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— Science

MIT investigating ways to combat boredom in drone pilots

By - November 18, 2012 4 Pictures
The saying that "war is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror” could have been written for military UAV pilots. The news media like to portray drones like the MQ-1 Predator as robot warriors, but behind each one is a human pilot with only limited powers of endurance. On long missions, pilots get bored and distracted, so a team from MIT’s Human and Automaton’s Lab is studying how what can be done to stave off boredom and keep pilots alert. Read More
— Inventors and Remarkable People Feature

The Economist reveals its 2012 Innovation Awards winners

The Economist magazine announced the winners of its 2012 Innovation Awards on Thursday evening. Selected from fields as diverse as bioscience, telecommunications, energy and aerospace, the winners were selected by a panel of judges, comprised largely of previous award winners. As diverse as they were, those awarded did share one particular trait: far from being pie-in-the-sky ideas, their innovations were all proven technologies. Gizmag attended the awards ceremony at BAFTA in London to get the lowdown on the event. Read More
— Science

MIT breakthrough could lead to paper-thin bullet-proof armor

By - November 12, 2012 2 Pictures
Scientists have theorized that paper-thin composite nanomaterials could stop bullets just as effectively as heavy weight body armor, but progress has been hampered by their inability to reliably test such materials against projectile impacts. Researchers at MIT and Rice University have developed a breakthrough stress-test that fires microscopic glass beads at impact-absorbing material. Although the projectiles are much smaller than a bullet, the experimental results could be scaled up to predict how the material would stand up to larger impacts. Read More
— Electronics

Ear-powered medical devices in development

By - November 7, 2012 2 Pictures
Our ears work by converting the vibrations of the eardrum into electrochemical signals that can be interpreted by the brain. The current for those signals is supplied by an ion-filled chamber deep within the inner ear – it’s essentially a natural battery. Scientists are now looking at using that battery to power devices that could be implanted in the ear, without affecting the recipient’s hearing. Read More
— Medical

MIT researchers develop painless medical tape for newborns

By - October 31, 2012 1 Picture
Pulling off a finger plaster is one of life’s little trials that can reveal a lot about a person. Do it fast or do it slow, it still hurts like heck and there’s no pretending that it didn't. For an adult, it’s an instant of pain, but for a newborn it can mean injury or even permanent scarring. In order to prevent this, a team of researchers are developing a new medical tape that can be pulled off safely without tearing delicate infant skin. Read More
— Games

MIT releases time-bending, relativistic clusterfuddle of a game

By - October 30, 2012 7 Pictures
A bite-sized computer game exploring the effects of Einstein's special theory of relativity is the first output from the MIT Game Lab made available online. In A Slower Speed of Light, the player navigates a seemingly rudimentary 3D environment with the goal of collecting 100 orbs. Thing is, each orb slows down the speed of light until, by the 90th or so orb, it has slowed almost to walking pace. The slower light travels, the trippier the effects, and the more taxing the game becomes. Read More
— Space

Deflecting asteroids with paint balls

By - October 27, 2012 3 Pictures
How do you deflect a civilization-destroying asteroid that's heading straight for Earth? Shoot paintballs at it. This may sound like an exercise in futility, but if the calculations of MIT graduate student Sung Wook Paek are correct, then the sport of running around in the woods shooting splotches of paint at people on the weekends could get a lot more respect. Read More
— Science

Carbon nanotube pencil leads used for drawing sensors onto paper

By - October 10, 2012 1 Picture
We’ve already seen a pen with silver-based ink, that lets its user draw electrical circuits on ordinary paper. Now, scientists from MIT have brought similar “hands on” technology to the humble pencil – they’ve compressed carbon nanotubes together to form a pencil lead substitute, that has been used to draw gas sensors onto regular paper imprinted with gold electrodes. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

"Like-A-Hug" concept makes Facebook warm and cuddly

By - October 8, 2012 1 Picture
The internet allows us to communicate more easily than ever, but however many Facebook friends you have, there’s no substitute for a real hug – or at least there wasn’t until recently. Like-A-Hug is a concept social media vest which reacts to Facebook "likes" and posts on your wall, inflating to give you a “hug” on every such interaction. Wearers of the vest can embrace themselves in order to cause another person sporting a Like-A-Hug vest to get a hug, too. Read More
— Space

The Last Pictures project sending gold-plated time capsule into orbit

By - October 5, 2012 11 Pictures
When the EchoStar XVI television satellite lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome later this year, it will be carrying a message to the future designed to last billions of years. As it swings in geosynchronous orbit 35,786 kilometers (22,236 mi) above our planet, it will have a gold-plated silicon disc bolted to it, nano-etched with 100 black-and-white images depicting life on Earth. Read More
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