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Duke University

Drones

Shark-detecting drones to keep beachgoers safe

Drones are becoming quite a valuable tool in conservation efforts around the globe. We've seen them used to monitor killer whales, watch over parks in Africa and fend of illegal fisherman in Belize. Now researchers are using the technology to track shark behaviour along coastal waterways, a project that could not only teach us more about the animals and their environments, but one day protect beachgoers, too.Read More

Medical

DNA sequence behind muscle regeneration begins to unravel

Animals that regrow body parts like zebrafish and newts certainly function very differently to the way humans do, but we might one day be able to borrow some of these traits. A closer look at the mechanism driving these remarkable regenerative abilities has suggested that they could be recreated in mice, with the scientists involved hopeful it could ultimately improve our capacity to regrow damaged body parts.Read More

Science

Monkeys master thought-controlled wheelchair

Mind-controlled machines have been the subject of intense research in recent years, with a focus on improving the lives of people with disabilities. At this fascinating juncture between neuroscience and robotics we have seen experimental brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) used to fly drones, control telepresence robots and even switch channels on a TV. Now scientists at Duke University have developed a similar system that enables monkeys to drive a wheelchair using nothing other than brainwaves. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

New test developed to determine your biological age

An international study appears to have created a test that can determine the biological age of a patient's body. The research – undertaken by King's College London (KCL), the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and Duke University in the US – could have a broad range of applications, including improving screening techniques for age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, allowing doctors to begin treatment earlier in the process.Read More

Electronics

Sensor detects sound direction and cuts background noise

Although the ability tends to wane as we get older, the human auditory system is pretty good at filtering out background noise and making a single voice able to be understood above the general hubbub of a crowded room. But electronic devices, such as smartphones, aren't quite as gifted, which is why getting Siri or Google Now to understand you in crowded environments can be an exercise in futility. But now researchers have developed a prototype sensor that’s not only able to figure out the direction of a particular sound, but can also extract it from background noise.

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Medical

Connected brains share control of virtual limbs and predict the weather

If the thought of using a person's brainwaves to control a machine isn't quite enough to make the mind boggle, then mixing signals from multiple brains for the same purpose might just do the job. This far-fetched field of neuroscience is edging ever closer to real-world technology, with a number of recent research efforts achieving significant advances, with mind-controlled drone flight just one example. The latest step forward in this area sees the brains of separate animals hooked up and their combined motor and sensory information used for things like controlling a virtual arm, pattern recognition and even predicting the weather.Read More

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