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University

— Robotics

Snackbot serves up some human-robot interaction... and snacks

By - February 25, 2010 1 Picture
If you’re a student at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) who is left gasping for breath when forced to drag yourself away from your studies to get a snack, rejoice! A CMU team has created a robot that is designed to deliver snacks to you. But the appropriately named Snackbot is far more than a vending machine on wheels. It is designed to serve as a research platform for the study of long-term Human-Robot Interaction and packs a healthy helping of technological goodies, including a laser navigation system, sonar sensors and a stereo vision camera for eyes. Read More
— Science

Scientists create sensors for subs based on fish anatomy

By - February 10, 2010 6 Pictures
When you think about it, fish can do some pretty remarkable things. They can find prey in murky water, travel in tightly-packed schools without colliding, they always know what depth they’re at, and they manage to avoid being swept away by invisible underwater currents. They’re able to do all of these things and more thanks to their lateral lines - rows of tiny hair cell clusters that run down each side of their bodies. These clusters, known as neuromasts, pick up on changes in water pressure and transmit that information to the brain. Now, researchers in Illinois have created an artificial lateral line, that could someday be used to keep man-made submersibles out of harm’s way. Read More
— Games

The board game V2.0

By - January 28, 2010 4 Pictures
Board games aren’t necessarily bound to become obsolete - at least, not if researchers at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada have anything to say about it. They will change, however. Queen’s Human Media Lab (HML) recently unveiled a prototype board game that uses traditional flat cardboard tiles (i.e: cards), but the images on those tiles are projected onto them by an overlooking digital projector. The images stay on the tiles as they’re moved around by the players, courtesy of an overlooking camera that tracks their movements. This means that the tiles could display moving video, that their display could change entirely depending on what’s happening in the game, or that it could be customized by the players. Monopoly night may never be the same. Read More
— Good Thinking

The SEED Project - from unused shipping container to sustainable emergency housing

By - January 19, 2010 4 Pictures
Aside from tragic loss of life and incomprehensible destruction, events like last week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti create a myriad of problems in their wake, not least of which is homelessness. With over 30 million shipping containers the world over currently lying dormant, a team of researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina are working to help solve the issue of accommodation in disaster affected areas by developing a method to convert the unused containers into sustainable emergency housing. Read More
— Medical

3D cryo-imager can identify a single cancer cell

By - October 1, 2009 2 Pictures
Recent developments in the fight against cancer have promised better ways to both identify and treat the disease. Adding to the ever growing list of advancements is Dave Wilson, a Professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Frustrated by blurry low resolution optical images of diseased tissues, he has developed a cryo-imaging system which can identify and pinpoint the exact location and number of cancer cells in a particular area while displaying the findings as a detailed three dimensional color cyber model. Read More
— Electronics

Algae used to create a quick-charge, lightweight battery

By - September 13, 2009 2 Pictures
Algae blooms are unpleasant and unpredictable phenomena that arise quickly and strike seas and oceans, often causing serious problems to local ecosystems. But, in an effort to try and find a use for such algae, a research team from Uppsala University, Sweden, has recently managed to design a record-breaking "green" lightweight battery that is incredibly easy to produce and might just even out the environmental consequences of these blooms. Read More
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