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Jan Belezina

A new algorithm developed at the University of Birmingham is capable of making accurate ed...

Phones obviously already know where we are and where we have been, thanks to GPS and other clever positioning technologies. Now, thanks to an algorithm developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, your smartphone may soon be able to make accurate educated guesses as to where you’re going to be in 24 hours time. And here’s the dirty trick responsible for the algorithm’s future-telling powers: it spies on your friends and connects the dots where necessary.  Read More

Buildings have unique spatial magnetic signatures that can be used for indoor positioning

While GPS tracking tends to be ineffective inside buildings, alternative indoor positioning solutions require the presence of Wi-Fi network access points or other beacons ... or at least, that was the case before a Finnish start-up called IndoorAtlas stepped onto the scene. Its software uses your phone’s built-in compass and measures the anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint your location in a building with the accuracy ranging from 0.1 meter to 2 meters (3.93 inches to 6.56 feet). If spiny lobsters can do it, so can we, the logic goes.  Read More

This biologically accurate set of robotic legs comprises simplified versions of the human ...

Moving forwards on two legs is one thing, walking with a recognizably human gait is quite another. While most humanoids have mastered the former, the latter is beyond the reach of most bipedal robots (though some are doing a good job at it) ... and there is a good reason for that. Recreating the way humans walk takes recreating the entire walking apparatus, complete with the skeletal, muscular and neural systems. That’s exactly what a group of researchers from the University of Arizona have done, creating what is reportedly the most biologically accurate set of robotic legs to ever walk the planet.  Read More

This silicon wafer consists of glucose fuel cells of varying sizes; the largest is 64 by 6...

A new implantable fuel cell that harvests the electrical power from the brain promises to usher in a new generation of bionic implants. Designed by MIT researchers, it uses glucose within the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain to generate several hundred microwatts of power without causing any detrimental effects to the body. The technology may one day provide a whole new level of reliability and self-efficiency for all sorts of implantable brain-machine interfaces that would otherwise have to rely on external power sources. If proven harmless, the method could be used to power implants that could, among other things, help the paralyzed regain the ability to walk.  Read More

Scientists are proposing that spacecraft could use solar-powered lasers to deflect an Eart...

The threat of an asteroid hitting our home planet may not an immediate one, but it better be tackled before it becomes imminent. The brief visit of the 99942 Apophis asteroid in 2004 served as a reminder that a collision with Earth is by all means possible. Scientists have been working on a solution since then, and several bold plans were hatched. The latest one comes from Massimiliano Vasile and Christie Maddock from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, who reckon we should build a spacecraft fitted with solar-powered lasers.  Read More

The MH-2 telepresence robot mimics the movements of its remote operator (Photo: Yamagata U... The MH-2 is a telepresence robot like no other we have seen, and believe us, we’ve seen our share of weird robots. This tiny humanoid figure is always there for you, perching on your shoulder, ready to be remotely inhabited by your friends. Conceived by the researchers at Yamagata University in Japan, MH-2 is designed to imitate human behavior accurately enough for you to feel like your friend is actually there with you.  Read More

Bouncing blue laser light off the skin provides a non-invasive way to determine levels of ...

Have you had your daily serving of vegetables? This seemingly simple question is in fact very difficult to answer, for children and adults alike. Luckily, a new handheld laser scanner devised by researchers at Yale University and the University of Utah promises to put a swift end to veggie dodging, while also helping scientists to measure exactly how our diet affects our health.  Read More

Air bubbles in a saline solution can be controlled with high precision by a laser beam, wh...

Building robots out of bubbles is an intriguing idea in its own right, but propelling them with lasers is just plain crazy. The bubble microrobots, devised by the researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, have no mechanical parts whatsoever, but can nevertheless be manipulated with very high precision. Combined into complex robotic systems, they could potentially be used to assemble larger objects, such as biological cells.  Read More

The SAPER mobile application uses the device's embedded magnetometer to turn a smartphone ...

With unexploded ordnance and land mines remaining a serious global problem, we’ve seen many efforts to develop new technology to detect these dangers, such as using terahertz waves and inkjet-printable sensors. But instead of relying on the development of new technology, some students at the Military University of Technology in Warsaw have sought to use an existing one in a new way with the development of their SAPER explosives detection app for smartphones.  Read More

Brainput provides a passive, implicit input channel to interactive systems, with little ef...

As machines get more and more sophisticated, the mental capacity of their human overlords stays at a static (albeit seemingly impressive) level, and therefore slowly starts to pale in comparison. The bandwidth of the human brain is not limitless, and if an overloaded brain happens to be overseeing machines carrying out potentially dangerous tasks, you can expect trouble. But why had we built the machines in the first place, if not to save us from trouble? Brainput, a brain-computer interface built by researchers from MIT and Tufts University, is going to let your computer know if you’re mentally fit for the job at hand. If it decides your brain is overloaded with tasks, it will help you out by handling some of them for you.  Read More

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