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University of Chicago


— Music

Study suggests adults can be trained to develop "perfect pitch"

By - May 29, 2015 1 Picture

Music gets so much easier when you instinctively know all the notes. But being able to reliably identify or reproduce a pitch without error is rare. If you're not born with perfect pitch, prior studies suggest, your only hope of getting it is to receive musical training at a critical period in your childhood. New research at the University of Chicago suggests otherwise, however. Perfect pitch might be attainable well into adulthood.

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— Science

What's in a name? Earth's most abundant mineral finally gets one

By - December 17, 2014 1 Picture
When a mineral is the most abundant on the planet, (making up an estimated 38 percent of the Earth's entire volume, in fact), you would think that someone would have given it a name by now. But things are never as simple as they seem. Despite being so prevalent, the substance in question has only ever existed in synthetic form until recently, and the first naturally-occurring example of it didn't even come from beneath the ground; it arrived from outer space. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Gut bacteria discovery could lead to probiotic therapy for food allergies

By - August 31, 2014 1 Picture
As someone who almost shuffled off this mortal coil after downing a satay, I'm always hopeful when potential breakthroughs for the treatment of food allergies arise. The latest cause for hope, which could one day let food allergy sufferers order in restaurants without worrying about potentially life-threatening ingredients hidden within, comes from scientists at the University of Chicago Medicine, who have found that a common gut bacteria protects against food allergies in mice. 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
— Health and Wellbeing

Insulin “docking“ breakthrough could lead to better diabetes treatments

By - January 9, 2013 2 Pictures
Despite decades of study, scientists remained unsure as to how insulin binds to the insulin receptor on the surface of cells to allow them to take up sugar from the blood and transform it into energy. Now, a definitive answer has now been found with a team of scientists capturing the first three-dimensional images of insulin “docking” to its receptor. It is hoped that the new knowledge can be exploited to develop new and improved insulin medications to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Read More
— Robotics

Robotic universal jamming gripper gets “shooting” capabilities

By - February 16, 2012 8 Pictures
Last year we looked at a universal robotic gripper, which was made by filling an elastic membrane with coffee grounds. The versatile gripper, which is attached to a robotic arm, was able to pick up a wide variety of objects, including a coin or raw egg, which are notoriously difficult for robotic grippers modeled after the human hand to deal with. Now the universal jamming gripper's developers have given it the ability to "shoot" objects some distance, which could enable it to sort objects into different bins, dispose of trash, or maybe even try out for the NBA. Read More
— Science

Assyrian Dictionary Project completed after ninety years

By - June 14, 2011 3 Pictures
If you come across a word or phrase in another language, a printed or online dictionary is usually a good place to look for help. If you're faced with a language that's long been dead, however, then you've got problems. Those studying the cuneiform texts of Mesopotamian clay tablets or stone carvings now have reason to rejoice. After nine decades, the University of Chicago's Assyrian Dictionary Project has finally been completed - opening an encyclopedic window into the day to day lives of people from one of the world's first civilizations. Read More
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