Duke University


Bespoke processor gives robot movement a speed boost

In structured environments, such as on manufacturing lines, robots are able to carry out pre-planned movements much faster than humans, but in unfamiliar environments it takes a lot of time for robots to plan movements that humans make almost without thinking. To give robots a speed boost, engineers at Duke University have developed a new processor that enables robots to perform motion planning 10,000 times faster than conventional methods.Read More


Window in mouse shows its "gut feelings"

You've no doubt been urged to "go with your gut" when facing a tricky decision that you just can't seem to think your way through. It turns out, the gut can indeed act as something of a second brain, as it contains five times more neurons than the spinal cord. Despite this cache of neurological activity, the gut's nervous system has not been extensively observed. To fix that, a Duke University researcher did the logical thing – inserted a window in a mouse's abdomen so he could watch.Read More


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


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


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


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