more top stories »

Carnegie Mellon

— Science

Gamers outshine computers in crowdsourced RNA modeling

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

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

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

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

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
— Automotive

Cadillac SRX converted into a self-driving car

Self-driving cars have been the talk of the automotive industry in recent times, with some major car-makers now setting dates for the debut of these vehicles in the marketplace. The latest glimpse into this autonomous future comes from Carnegie Mellon University, where researchers have loaded a Cadillac SRX with an array of sensors that allow it to manage highway traffic, congested roadways, and even merging on and off ramps. Read More
— 3D Printing

RFID be gone: Why you might soon be 3D printing the Internet of Things

Fundamental to the Internet of Things is the idea that objects must be uniquely identifiable. RFID chips are perfect for assigning objects a digital fingerprint, at least so far as traditional manufacturing goes. But with the rise of 3D printing, incorporating an RFID chip into your object means interrupting the printing process. Now, scientists have come up with a way to 3D print a unique tag, called an InfraStruct, inside the object as it's being printed, and it's made possible by the slowly emerging field of terahertz imaging. Read More
— Robotics

CMU's snake robot explores defunct nuclear power plant

Several snake-like robots have been developed around the world, and while we keep hearing about their potential applications few have managed to slither outside of their research labs. Earlier this year Carnegie Mellon University's Biorobotics Lab put its modular snake robot's practicality to the test in an abandoned nuclear power plant, where it provided clear, well-lit images from the inside of pipes. Read More

Switch Candle: A self-lighting tealight lamp

A naked flame may be dangerous in the wrong hands but it can also be beautiful and calming, a giver of heat and light, and the perfect mood setter for a quiet evening in. Candles offer an easy and relatively safe way of experiencing a continuous naked flame, it's just a shame you have to light them and extinguish them, and that they cannot be dimmed as you would an electric light bulb. Or perhaps they can. Read More