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Ben Coxworth

Good Thinking

Machine uses artificial intelligence to sort dead batteries

While it’s definitely important to keep the heavy metals in discarded batteries out of the environment, the sorting of all of the different types of batteries that arrive at a recycling depot could no doubt get extremely tedious. It’s the type of job that often goes to a machine. Well, such a machine has been invented. Called the Optisort, it can recognize about 2,000 types of batteries, and is currently being used to sort one third of those recycled in the UK. Read More

Environment

Portable sensor lets users monitor air pollution on their smartphone

Air quality is one of those things that many of us should be more concerned about, but aren’t. According to some people, this is because we’re not easily able to know how clean the air around us really is – we just assume it’s “clean enough.” Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have set out to change that. They’re developing a compact, portable air pollution sensor that communicates with the user’s smartphone, to provide real-time air quality readings for their immediate surroundings.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Micro-bubbles may help prevent heart attacks and strokes

Heart attack and stroke-causing plaque deposits in the arteries are typically preceded by an inflammation of the arteries in those same areas. Therefore, if doctors could be aware of those inflamed regions before plaque deposits formed and problems such as chest pains arose, a lot of hardship could potentially be avoided. Well, that soon may be possible, thanks to some tiny bubbles. Read More

Science

Vector-based video could mean no more pixels

Unlike traditional bitmap graphics, which are made up of an array of pixels, vector graphics consist of lines, curves and shapes that are based on geometric formulas. Not only do they take up far less memory than bitmaps, but sections of them can also be enlarged without any loss of resolution. Currently, however, vector graphics aren’t well-suited to photorealistic applications, such as video. That may be about to change, though, as researchers from the UK’s University of Bath have developed a new program that is said to overcome such limitations – the scientists believe that the technology could make pixels obsolete within five years.Read More

Elvis-evoking Cat-Ears reduce wind noise while you cycle

Sometimes when you’re cycling, especially if you’re out on the open road, the constant wind noise in your ears can get rather annoying. It can also be potentially dangerous, as it may mask traffic noises. Well, if you’re OK with sporting what at first glance looks like a pair of dark sideburns, Cat-Ears might be the answer.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

"Smart stethoscope" keeps an ear on kidney stones

When kidney stones can’t be dissolved using medication, the next step is usually a procedure known as shock wave lithotripsy. This involves focusing a series of high-intensity acoustic pulses onto the stones, until they break apart to the point that they can be passed in urine or dissolved by drugs. Using current monitoring techniques, however, it can be difficult to tell when and if that point has been reached. A new device known as the Smart stethoscope lets clinicians know, by listening.Read More

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