Health & Wellbeing

Google eases the pain of online diagnosis

No one likes going to the doctor, so the popularity of online medical sites should come as no surprise – this despite the fact an online diagnosis will usually elicit a rolling of the eyes and a biting of the tongue from the GP when you do eventually make the trip to the doctor's office. Now Google is making efforts to return more relevant and trustworthy search results when you punch in your symptoms.Read More


Japan wants to take autonomous construction extraterrestrial

With one eye on its aging population, Japan is already starting to test the waters with automated construction technologies. Members of its robotic workforce currently in action include remotely-controlled bulldozers, AI-assisted control systems and even drones. Now the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is looking to take this technology to a place where there are even less able-bodied workers, the undeveloped plains of the Moon and Mars.Read More


Bespoke processor gives robot movement a speed boost

In structured environments, such as on manufacturing lines, robots are able to carry out pre-planned movements much faster than humans, but in unfamiliar environments it takes a lot of time for robots to plan movements that humans make almost without thinking. To give robots a speed boost, engineers at Duke University have developed a new processor that enables robots to perform motion planning 10,000 times faster than conventional methods.Read More

Physics Feature

A long way from everything: The search for a Grand Unified Theory

The recent confirmation of gravity waves observed by the LIGO project represents a huge breakthrough in physics, verifying Albert Einstein's predictions regarding the effect of mass on space and time and supporting his general theory of relativity published in 1916. But what of his other grand hypothesis? Einstein's unified field theory consumed the last 30 years of his life without resolution, but how much closer have we come to a theory that brings every known force in the universe together into a single, all-encompassing frame of reference? Read More


Best electric mid-drive adds serious muscle and speed to existing bicycles

In addition to the hordes of e-bikes out there, the market has plenty of aftermarket kits designed to turn standard bicycles into electric-assist machines: electrified wheels like the Centinel and FlyKly, friction drives like the ConoDrive and Rubbee 2.0, and mid-drives like the Bimoz. With the exception of the rare powerhouse, like the 3,400-watt EGO-kit, these add-ons tend to use modestly powered motors for speeds between 15 and 20 mph (24 and 32 km/h) or so. The new mid-mounted Bikee Best kit packs more power potential and torque than average, aiming for better hill climbing capability and speeds up to 30 mph (48 km/h).Read More


Water hazard – even big cars can be swept away in shallow floodwaters

News coverage of floods is inevitably accompanied by footage of stranded motorists who have attempted to drive through floodwaters, despite warnings from emergency services. The recent floods that hit the Australian east coast were no different, but a new study out of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) may give drivers pause before risking their lives in the next downpour. Researchers have found that vehicles – even burly four-wheel drives – can be swept away in even remarkably shallow water.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Hug machine puts the squeeze on autism

Prof. Mary Temple Grandin is a high-functioning autistic, and is an outspoken advocate for people with autism spectrum disorders. Among other things, she invented what is known as a "hug machine," which reportedly calms hypersensitive people by gently exerting even pressure along their bodies. While some individuals have made their own over the years, Denmark's Gloria Mundi Care is now offering a commercial version, called the OrbisBox.Read More


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