Computational creativity and the future of AI

Ben Coxworth

The Subwing is a device that is towed behind a boat, allowing the rider to 'fly' underwate...

We’ve probably all seen scuba divers on television, hitching rides on the backs of manta rays or sea turtles. For those of us who love the ocean, it looks like a near-magical experience, but ... you shouldn’t do it. Marine biologists will tell you that it’s simply a form of harassment, which the animals themselves don’t particularly enjoy. So, how can you replicate that “flying underwater” experience? Well, Norwegian inventor Simon Sivertsen would suggest you buy his boat-towed Subwing.  Read More

Twin Creeks Technologies' Hyperion process is claimed to be able to produce crystalline si...

Boosting solar cell efficiency is seen as a key factor in making them more practical, but there is another way of looking at the matter ... if the price of those cells were lowered, we could generate more power simply by using more of them. That’s where Mississippi-based Twin Creeks Technologies comes into the picture. The company has developed a method of making crystalline silicon wafers which it says could reduce the cost of solar cell production by half.  Read More

Scientists at Cambridge University have built robots out of LEGO, to assist in their resea...

Despite what TV shows like CSI would have us believe, a lot of lab work tends to be highly monotonous. It’s the type of work that could be assigned to robots, were it not for the fact that many facilities can’t afford the things, or can’t rationalize bringing one in for a single project. When scientists at Cambridge University were recently faced with a very mindless, repetitive task that was part of their research into creating artificial bone, one of them got creative, and built a couple of robots out of LEGO.  Read More

A group of four autonomous underwater vehicles have just set a world distance record, by t... On November 17th of last year, a group of four wave-powered autonomous aquatic robots set out from San Francisco, embarking on a planned 37,000-mile (60,000-km) trip across the Pacific ocean. Recently, the fleet of Wave Gliders completed the first leg of their journey, arriving at Hawaii’s Big Island after traveling over 3,200 nautical miles (5,926 km). By doing so, they have set a new distance record for unmanned wave-powered vehicles – that record previously sat at 2,500 nautical miles (4,630 km).  Read More

Aircraft carrier deck crews may one day be able to direct autonomous drones, using standar...

We’ve all seen footage of flight crews on the decks of aircraft carriers, directing taxiing planes using arm signals. That’s all very well and good when they’re communicating with human pilots, but what happens as more and more human-piloted military aircraft are replaced with autonomous drones? Well, if researchers at MIT are successful in one of their latest projects, not much should change. They’re currently devising a system that would allow robotic aircraft to understand human arm gestures.  Read More

Laser 'un-printers' would allow paper to be re-used, reducing the need for virgin wood pul...

If you’re concerned about deforestation, you likely blue-bin the no-longer-needed sheets of paper that have been run through your printer. You should keep in mind, however, that even though the recycling of that paper saves trees, the process still requires considerable energy, and most recycled paper still contains some virgin wood pulp. What would be better is if there were an “un-printer” that took the toner off of the used paper, so you would be left with a blank sheet that you could reuse. Well, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Cambridge, there soon may be.  Read More

The hypoallergenic egg team: Tim Doran (left), Cenk Suphioglu and Pathum Dhanapala

Of all the childhood allergies, an allergic reaction to eggs is one of the most common. Typically, reactions can include wheezing, nausea, headache, stomach ache, and hives. In extreme cases, however, anaphylactic shock can result, which can itself sometimes lead to death. Eggs are difficult to avoid, too - they find their way into many foods that might not seem particularly "eggy," and are even used in flu vaccines. Needless to say, for some time now, scientists have been working on making eggs safe for everyone. A team from Australia's Deakin University is now claiming that they're well on the way to producing not just hypoallergenic eggs, but the chickens that lay them.  Read More

NASA and GM engineers have created Robo-Glove, a power-assisted glove designed to keep ast...

Having trouble getting the lid off that pickle jar? Well, perhaps the Human Grasp Assist device can help. Designed through a collaboration between GM and NASA - and also known as Robo-Glove or K-Glove - the device is based on grasping technology initially developed for the hands of the space-going Robonaut 2. Essentially a power-assisted work glove, Robo-Glove is designed to minimize repetitive stress injuries in both astronauts and autoworkers.  Read More

U Grok It is a smartphone-based system that allows you to find missing items, that have be...

Last year, we told you about a smartphone-based system that can be used to find your missing stuff, known as BiKN. It consists of an electronic case that the phone slides into, which tracks the whereabouts of paired radio frequency tags that the user attaches to their car keys, purse, children – you name it. The phone displays the location of the sought items, or can sound an alarm if one of them gets too far away. Now, it looks like BiKN might have some competition, in the form of the similar-but-different U Grok It.  Read More

New software developed by Microsoft is able to reproduce the user's speech in another lang...

For some time now, speech-recognition programs have existed that attempt to reproduce the user’s spoken words in another language. Such “speech-to-speech” apps, however, provide their translations using a very flat, synthetic voice. Now, experimental new software developed by Microsoft is able not only to translate between 26 different languages, but it plays the translated speech back in the user’s own voice – complete with the inflections they used when speaking in their own language. It looks like a real-life version of Star Trek’s universal translator could soon be here.  Read More

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