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Sensory

— Mobile Technology

Tactonics wants to put feeling into text messages

By - February 10, 2015 1 Picture
Hoping to bring back a bit of the personal touch to today's cold, impersonal digital communications, New Jersey-based startup Tactonics thinks the world might just get hooked on Tact messaging. With about the same effort it takes to send an emotionless, poorly spelled text message, you could send your loved ones a more heartfelt, meaningful "sensory message" that is intended to let them get in touch with your feelings. Read More
— Electronics

Skin-applied foil could give people a sense of "magnetoception"

By - February 3, 2015 4 Pictures
How would you like to be able to sense magnetic fields? It could come in handy, given that some animals navigate and maintain their spatial orientation by doing so. Well, we've now come one step closer to humans having that ability, too. Scientists from Germany's Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, along with colleagues from the University of Tokyo and Osaka University, have developed a thin, flexible magnetoresistive sensory foil that can be applied to a person's own natural skin. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Float helps you unwind in water without an isolation tank

By - July 3, 2014 7 Pictures
In an increasingly busy and relentless world where information is flowing all around us, it's more important than ever to switch off once in a while. There are many ways to relax, but floating in water is one of the best ways of completely and utterly drifting away. Which is where Float – designed to make floating in water a more pleasurable experience – could prove useful. Read More
— Electronics

Sensabubble notifies you with bubble-borne lights, text, and smells

By - April 25, 2014 3 Pictures
Rating as probably one of the stranger human-computer interfaces we’ve seen, the Sensabubble allows users to receive alerts and feedback from their connected devices in the form of images, text, and smell – all encased in and projected on smoke-filled bubbles. Popping away annoying alerts is viscerally more satisfying than swiping them off, but this isn’t a toy. It's part of research being presented at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems by researchers from the University of Bristol. Read More
— Robotics

Robot thinks like a bee, to learn from what it sees

By - February 10, 2014 3 Pictures
Because of bees' small size, maneuverability and almost machine-like swarm mentality, it shouldn't come as a surprise that scientists are developing tiny flying robots based on the insects. In order to navigate autonomously, however, those robots' artificial bee brains will have to be capable of identifying objects in their environment, and reacting accordingly. Well, thanks to research recently conducted in Berlin, they may soon be able to do so. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Scientists replace amputee's hand ... along with its sense of touch

By - February 10, 2014 13 Pictures
A man who lost his left hand in an accident nine years ago has had his sense of touch restored using a prosthetic hand surgically wired to nerves in his upper arm. During the trial Dennis Aabo Sørensen was able to grasp objects, detect the strength of grip, distinguish shape and identify objects by touch while blindfolded. The work was carried out by scientists from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA). Read More
— Science

A good book can change your life ... and your brain

By - January 5, 2014 2 Pictures
Stories, whether fact or fiction, are at the heart of human culture. A strong narrative can resonate with your personality and experiences, and help set a framework for your future. "That book changed my life" is a cherished maxim. So can a book change your brain too? A recent study led by Emory University's Gregory Berns has demonstrated that reading a novel produces physical changes in the brain similar to those that would result from living as one or more of the characters. Read More
— Electronics

Computer rendering of taste is on the tip of the tongue

By - November 28, 2013 8 Pictures
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a holiday in which we celebrate the blessings granted by Life, the Universe, and Everything. A central part of Thanksgiving traditions involves a massive feast, often featuring turkey or ham, and a selection of delicious side dishes. It may soon be possible to virtually experience such a repast as enjoyed by a character in a movie or a video game, aided by a new method for digitally actuating the sense of taste through electrical and thermal stimulation of the tongue. Read More
— Science

Experimental brain implants pave way for touch-simulating prosthetics

By - October 16, 2013 1 Picture
It's something most of us take for granted, but our sense of touch is every bit as useful to us as our sight and hearing. Though it seems simple, picking up and holding an object requires nearly instantaneous sensation in the parts of our hands and fingers in contact with the desired object, as well as a sense of the pressure we're applying. Many experimental efforts to simulate a sense of touch in amputees fitted with prosthetics require the subject to learn new associations between touching an object and some abstract sensation. But new research at the University of Chicago suggests that it is possible to map the individual finger pads of a prosthetic hand to the corresponding parts of the brain. In other words, prosthetic hands which offer a realistic sense of touch may theoretically be possible. Read More
— Science

Scientists read peoples' brains to identify letters

By - August 21, 2013 1 Picture
If someone were looking at a letter of the alphabet that was blocked from your view, would you be able to accurately guess what that letter was? Well, if you were at Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands, you might not have to guess or call in a psychic. Scientists there have used an MRI scanner and a mathematical model to read observed letters, right out of test subjects’ brains. Read More
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