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Behavior

A robot being taught to distinguish between two objects (Photo: University of Plymouth)

It had to happen sooner or later; robots have replaced infants... at least, as subjects in psychological research being conducted by a team at the Indiana University (IU) Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences. The robots are being used to study how infants learn and have revealed that posture and body position are important factors in early learning.  Read More

SmartStop is a new wearable electronic device designed to help smokers give up the habit

Kicking the cigarette habit is no picnic. It’s a full-on resistance effort against an overwhelming craving. That’s why smokers sometimes need more than will power alone to quit. Now a new device has been developed to add extra ammunition to the fight in the form of the SmartStop, an electronic wearable from U.S.-based Chrono Therapeutics that takes nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to a new level and adds behavioral support, thanks to the possibilities of digital, wireless technology.  Read More

The ParentGuardian system combines a stress-monitoring sensor and an app that delivers rea...

It can be hard enough for parents to maintain a cool head when dealing with an angry child at the best of times, but things can get much more difficult when that child has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). That's why scientists at Microsoft Research and the University of California, San Diego have created ParentGuardian. It combines a wrist-worn sensor and an app, to monitor parents' stress levels and deliver real-time coping strategies.  Read More

The PRIORI app looks for telltale changes in the speaker's speech patterns (Photo: Shutter...

People afflicted with bipolar disorder must live with the fact that at any moment, they could launch into a major depressive or manic mental state. These mood swings can be so severe that dangerous, erratic behavior including suicide attempts can result. Researchers at the University of Michigan, however, are developing something that could prove to be very helpful. It's an Android app that listens to a patient's phone conversations, and detects the signs of oncoming mood swings in their voice.  Read More

Which expression do you think shows real pain? (Photo: UC San Diego)

A computer-vision system able to detect false expressions of pain 30 percent more accurately than humans has been developed. Authors of the study, titled Automatic Decoding of Deceptive Pain Expressions, believe the technology has the potential for detecting other misleading behaviors and could be applied in areas including homeland security, recruitment, medicine and law.  Read More

Crystal structure of sodium bismuthide (Na3Bi), one of the newly discovered 3D topological...

Exciting times are ahead in the high-tech industries with the discovery by three independent groups that a new class of materials mimic the special electronic properties of graphene in 3D. Research into these superfast massless charge carriers opens up a wide range of potential applications in electronics, including smaller hard drives with more storage capacity, faster transistors and more efficient optical sensors.  Read More

A view of the OpenWorm simulated nematode while swimming (Photo: OpenWorm)

The OpenWorm project is aimed at creating the first artificial lifeform – a bottom-up computer model of a millimeter-sized nemotode, one of the simplest known multicellular organisms. In an important step forward, OpenWorm researchers have completed the simulation of the nematode's 302 neurons and 95 muscle cells and their worm is wriggling around in fine form.  Read More

The Smart Bra concept is aimed at helping people ward off emotional eating (Image: Microso...

Microsoft is throwing its hat (or rather, bra) into the ring, combining with engineers from the University of Rochester and the University of Southampton to develop a mobile platform which can infer your current emotional state and provide just-in-time feedback on when eating is a bad idea. Where do they hide the apparatus? In a bra.  Read More

This robotic leaf fish may not look scary to you, but then you're not a zebrafish

With some help from a robotic fish, scientists have discovered that zebrafish are much like humans in at least one way – they get reckless when they get drunk. OK, “drunk” might not be technically accurate, but when exposed to alcohol, the fish show no fear of a robotic version of one of their natural predators, the Indian leaf fish. When they’re “sober,” they avoid the thing like crazy. The researchers believe that the experiments indicate a promising future for robots in behavioral studies.  Read More

Negobot at work, pretending to be a gullible young girl

For a number of years now, police forces around the world have enlisted officers to pose as kids in online chat rooms, in an attempt to draw out pedophiles and track them down. Researchers at Spain’s University of Deusto are now hoping to free those cops up for other duties, and to catch more offenders, via a chatbot that they’ve created. Its name is Negobot, and it plays the part of a 14 year-old girl.  Read More

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