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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

— Wearable Electronics

Solar Soldier system to take the weight off infantry soldiers

By - March 15, 2011 4 Pictures
If you’ve ever removed the battery from a laptop, then you will know that it constitutes quite a large percentage of the total weight of the computer. Well, if you think you’ve got it tough lugging that laptop battery around, consider the plight of infantry soldiers – they have to carry multiple batteries to power devices such as weapons, radios, and GPS equipment, and they have to do so for hours at a time, often under very harsh conditions. Attempts to lighten the 45 to 70 kg (99 to 154 lb) loads typically carried by soldiers currently include the use of fuel cells, li-ion batteries woven into their clothing, and autonomous pack horse-like vehicles. Now, UK researchers are adding their two pence-worth, by developing wearable solar and thermoelectric power systems. Read More
— Science

A new dimension for mathematics – the Periodic Table of shapes

By - February 16, 2011 1 Picture
Mathematicians are creating their own version of the periodic table that will provide a vast directory of all the possible shapes in the universe across three, four and five dimensions, linking shapes together in the same way as the periodic table links groups of chemical elements. The three-year project, announced today, should provide a resource that mathematicians, physicists and other scientists can use for calculations and research in a range of areas, including computer vision, number theory, and theoretical physics. For some mental exercise, check out these animations that have already been analyzed in the project. Read More
— Good Thinking

New acoustic early warning system for landslides developed

By - October 22, 2010 2 Pictures
People living in landslide-prone areas will be glad to know that a new technology has been developed which monitors soil acoustics to determine when a landslide is imminent. The system consists of a network of sensors, buried across a hillside considered a risk. As soil moves within the hillside, it creates noise – the more the amount of movement, the louder the noise. When that noise reaches a threshold level, the system sends a text message warning to local authorities, that a landslide is about to occur. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Wii-like boxing game designed to get pub-goers active

By - September 20, 2010 1 Picture
The local pub might not seem like the most obvious location to try and improve the health of middle-aged men but that’s just the task researchers in the U.K. have set themselves. In a novel approach to get unfit men active, the researchers have devised an ‘exergaming’ system targeted at sedentary middle-aged men on Teesside in the North East of England. The plan is to put the system into workingmen’s clubs and get the men to take part in virtual boxing matches with a computer-generated opponent. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

'Prescribed music' could ease pain or depression

By - September 13, 2010 5 Pictures
Whether you're chilling out to some smooth jazz, venting a spleen with the help of hard rock or jumping for joy to the latest in bubblegum pop – there always seems to be a song or an album that suits whatever mood you happen to be in. A research project at Glasgow Caledonian University is currently taking a close look at why a certain piece of music evokes a particular emotive response. It is hoped that the research may lead to music being used to bring folks out of a depression or even help with pain management. Read More
— Medical

Compostable plastics breakthrough sounds sweet

By - February 18, 2010 2 Pictures
Traditional environmental enemies food packaging and other disposable plastic items could soon be composted at home along with organic waste and not collected for landfill thanks to a new sugar-based polymer being developed at Imperial College London. The degradable polymer is made from sugars known as lignocellulosic biomass, which come from non-food crops like fast-growing trees and grasses, or renewable biomass from agricultural or food waste. Read More
— Medical

Portable magnetometer to get to the heart of the matter

By - January 30, 2010 1 Picture
A portable magnetometer being developed at the University of Leeds could dramatically simplify and improve the process of diagnosing heart conditions. Its creators say its unprecedented sensitivity to magnetic fluctuations will allow the innovative cardiac scanner to detect a number of conditions, including heart problems in fetuses, earlier than currently available diagnostic techniques such as ultrasound, ECG (electrocardiogram) and existing cardiac magnetometers. It will also be smaller, simpler to operate, able to gather more information and significantly cheaper than other devices currently available. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Smarter CCTV system to be used to recognize and prevent crime

By - September 29, 2009 1 Picture
The negative impact surrounding terrorism, crime and anti-social behavior has resulted in an escalation in the amount of remote surveillance undertaken around the world, but especially in the UK, which, according to the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), has deployed more than 4 million CCTV cameras. Putting aside privacy issues for another article, the increase in CCTV usage has had very little success in preventing crime. The main problem seems to lie in the amount of video captured versus the amount that can be viewed and interpreted by trained staff. To overcome these shortcomings, UK researchers are investigating the use of computer technology that recognizes suspicious behavior in live Internet-enabled CCTV feeds from buses and trains, allowing control room staff to intervene and protect drivers and passengers from assaults, thefts and other incidents. Read More
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