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Cornell University

A survey conducted by astronomers at Cornell University has taken into account the characteristics of 637 known exoplanets and elaborated a Biological Complexity Index (BCI) to assess the relative probability of finding complex life on them. Their data supports the view that as many as one hundred million planets scattered around the Milky Way, and perhaps more, could support life beyond the microbial stage. Read More
Some take their air guitar playing more seriously than others, but even for those exerting the most energy, those perfectly struck imaginary chords are heard by nobody's ears except their own. Aura, an electronic instrument that translates hand gestures into music, could be just what these highly animated faux musicians need to get a little more reward for their efforts. Read More
Back in 2010, we first heard about a clever device known as the robotic universal jamming gripper. With its business end composed of a party balloon filled with coffee grounds, it could form a secure grip around objects of varying sizes and shapes. Now, that device has been commercialized – although incorporating higher-tech materials than balloons and coffee. Read More
Rather than buy a replacement part from a local hardware store, 3D printing offers up the opportunity to produce what you need at home, when you need it. But what if you have to replace a whole unit? If a project from Cornell University's Creative Machines Lab is any indication, such things may soon be possible. A research team has managed to 3D print the cone, coil and magnet of a loudspeaker, and then use it to throw out sounds from a digital audio player. Read More
Although a lot of people are concerned about monitoring their cholesterol levels, probably not many of those people want to head off to a clinic or use an expensive, complicated device to get those levels tested every few days. Soon, however, they may not have to. Scientists from Cornell University have developed a gadget called the smartCARD, that allows users to easily check their own cholesterol using their iPhone. Read More
If you were buying a kitchen knife in a supermarket, you wouldn't expect the cashier to swing it dangerously close to you as they were ringing it up. If that cashier were a robot, though, it wouldn't know any better – unless it had been taught otherwise. That's just what engineers at Cornell University have done, using a unique new technique. Read More
Whether you're growing wine grapes or mixing cement, there are some situations in which it's vitally important to monitor moisture content. Normally water sensors are used, although these can be both large and expensive. Now, however, a team from Cornell University has created a water-sensing silicon chip that's not only tiny, but is also reportedly "a hundred times more sensitive than current devices." What's more, the chips might be possible to mass-produce for just $5 a pop. Read More
In 2012, a one-molecule thick layer of silica glass was accidently made in the laboratory of Cornell professor David Muller, allowing the atoms in a glass to be seen individually for the first time. Now, Guinness World Records has identified this ultimately thin glass as a 2014 World Record. Read More
Detecting bombs in places such as airports could be getting easier, thanks to a new fluorescing polymer. While you might expect the material to glow in the presence of explosives, they actually cause it to stop glowing. Read More
What’s better than as robot bartender that can pour you a beer? How about a robot waiter that can see you need a refill and comes over to pour you another one. Hema S. Koppula, a Cornell graduate student in computer science, and Ashutosh Saxena, an assistant professor of computer science are working at Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab on just such a robot. Using a PR-2 robot, they've programmed it to not only carry out everyday tasks, but to anticipate human behavior and adjust its actions. Read More