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— Science

Autonomous boats get disguised as crocodiles and used to study hippo poop

By - May 23, 2014 3 Pictures
Although hippos may look slow and docile, they're actually very aggressive, killing more people every year than any other large African animal. So, it would follow that you wouldn't want to swim anywhere near them. That's why when researchers from Yale University and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies wanted to study the effects of hippo dung on water quality in Kenya's Mara River, they sent in three autonomous air boats instead of people. To help those boats blend in, they were dressed up as crocodiles. Read More
— Electronics

"Felting printer" creates soft 3D-printed teddy bears

By - April 28, 2014 2 Pictures
Ask someone to think of a 3D-printed object, and chances are they'll picture something hard ... or perhaps rubbery. Thanks to new technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh, however, it's now possible to make soft and fuzzy 3D-printed items, using yarn instead of plastic or resin. Among the first items to be created were little felt teddy bears. Read More
— Science

Reusable gecko-inspired adhesive tape shrugs off the "dirt"

By - February 20, 2014 2 Pictures
Geckos' feet are right up there with adhesive tape, when it comes to being able to stick to things. Unlike tape, however, those feet retain their adhesive qualities even after many, many uses. Now, thanks to research being conducted at Carnegie Mellon University and Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, we may one day be using self-cleaning reusable gecko-inspired tape. Read More
— Science

Gamers outshine computers in crowdsourced RNA modeling

By - January 28, 2014 2 Pictures
Results from the crowdsourced game and experiment, EteRNA, which combines RNA folding puzzles with laboratory synthesis, show that human gamers are able to develop better models of RNA folding than previous computer algorithms. Design rules formulated by the online community have even been used to construct a new algorithm, EteRNABot, and in some cases represent completely new understandings about RNA folding that have yet to be explained mechanically. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Soft pneumatic exoskeleton could be perfect for use in rehab

By - January 21, 2014 1 Picture
We've recently been hearing a lot about how exoskeletons can be used in rehabilitation, guiding patients' disabled limbs through a normal range of motion in order to develop muscle memory. The problem is, most exoskeletons are rigid, limiting their degrees of freedom to less than those of the body part they're moving. A team of scientists are looking at changing that, with a partial "soft exoskeleton" that replicates the body's own muscles, tendons and ligaments. Read More
— Electronics

DOD pushes development of cheap, portable brain-reading device

By - October 10, 2013 2 Pictures
Innovation is all about putting on the proverbial thinking cap. Now engineers are vying to produce an actual thinking cap – at least one that can measure the most rudimentary signals of thought. The US Department of Defense is pushing for the development of cheap, wearable systems that can detect the brain waves of people and display the data on smartphones or tablets. Read More
— Electronics

Paper Generators bring a spark of new life to the printed page

By - October 10, 2013 7 Pictures
Disney Research, Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University have released details of another one of their collaborative projects, this one involving thin, flexible generators that can be built into paper items such as the pages of a book. By simply rubbing or tapping one of these pages, users can illuminate LEDs, prompt applications on linked computers, or even activate e-ink displays – no batteries or outlets required. Read More
— Games

Super-precise motion tracking system uses projected "barcode" light patterns

By - October 8, 2013 5 Pictures
Motion-tracking systems like Wii and Kinect have certainly changed the way we play video games – among other things – but some people still complain that there's too much of a lag between real-world player movements and the corresponding in-game movements of the characters. The creators of the experimental Lumitrack system, however, claim that it has much less lag time than existing systems ... plus it's highly accurate and should be cheap to commercialize. Read More
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