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— Environment

The trees have ears: Automating wildlife detection in the tropics

The tropical ecosystems of Costa Rica and Puerto Rico have ears, and have done for some time. These recording stations were put together with iPods and car batteries which each record 144 60-second recordings every day, and transmit them to a web-enabled base station up to 40 km (25 miles) away. From there they're uploaded to a web app with which biologists train a software algorithm to recognize the chirrups, squeaks and caterwauls of the forest's birds, monkeys, frogs and other fauna. It's all in the name of documenting wildlife, to better understand the effects of deforestation and climate change. And according to scientists at the University of Puerto Rico, it sure beats putting boots on the ground. Read More
— Robotics

Adverts with eyes know when you're watching ... and they're already here

Though facial recognition software has been in our homes for some time (having been a feature in Picasa and iPhoto since 2009), the prospect of being the unwitting subject of similar technology while out and about is an alien one. That could be about to change thanks to the announcement of OptimEyes, a system designed to be fitted to digital advertising hoardings in Europe to gauge just who is paying attention. Read More

Facial blood vessel-scanning could be the next form of biometric ID

We’ve certainly been hearing a lot about facial recognition as a means of identification, although the technology could – conceivably – be thwarted by someone wearing a mask. Now, however, scientists at India’s Jadavpur University are taking a different approach to facial ID. They’ve developed a system that can identify a person based not on the composition of their face, but on the blood vessels within it. Read More
— Spy Gear

SelectaDNA system tags criminals by shooting them with a DNA gun

Imagine that you’re a police officer in the midst of a riot. While you may be able to apprehend the offenders closest to you, you can see plenty of other looters and vandals who you’re just not able to get to at the moment. Well, that’s where SelectaDNA’s High Velocity DNA Tagging System would come into the picture. At the heart of the system is a gun that shoots non-lethal pellets, which contain uniquely-coded synthetic DNA. Read More
— Science

Acoustic barcode system allows scratch and scan data retrieval

For many of us, pointing a device at an object and retrieving data about it has become part of our daily lives. The vast majority of our purchases will sport the ubiquitous barcode; an increasing number of printed magazine adverts, online articles and even television shows are using QR codes for access to more information; and most recently, near field communication technology is opening up new ways to interact with the world around us. A team of researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Heinz College Center for the Future of Work Carnegie Mellon University has been looking into an alternative object tagging system called acoustic barcodes. The system takes the sound of a finger, pen or phone scraping across a series of parallel notches etched, embossed or cut into a surface or object, and converts it into a unique binary ID. Read More
— Science

Discovery of element 113 confirmed nine years after first detection

Led by Dr. Kosuke Morita at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science, a group of scientists specializing in the superheavy elements have established the clearest evidence yet for the synthesis of the a new element with the temporary name of ununtrium (element 113). Claims of discovering a new element in the 21st century are usually the result of lengthy experiments involving new detection methods and element 113, which was first reported in 2003, has been particularly elusive. Read More
— Around The Home

New system uses RFID tech to keep track of your ... socks?

If you’re someone who can afford really fancy socks, then it’s entirely possible that you might not want to “lower” yourself to the act of going into a store to buy them. That’s why Switzerland’s BLACKSOCKS started its Sockscription system, in which users regularly receive premium new Italian socks by mail. It doesn’t stop there, however. The company is now offering Smarter Socks, which communicate with the user’s iPhone to deliver the, um ... ultimate sock-sorting experience. Read More