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Cambridge University

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a computer system that's able ...

While computer systems are now very capable of recognizing vocal input, they offer minimal interactive feedback. A team of Cambridge University researchers have now developed a system that can not only detect a user's emotional state, but can also make expressive responses of its own. Using a robotic likeness of the godfather of the programmable computer, Charles Babbage, the team has hooked the system up to a driving simulator and created a computerized driving companion and navigator that reacts to the driver in much the same way as a human passenger.  Read More

Microsoft's SenseCam technology is now being manufactured as the Vicon Revue, which interm...

Microsoft has licensed its SenseCam technology to UK-based Vicon Motion Systems, so that the company can manufacture the device as a memory aid. Worn around the neck, the forward-facing lens of the Vicon Revue snaps a few photos every minute and stores them on the internal memory. The shots can then be used later to help those suffering from recall problems to piece together life events.  Read More

The DuoFertility system discreetly monitors body temperature for subtle changes related to...

For an estimated one in six European couples, trying for a baby proves an often fruitless and frustrating process. Those wanting to avoid invasive techniques like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and opting for a more natural approach may find their lives being taken over by complicated calendar-based calculations or early morning toilet duties. UK-based Cambridge Temperature Concepts has developed a sophisticated body temperature measurement system which helps couples predict the best time to plan for a romantic evening, and is backed by a money-back guarantee. A wireless sensor stuck under the arm continuously monitors the minute changes in basal body temperature indicative of ovulation, and wirelessly sends the results to a hand-held reader which displays a six day optimum conception forecast.  Read More

Illustration of the dipolar variation in the fine-structure constant, alpha, across the sk...

Star Trek’s Scotty was adamant that you “canna change the laws of physics,” but, according to a report from a team of astrophysicists based in Australia and England, that could be exactly what happens in different parts of the universe. The report describes how one of the supposed fundamental constants of Nature appears not to be constant after all. Instead, this 'magic number' known as the fine-structure constant – 'alpha' for short – appears to vary throughout the universe.  Read More

A human liver (Image: Department of Histology, Jagiellonian University Medical College)

Researching liver disorders is extremely difficult because liver cells (hepatocytes) cannot be grown in the laboratory. However, researchers at the University of Cambridge have now managed to create diseased liver cells from a small sample of human skin. The research shows that stem cells can be used to model a diverse range of inherited disorders and paves the way for new liver disease research and possible cell-based therapy.  Read More

The bright green wings of the P. blumei butterfly result from the mixing of the different ...

Counterfeiting is a crime as old as money itself. It causes a reduction in the value of real money and can add to company losses, as they are not reimbursed for counterfeits. In 1996 Australia became the first country to have a full series of circulating polymer banknotes, which are difficult to counterfeit because they cannot be successfully reproduced by photocopying or scanning. Now scientists have discovered a way of mimicking the stunningly bright and beautiful colors found on the wings of tropical butterflies, that could help make banknotes and credit cards even harder to forge.  Read More

Lithium-ion batteries sometimes catch fire, due to lithium particle accumulations (Photo: ...

It’s probably safe to say that just about everyone is impressed with the incredible performance offered by lithium-ion batteries. They make our cell phones and laptops viable for real-world use and will be powering just about every electric vehicle on the road. These batteries do have one problem however: they sometimes catch fire. That’s not good. Fortunately, scientists at Cambridge University think they’re on the road to solving this problem - a new technique allows them to “see” the chemistry at work inside batteries.  Read More

An artificial pancreas system could help safely manage type 1 diabetes in children (Image:...

An artificial pancreas system being developed by scientists at Cambridge in the UK could help safely manage type 1 diabetes in children.The artificial pancreas combines a commercially available continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, and uses a sophisticated algorithm which calculates the correct amount of insulin to deliver based on real-time glucose readings.  Read More

Using ProFORMA 3D modeling software, users can create models by rotating an object in fron...

Cambridge University PhD student Qi Pan has designed software that creates textured 3D models in slightly more than a minute using a stationary camera, such as a webcam. Conventional off-line model reconstruction relies on a number of phases - there’s an image collection phase that can be quite quick, followed by a very slow reconstruction phase, which requires a long time to verify a model obtained from an image sequence is acceptable. This new software creates a 3D model on-line as the input sequence is being collected. As the user rotates the object in front of a camera, a partial model is reconstructed and displayed to the user.  Read More

The 'holy grail' of lighting

Cambridge University researchers have developed cheap, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that produce brilliant light but use very little electricity. They will cost just GBP2 (USD2.80) and last up to 60 years. The gallium nitride based bulbs are 12 times more efficient than conventional tungsten incandescent bulbs and three times more efficient than compact fluorescent low-energy bulbs. As well as lasting 100,000 hours, ten times as long as today's eco-bulbs, the LED bulbs do not contain mercury, so disposal is less damaging to the environment, they do not flicker and fully illuminate instantly, unlike the current generation of eco-bulbs.  Read More

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