Computational creativity and the future of AI


Researchers have found that the language that the retina uses to communicate with the brai...

Our eyes extract a lot of information from visible light that enables us to see color, movement, shadows, highlights, shapes, and more, with each component processed separately and sent to the brain in parallel to the others. It was previously thought that the same scene would always be converted into the same pattern of activity. But research by scientists at the University of Tübingen in Germany and the University of Manchester in the UK suggests that the signals differ wildly as the brightness of the environment changes by even small amounts.  Read More

A sample of the high-entropy alloy (Photo: North Carolina State University)

When it comes to metal that's being used in the automotive or aerospace industries, the higher its strength-to-weight ratio, the better. With that in mind, researchers from North Carolina State University and Qatar University have developed a new alloy that reportedly has a low density similar to that of aluminum, but that's stronger than titanium.  Read More

A microscope image of CNF fibers made via the new process (Image: Edinburgh Napier Univers...

While we hear a lot about the wonders of materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes, nanofibrillated cellulose (aka: Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF) also shows a lot of promise. A type of "nanocellulose", it can be used to produce composite materials that are strong, light, electrically-conductive and oxygen-impervious. Additionally, it uses an existing waste product as its feedstock. Unfortunately its production process is fairly energy-intensive, limiting its widespread use. Thanks to a new technique, however, that may soon no longer be the case.  Read More

The collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation would trigger cooling and ...

We could see early warning signs of the collapse of a key component of the global climate up to 250 years in advance, a new study has shown – ample time to either prevent or prepare for the consequences of abrupt climate change. The University of Exeter study analyzed the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), sometimes referred to as the global ocean conveyor belt, in a highly-complex and realistic simulation model, and identified the likely mechanisms that would drive such a collapse.  Read More

Researchers a Berkeley have claimed a world record energy level with their tabletop-size p...

Taking careful aim with a quadrillion watt laser, researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab claim to have managed to speed up subatomic particles to the highest energies ever recorded for a compact accelerator. By blasting plasma in their tabletop-size laser-plasma accelerator, the scientists assert that they have produced acceleration energy of around of 4.25 giga-electron volts. Acceleration of this magnitude over the short distances involved correlates to an energy rise 1,000 times greater than that of a traditional – and very much larger – particle accelerator.  Read More

The gantry-mounted prototype device is moved over a pool, to simulate being flown over the...

When an organization sets out to map the sea floor, it will typically use a device known as a bathymetric lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) unit. These are large and can weigh almost 600 lb (272 kg), so they're mounted on crewed aircraft that fly over the area to be mapped. Led by Dr. Grady Tuell, a team at Georgia Tech has now developed a cost-effective new system that they claim could lead to much smaller, more efficient bathymetric lidars, capable of being carried by a UAV.  Read More

Engineers at Penn State University have produced an ammonia-based battery that captures an...

As modern power generation methods are designed to squeeze the most power from the least amount of fuel, engineers are constantly looking at techniques to improve efficiency. One way to achieve this is to scavenge waste energy left over from the production process to capture and convert low-grade heat into usable energy. In pursuit of this goal, engineers at Pennsylvania State University have produced an ammonia-based battery that not only captures and converts waste heat economically and efficiently, but is claimed to do so at a greater capacity than other similar systems.  Read More

The Antikythera Mechanism is the world's oldest computer (Photo: Giovanni Dall Orto)

Since its discovery over a century ago, the Antikythera Mechanism has had scholars scratching their heads over how the Greeks managed to build a mechanical computer a hundred years before the birth of Christ and thousands of years before anything similar. But now things have become even stranger as researchers claim that it's over a hundred years older than previously believed and may have been built by a famous hand.  Read More

The CUP system is claimed to be the world's fastest 2D camera (Image: Lihong Wang, PhD)

Researchers at Washington University in St.Louis have built what they claim is the world's fastest 2D receive-only camera, which is able to capture images at a rate of up to 100 billion frames per second. Using a technique called Compressed Ultrafast Photography (CUP), the researchers have so far taken photographs of a number of properties of light propagation and behavior that are already pushing the dimensional limits of fundamental physics.  Read More

A wind turbine blade is covered in ice, except for where a Windheat film is located (Photo...

Given that the sterotypical image of the world's northern regions involves howling winds, why don't we see more wind turbines in such places? Well, it's largely because those turbines' blades would ice up a lot. The added weight could cause them to turn more slowly, to break down by throwing off their balance, and it could cause their operators to shut them down during potentially icy weather. The European Union Windheat Project is aiming to change that, with a carbon nanotube-based de-icing system.  Read More

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