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Harvard

Science

Harvard scientists develop a transistor that learns

In a development that may enable a wholly new approach to artificial intelligence, researchers at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have invented a type of transistor that can learn in ways similar to a neural synapse. Called a synaptic transistor, the new device self-optimizes its properties for the functions it has carried out in the past. Read More

Science

Researchers build an audio speaker out of stretchy transparent gel

Audio speakers are showing up in a variety of unusual forms these days, from the incredibly tiny to the eye-catchingly bizarre, but a research group at Harvard University may have trumped them all with a new one that's as clear as glass. Scientists at the college's Engineering and Applied Sciences branch recently built a flexible speaker out of ionic gel that is almost invisible to the naked eye and can produce high-quality sound ranging across the full audible spectrum. In doing so, they also provided a proof of concept for electronics that can transfer electric signals in a similar manner to the human nervous system. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

One more use for the iPhone – eye exams

Given that iPhones can already be used to perform skin exams, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that they're now able to do eye exams, too. Researchers from Harvard Medical School's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have devised a way of using the phones to perform fundus photography, which is the photographing of the retina. While the iPhone just requires an app and a lens to perform the task, a complete fundus camera can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Read More

Digital Cameras

New technique creates 3D images through a single lens

A team at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has come up with a promising new way to create 3D images from a stationary camera or microscope with a single lens. Rather than expensive hardware, the technique uses a mathematical model to generate images with depth and could find use in a wide range of applications, from creating more compelling microscopy imaging to a more immersive experience in movie theaters.Read More

Military Feature

Nukes, kids and the Cold War: In conversation with the creator of Nukemap3D

Feeling cheerful? Why not remedy that by going online and seeing what would happen if someone dropped an H-bomb on your hometown? The browser-based Nukemap3D uses a Google Earth plug in to produce a 3D graphic of the effects of a nuclear weapon on your city of choice. All you have to do is pick your target, select your favorite thermonuclear device, and you can see an animated mushroom cloud rising over ground zero. Gizmag caught up with the creator, Dr. Alex Wellerstein, to talk about Nukemap3D.Read More

Science

Know when to fold 'em: Advances in self-assembly techniques

Sure, flat-pack furniture is inexpensive and easy to transport, but when you open the box the first question almost everyone asks is, “Wouldn't it be great if it would assemble itself?” You could get a robot to help, but engineers at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory are working on ways to get objects to assemble themselves ... and they might give 3D printing a run for its money at the same time.Read More

Science

Soft exosuit offers an alternative to rigid exoskeletons

Powered exoskeletons show great promise both for augmenting the abilities of able-bodied users, and for rehabilitating the disabled. That said, they also tend to be hard-bodied contraptions that don’t look particularly comfortable (or light) to wear. Researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute recently demonstrated what they hope will be a more user-friendly alternative – a “soft exosuit.” Read More
3D Printing

Scientists create lithium-ion batteries the size of a grain of sand

While we’re currently witnessing the rise of tiny electronic devices such as biosensors, many of those devices do have one limiting factor – they still require not-so-tiny batteries, which ends up somewhat defeating the whole miniaturization process. Although some devices can get their power from external sources, scientists from Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with an alternative ... functional 3D-printed lithium-ion batteries no larger than a grain of sand. Read More

Robotics

Harvard's insect-sized HAMR robots bug out

Though there's much work to be done before miniature robots move exactly like insects, Harvard Microrobotics Lab is making strides with its latest prototypes. It recently demonstrated the Harvard Ambulatory MicroRobot (HAMR), a 4.4 cm quadruped that scurries around at up to 8.4 body lengths per second.Read More

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