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Cambridge University

Researchers are working on software that will allow computers to recognize the emotions of...

Binghamton University computer scientist Lijun Yin thinks that using a computer should be a comfortable and intuitive experience, like talking to a friend. As anyone who has ever yelled “Why did you go and do that?” at their PC or Mac will know, however, using a computer is currently sometimes more like talking to an overly-literal government bureaucrat who just doesn’t get you. Thanks to Yin’s work with things like emotion recognition, however, that might be on its way to becoming a thing of the past.  Read More

Scientists have identified the mechanism responsible for driving the internal clock of alm...

A group of Cambridge scientists have successfully identified the mechanism that drives our internal 24-hour clock, or circadian rhythm. It occurs not only in human cells, but has also been found in other life forms such as algae, and has been dated back millions of years. Whilst the research promises a better understanding of the problems associated with shift-work and jet-lag, this mechanism has also been proven to be responsible for sleep patterns, seasonal shifts and even the migration of butterflies.  Read More

A high school physics teacher has invented a method of producing microfluidic devices, usi...

Microfluidic technology, in which liquid is made to pass through “microchannels” that are often less than a millimeter in width, has had a profound effect on fields such as physics, chemistry, engineering and biotechnology. In particular, it has made “lab-on-a-chip” systems possible, in which the chemical contents of tiny amounts of fluid can be analyzed on a small platform. Such devices are typically made in clean rooms, through a process of photolithography and etching. This rather involved production method is reflected in their retail price, which sits around US$500 per device. Now, however, a high school teacher has come up with a way of making microfluidics that involves little else than a photocopier and transparency film.  Read More

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

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