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Ben Coxworth

The 10,000 Year Clock is a giant timepiece that will be located in a remote cave in Texas,...

When we hear about things being built to last, we usually think in terms of years or decades ... or maybe, centuries. But millennia? Well yes, if you’re talking about the 10,000 Year Clock. As its name implies, the 200 foot (61 meter)-tall timepiece is intended to run for 10,000 years, in a remote cave in West Texas. The clock’s “century hand” will advance one space every 100 years, although individuals who make the trek to the cave will be able to hear it chime once a day. The whole project is designed to get people thinking in the long term.  Read More

Lytro is planning to release a consumer-oriented light field camera, that allows users to ...

For those of us who grew up with film cameras, even the most basic digital cameras can still seem a little bit magical. The ability to instantly see how your shots turned out, then delete the ones you don’t want and manipulate the ones you like, is something we would have killed for. Well, light field cameras could be to today’s digital cameras, what digital was to film. Among other things, they allow users to selectively shift focus between various objects in a picture, after it’s been taken. While the technology has so far been inaccessible to most of us, that is set to change, with the upcoming release of Lytro’s consumer light field camera.  Read More

A 'heat mean signature' of a human hand is used to perceive the six segments of the overal...

When we see a hand, regardless of whether it's open, in a fist, or pointing a finger, we still recognize it as a hand. If a computer has only been taught to recognize an open hand, however, it will probably have no idea what a fisted hand is. Getting computer vision systems to interpret images more like people do - to realize that a fist is a hand, for instance - has been one of the aims of artificial intelligence researchers for some time now. Things in that field may be about to take a step forward, however, as scientists from Indiana's Purdue University have just announced two new methods of three-dimensional object recognition, both based around heat diffusion.  Read More

The VoltAir is a concept all-electric airliner, that could be flying within 25 years (Phot...

One of the displays that has generated a lot of buzz at the Paris Airshow 2011 is EADS’ ZEHST concept – a zero-emission hypersonic airliner, that could be whisking passengers from Tokyo to London in under 2.5 hours, by the year 2050. Sitting alongside the ZEHST model, however, is another EADS concept aimed at the more immediate future. It’s called VoltAir, and it’s a proposed all-electric airliner that could be flying within 25 years.  Read More

A new method for graphene production has been discovered, that involves burning pure magne...

Graphene, the one-atom-thick carbon sheet material that could revolution everything from energy storage to computer chips, can now be made much more easily – at least, that’s what scientists from Northern Illinois University (NIU) are telling us. While previous production methods have included things like repeatedly splitting graphite crystals with tape, heating silicon carbide to high temperatures, and various other approaches, the latest process simply involves burning pure magnesium in dry ice.  Read More

The nanodevice consists of a sensor and transmitter (left), a capacitor (middle), and a na...

Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology recently reported the development of what they say is the world’s “first self-powered nano-device that can transmit data wirelessly over long distances.” The tiny device is able to operate battery-free, using a piezoelectric nanogenerator to create electricity from naturally-occurring mechanical vibrations.  Read More

The WISPER routers (top left), the WISPER dispenser (middle) and base station modules (bot...

Even though firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, firefighters still communicate using analog radio signals, that can be blocked by concrete walls. This means that, upon venturing into a burning building, a firefighter might have no way of letting their commander know their present location – a situation that could prove deadly, if they ended up trapped or injured. In order to address the situation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has created a new three-part system that lets fire crews keep track of the location and well-being of every member of their team, all the time.  Read More

Kilobots are tiny autonomous swarming robots, that cost about $14 a piece to build (Photo:...

Autonomous robotic devices are certainly capable of some impressive feats, but as is the case with people, sometimes large groups can accomplish what an individual or a small group can’t. Research projects such as BAE Systems’ MAST program recognize this potential, and are investigating ways in which entire swarms of small robots could work together. The problem is, given how much time and money goes into the creation of a typical autonomous robot, it’s difficult to find a swarm of them to experiment upon – researchers often have to use computer simulations, or do their tests with a small group of robots, then scale up the results. That’s where Harvard University’s Kilobot project comes into play. It incorporates tiny swarming robots that take just five minutes to build, and that are worth about US$14 each.  Read More

The BioBolt (seen here on a primate skull) is a prototype implant that could be used to wi...

For a great number of people with paralyzed limbs, the reason that they can’t move the arm or leg in question is because the “move” command isn’t able to reach from their brain to the limb. This is often due to damage to the nervous system, or to the brain, although the limb itself is still perfectly functional ... so it could still move, if only there was a way of getting the signal to it. Well, one might be on its way. Scientists at the University of Michigan have developed an implant known as the BioBolt, that wirelessly transmits neural signals from the brain to a computer. In the future, that computer could hopefully then relay them onto a formerly-paralyzed limb.  Read More

Norwegian researchers are working on developing a standard platform for internet-linked de...

Whether it's a washing machine that monitors the power grid, or a fridge that you can "look" in with your smartphone, more and more devices that aren't computers can now perform actions or be controlled via the internet. The phenomenon is known as The Internet of Things, and as technology advances, so will the number of "things" involved. In the same way that the regular internet has experienced some major growing pains, some people worry that the Internet of Things could also end up getting chaotic and disorganized. To that end, a group of Norwegian researchers are developing a standard platform for online devices, so that they're all on the same playing field.  Read More

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