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University College London

— Science

The M82 supernova is at peak brightness: How to see it

A cloudy night in London led to the discovery of the 21st Century's brightest supernova to date. The new supernova 2014J, the brightest since 1993, is located in the galaxy M82. This Type-Ia supernova has just reached its peak brightness of magnitude 10.6. M82 lies at a distance of only about 12 million light years, which explains the brightness of 2014J in our skies. 2014J is bright enough to be seen in small telescopes or perhaps in (very) large binoculars. We'll tell you how to find it. Read More
— Science

Grad students build nanometer-resolution atomic force microscope using Lego and 3D printing

Scanning atomic force microscopes, first introduced into commerce in 1989, are a powerful tool for nanoscale science and engineering. Capable of seeing individual atoms, commercial AFM prices range between US$10K and $1M, depending on the unit's features and capabilities. During the recent LEGO2NANO summer school held at Tsinghua University in Beijing, a group of Chinese and English students succeeded in making a Lego-based AFM in five days at a cost less than $500. Read More
— Science

Science Museum preserves Shipping Gallery as virtual exhibit

At least one writer at Gizmag was saddened when the Science Museum in London removed its famous Shipping Gallery. Closed in May 2012, the venue of many a childhood rainy Sunday will be replaced by the new Information Age exhibit, which opens in September 2014. However, though the Shipping Gallery is gone, it’s also, paradoxically, still with us. That’s because the Science Museum, with the help of the University College London and ScanLAB, has created a virtual version of the gallery to make the exhibit available to future generations. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

Avatars help schizophrenics gain control of voices in their heads

Imagine if there was a voice in your head that regularly threatened to harm you or your loved ones, or that even ordered you to do so yourself. Awful as that would be, such auditory hallucinations are one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia, with approximately one in four sufferers continuing to experience them even once taking anti-psychotic drugs. Fortunately, scientists have recently helped some schizophrenics gain control of their condition, by turning those voices into interactive avatars. Read More
— Science

Video inpainting software deletes people from HD video footage

In a development sure to send conspiracy theorists into a tizzy, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics (MPII) have developed video inpainting software that can effectively delete people or objects from high-definition footage. The software analyzes each video frame and calculates what pixels should replace a moving area that has been marked for removal. In a world first, the software can compensate for multiple people overlapped by the unwanted element, even if they are walking towards (or away from) the camera. See the incredible video demonstration after the break. Read More
— Science

Making teleportation more energy-efficient

An international team of researchers has achieved an important theoretical result by finding that quantum teleportation – the process of transporting quantum information at the speed of light, which could in theory be used to teleport macroscopic objects and, one day, even humans – can be achieved in a much more energy-efficient way than was previously thought. Read More
— VR

"Beaming" technology allows for remote human/rat communications

Earlier this week, we reported on the “beaming” telepresence system being developed by the EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS). Once developed, the system should allow users to virtually experience being in a remote location by seeing, hearing and even feeling that location through the sensory inputs of a robot located there. That robot, in turn, would relay the user’s speech and movements to the people at that location. Now, two of the CORDIS partners have put an interesting slant on the technology – they’ve used it to let people interact with rats. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Booster Brolly: The solar-powered, signal-boosting umbrella

To really get the most out of the summer you have to head out of the city and into the country. Whether it be for a camping trip or a festival outing, the great outdoors is the best venue for sunnier days. Unfortunately rain can ruin a great day, as can a lack of mobile reception and the inability the charge your mobile phone. Vodafone thinks it has the answer to all three of these problems with the Booster Brolly, a humble umbrella turned all-in-one tool. Read More
— Science

New technique brings computer model of the brain a step closer

"Connectomics" is an area of neuroscience that aims to map the brain's connections, known as synapses, to gain an understanding of how information flows through the circuits of the brain. With an estimated 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain, each connected to thousands of other nerve cells, adding up to an estimated 150 trillion synapses, the creation of such a map is no small task – but a new technique is bringing scientists a step closer to developing a computer model of the brain. Read More
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