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This is the personal blog of a science writer and journalist. It's for anyone who loves, wants to love or doesn't know how to love science.
Everyone, I’m elated to tell you that Tumblr will be joining Yahoo.
Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns:...
Cara detects multiple faces up to 25 feet away, is over 90% accurate with its gender detection, is more than 80% of the time right when it comes to noting the correct age: child (0-13), young adult (14-35), adult (35-65), or senior (65+). It also records how much and what kind of attention they’re giving the camera. This includes total duration (time in front of the camera), glances (looking away and back), attention time (facing the camera), and opportunity to see (traffic near the camera).
MIT Media Lab’s Professor Picard and Dr Rana El Kaliouby have taken face recognition to yet another level. Their software, Affectiva, can read human emotions and is capable of distinguishing a real smile from a fake one.
With these groundbreaking technologies already available it is only a matter of time before a combined solution hits the market and then computers will not only know who we are but also how we feel.
They are unlikely to look like C-3PO, but in any case are you ready for this new species?
DIY bionics - making kids smile again.
See the joy in Liam’s eyes as he is grasping a ball with his right hand for the first time. By the time this cute fellow grows up, he will have a bionic hand that will be connected to his neural-system and be indistinguishable from his biological body; but for now all Liam cares about is being able to play ball.
Could the long-awaited flying cars finally become a reality?
This is a flying hybrid vehicle! Who wants one?!
The next-gen TF-X will be a street legal plug-in hybrid car that has collapsible wings, retractable propellers, and is capable of driving and flying on its own in the event of an emergency.
Samsung Demos a Tablet Controlled by Your Brain
An easy-to-use EEG cap could expand the number of ways to interact with your mobile devices.
Why it matters.
A brain-controlled mobile device could give paralyzed people more ways to interact with the world while also improving functionality for all of us.
Nanoscale Pressure Sensors Mimic Human Skin
New research shows how arrays of tiny electronic devices can achieve human-skin-like sensitivity to mechanical force.
Why it matters?
Better tactile sensing could lead to more adaptive robots and prosthetics.
From memory implants to prenatal DNA sequencing check out the 10 breakthrough technologies of 2013 that will “expand the scope of human possibilities”
Who coined the term ‘robot’? A Czech writer and journalist called Karel Capek. He wrote a play called ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots (R.U.R.)’ in 1920. In it the robots take over the world and kill the human race. Remarkably, he wrote the play way before robots even existed! It’s no wonder, that with this kind of genesis, we are afraid they actually will erase the human race.
Humanoid robot in development that looks and acts like a one year old kid.
Its facial features and movements are incredibly humanlike. Check it out! Eerie.
The 2012 red dot award winners have been announced. Here is one of the winners:
Smart Swimming Goggles assists with communication between divers and the capturing of memories in photo and video format.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield started it all by posting images of the Earth from the ISS on Twitter. That prompted a response from actor William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek TV series: “Are you tweeting from space?”. The astronaut’s reply used words uttered when Enterprise pulled up above a new world. “Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we’re detecting signs of life on the surface.”
Enterprise helmsman Lieutenant “Mister” Sulu, aka George Takei, and science officer Spock, aka Leonard Nimoy, then chipped in. Not to be outdone by fictional counterparts, real-life moonwalker Buzz Aldrin piped up, too: “Neil and I would have tweeted from the Moon if we could have but I would prefer to tweet from Mars. Maybe by 2040.”
Hadfield tweets images like these:
“Tiny, perfect, weightless loaf of Russian black bread. Shelf life measured in years, good for spaceflight.”
“The Earth’s horizon, just before sunrise. Beautiful lines of colour, a rainbow halo for the planet.”
This year the winter vomiting virus Norovirus had affected 35 hospitals in the UK, with hundreds of beds unavailable after 27 wards were shut to isolate infected patients and deep cleaned. Unfortunately, viruses can spread rapidly in hospitals and in the US alone over 2 million people are infected in hospitals every year. Could a robot be the answer to the virus-infected hospitals?
It’s called the UV light-emitting robot from Xenex Healthcare and it has already proven that it’s more effect than traditional cleaning methods and even bleach.
Using a pulsed-xenon UV lamp, the portable bot shoots out 120 flashes of light per minute. Each pulse lasts a thousandth of a second each, and a typical treatment runs for 10 to 20 minutes. The UV rays pass through the outer wall of a bacterium and damage its DNA, making it impossible for it to mutate or reproduce. This stops the pathogen from propagating or being harmful.
Additionally, a system of reflectors allows the light to be focused on areas that have high-touch surfaces, such as door handles and light switches. In case someone enters the room when the bot is in operation, a motion detector halts operation to prevent accidental exposure to humans.
A recent study showed that the Xenex bot is superior to bleach at destroying one of the most concerning pathogens in hospitals, the resilient Clostridium difficile (C. diff) that can survive for months on surfaces. While cleaning with bleach only destroyed 70 percent of the pathogen in rooms, a 15-minute treatment using the pulsed UV treatment eliminated 95 percent, leaving six-times fewer bacteria around.
An increasing number of hospitals in the US are already employing the device.
TECH NEWS ALERT:
In five years, IBM thinks computers will touch, taste, smell, hear, and see. Sensing devices will aid online shoppers, parents, chefs (cooking a perfectly tasty and healthy meal), and doctors.
Watch the forecast here.
Image: Anthony Reeves
The MIT is home to the world’s best innovators and brightest minds. If you, like me, are interested in technology and innovation and would like to know what the world inside the MIT walls is like, then you may enjoy reading ‘The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices’ (read review here).
Unsure about why you should pick up a book about a bunch of geeks and scientists? Here is a list of MIT inventions which may help jog your memory: