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University of Maryland


— Robotics

Robot learns to cook by watching YouTube

Cooking, they say, is as much an art as a science, so it's no surprise that robots have a difficult time in the kitchen. Perhaps one day robot chefs will be as commonplace as blenders, but they will still need to learn their job. To help them, scientists at the University of Maryland and NICTA, Australia are working on ways for robots to learn how to cook by watching YouTube videos. Read More
— Space

NASA probe will reveal 3D architecture of forests from space

NASA is developing a laser-based instrument for deployment on the International Space Station that will probe the depths of Earth's forests from space in a bid to reveal more about their role in the planet's carbon cycle. After its completion in 2018, this Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) lidar will join the likes of the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite in studying Earth's vegetation on a global scale. Read More
— Environment

New platform tracks deforestation in near real time

According to World Wildlife Fund data, we are losing 12 to 15 million hectares (46,332 to 57,915 square miles) of the world's forests every year. Deforestation is a major contributor to climate change, as it accounts for 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, besides killing biodiversity, depleting natural resources, compromising water sources, causing soil erosion and other environmental problems. Efforts to fight deforestation require fast information that could help authorities and NGOs take action before the worst damage is done. Global Forest Watch is a new initiative offering the possibility to do just that. It monitors deforestation activity across the globe, in near real time. Read More
— Electronics

DOD pushes development of cheap, portable brain-reading device

Innovation is all about putting on the proverbial thinking cap. Now engineers are vying to produce an actual thinking cap – at least one that can measure the most rudimentary signals of thought. The US Department of Defense is pushing for the development of cheap, wearable systems that can detect the brain waves of people and display the data on smartphones or tablets. Read More
— Space

Scientists claim that Voyager 1 left the Solar System last year

Sometimes it seems as though the Voyager 1 space probe is like a dog that can’t decide if it wants to be inside or out. A team of scientists led by the University of Maryland claim that the Voyager 1 space probe, which is now 11 billion miles (18 billion km) from Earth left the Solar System’s boundary last year and is not, as NASA claims, passing through a transition zone. The controversial theory is based on models of the solar magnetic field on the edge of the system and how it interacts with interstellar space. Read More
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