Cheng University (NCCU) in Taiwan that can measure the amount of potential carcinogens stuck to a person’s DNA was reported during the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Denver.

“The test measures the amount of damaged DNA [DNA adducts] in a person’s body,”… read more

A Garden of Robotic Delights

July 11, 2003

“The flowers in Cynthia Breazeal’s garden are like no blossoms you’ve ever seen. Fashioned of metal and silicon and embedded with electronic sensors, they are actually robots that react to light and body heat by bobbing, swaying, spinning and changing color….”

The Cyberflora Installation is now showing at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, through January 2004.

Wireless Phones Can Affect The Brain, Swedish Study Suggests

November 12, 2009

A study at Orebro University in Sweden indicates that mobile phones and other cordless telephones have at two biological effects on the brain: increased content of the protein transthyretin in the blood-cerebrospinal-fluid barrier (part of the brain’s protection against outside influences), and various health symptoms reported by children and adolescents, with the connection strongest regarding headaches, asthmatic complaints, and impaired concentration.

Space ‘spiderwebs’ could propel future probes

April 25, 2008

A new type of interplanetary solar sail has been woven by scientists at Finnish Meteorological Institute.

The spiderweb-like sail is designed to catch the wind of ionized gas that blows from the Sun, carrying spacecraft to the outer reaches of the solar system, or letting them tack back and forth through the asteroid belt on exploration or mining missions.

They plan to reel out long wires… read more

The new incredibles: Enhanced humans

May 11, 2006

People with enhanced senses, superhuman bodies and sharpened minds are already walking among us. Are you ready for your upgrade?

They’re here and walking among us: people with technologically enhanced senses, superhuman bodies and artificially sharpened minds. The first humans to reach a happy, healthy 150th birthday may already have been born. And that’s just the start of it. Are you ready for your upgrade, asks Graham Lawton… read more

Planned U.S. sensor network targets terror threats

July 21, 2003

Government researchers are developing a nationwide sensor network that someday could provide a real-time early-warning system for a wide array of chemical, biological and nuclear threats across the United States.

Sensors will use hybrid sensors, MEMS and nanotechnology linked by an Internet-like peer-to-peer network.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers are developing nanosize preconcentrators for nerve agents, botulism and other toxins.

Sandia is developing a sensor that could… read more

Bigger Not Necessarily Better, When It Comes to Brains

November 18, 2009

Tiny insects could be as intelligent as much bigger animals, despite only having a brain the size of a pinhead, say scientists at Queen Mary, University of London.

Research repeatedly shows how insects are capable of some intelligent behaviors scientists previously thought was unique to larger animals.

This must mean that much “advanced” thinking can actually be done with very limited neuron numbers. Computer modelling shows that even… read more

Tripping Up Avian Flu

April 30, 2008

Researchers at the Chinese National Research Center for Wildlife Born Diseases have made plasmids–small rings of designer DNA–that they say can block the bird flu virus from reproducing in cells.

Once inside cells, the plasmids make short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), sequences that exactly match part of a gene in the virus’ genome. When the virus tries to replicate, the siRNAs can recognize and disable the gene, preventing replication.… read more

Physicists draw up plans for real ‘cloaking device’

May 26, 2006

Physicists have drawn up blueprints for a cloaking device that could, in theory, render objects invisible to the human eye.

John Pendry and colleagues at Imperial College London, UK, have calculated that materials engineered to have abnormal optical properties, known as metamaterials, could make light pass around an object as so it appears as if it were not there at all.

Harnessing electricity from low-power sources in the environment

September 15, 2011

A new energy harvesting device converts low-frequency vibrations into electricity. The device, the size of a U.S. quarter, is shown mounted on a stand (photo: Arman Hajati)

Researchers at MIT have designed a device the size of a U.S. quarter that harvests energy from low-frequency vibrations, such as those that might be felt along a pipeline or bridge.

Today‚Äôs wireless-sensor networks can do many things from supervising factory machinery to tracking environmental pollution to measuring the movement of buildings and bridges, but power is one limiting factor to wireless sensors technology.… read more

China, AMD team on Opteron supercomputer

July 27, 2003

China plans to create the world’s third most powerful supercomputer, at 10 teraflops, scheduled for June 2004. It will be a cluster using the Opteron processor from AMD and running Linux.

Fingerprints: Signal Processors for Touch

November 30, 2009

Fingerprint ridges and whorls process vibrations in the skin to make them easier for nerves to pick up, University of Paris researchers have found.

Fingerprints act like signal processors, conditioning the mechanical vibrations so that the Pacinian corpuscles can best interpret them. It’s this optimisation process that allows us to sense textures with a spatial resolution far smaller than the distance between Pacinian corpuscles in the skin, an example… read more

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