Items tagged with Research

A group of French and American scientists publishing in the science journal Nature are reporting success in their attempt to develop software that allows damaged robots to quickly overcome many sustained injuries and continue with their tasks.  A major problem in robotics has long been the inability of the machines to deal with unexpected circumstances, and in the case of damage suffered in the performing of their duties, they will usually just ignore the problem and thus make the it all the worse. Now, though, with inspiration drawn from nature itself, the scientists... Read more...
At this point, the resetting of a mobile phone to a from-the-factory state is something we have all done, perhaps simply to get a fresh start with a device that has become sluggish and over-burdened with years of downloaded flotsam. But more likely, we do it for the purpose of selling the phone or passing it along to a friend or family member. We rely on such a reset to completely wipe the phone of any trace of our having used it, all settings and sensitive data. The results of a study performed in the UK by University of Cambridge researchers entitled Security Analysis of Android... Read more...
Anyone who has driven an Android smartphone any distance whatsoever has no doubt wondered whether any of the apps they use could be serving as information conduits. The relaxed vetting process that the Google Play Store has in place ('relaxed' versus the jailer-esque process in use by those minding Apple's app store) results in their stocking all but the most obviously malicious apps, after all, so a little suspicion in the mix just makes sense. So is this neat new Find Parking app that just asked for location privileges pushing data on my movements into some database somewhere? Will personal... Read more...
Leaving the realm of science fiction behind, the super-fast charging mobile phone is inching its way ever more closer to science-fact. As reported in Stanford Magazine in advance of publication this week in the journal Nature, researchers at Stanford University have developed a high-performance aluminum-ion battery that can recharge in about a minute and do so thousands of times without significant loss of capacity. And along with being faster to charge and more durable, the new battery is also much safer than the lithium-ion batteries so many of us currently carry around these days in the mobile... Read more...
At long last, Pixar has finally made good on a promise they made last year to release Free Non-Commercial RenderMan. The software is a full-feature version of the company's RenderMan software that anyone can install and use for purposes of research, education, evaluation, plug-in development, and personal projects that do not generate a commercial profit. And Free Non-Commercial RenderMan is without limitations, too, such as watermarking, time limits, data volume, or any other such restrictions. Pixar's RenderMan software release features the company's new RIS rendering paradigm,... Read more...
In setting up a new lab, a group of research students at Purdue University were inspired to come up with a way to put the huge amount of packing peanuts they were receiving to good use. At the suggestion of Professor Vilas Pol, the researchers developed a potential new eco-friendly application for rendering the packaging waste into lithium-ion battery anodes.Lithium-ion batteries have two electrodes, a cathode and an anode. The anode harnesses the lithium ions (which are contained in an electrolyte solution) during recharging. Today most lithium-ion battery anodes are made of graphite, however... Read more...
If there's one man who understands all the potential of artificial intelligence, it's Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. You might recall that this past fall, we wrote about one of Musk's comments regarding how future AI developments could lead us to "[summon] the demon". Quite simply, we don't want a "Skynet" to happen. In the 80s, the mere thought of that would have sounded ridiculous, but today? Things have certainly changed.Elon Musk stares at a robot at Tesla'a manufacturing facility in Fremont, California (Source: Steve Jurvetson) Musk is now willing... Read more...
Still find yourself pissed off at Facebook for potentially messing with your head when it experimented on 700,000 users without their consent? Hey, it's all good, brother -- Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer posted a set of new guidelines that will help the world's largest social network do a better job at monkeying around with your brain. Honest. Are you lost? Let's back up a moment. Facebook published a paper this past summer revealing that it ran an "emotional contagion" experiment on hundreds of thousands of Facebook users without their knowledge or consent. In plain English, Facebook altered the... Read more...
As we slowly march towards a future where scenes from Minority Report and Transcendence feel more like reality and less like science fiction, Microsoft Research is unveiling a data-drive crystal ball of sorts. It's a project emerging from the Microsoft Prediction Lab, where laypeople are encouraged to make predictions about upcoming events. The company's calling it a game for now, but the implications are far greater. As of now, the interactive demo highlights the team's pursuit of forecasting technologies; namely, they're looking to intelligently collect data, keep billions of related likelihoods... Read more...
You can't swing a dead cat these days without hitting a research team claiming to have discovered a new technology or ability that will miraculously enhance battery capabilities as soon as a few quick problems are patched up or some niggling cost factors get fixed. The majority of these announcements splash down and vanish, never to be heard from again -- but a team at Stanford is claiming to have pulled off a scientific coup that really would be a quantum leap over existing battery technology -- and they've done it, supposedly, by solving a very old problem. Right now, the batteries we refer to... Read more...
Here’s an interesting psychological factoid: Emotional states can be transferred to other people via text-based messages on social media, such as Facebook. That means that if, for instance, you view a bunch of sad posts, you’re more likely to pen a sad post yourself shortly thereafter even though you don’t realize that the sad posts made you sad. Here’s another even more interesting but more disconcerting factoid: Researchers figured that out by running experiments. On Facebook. Without your knowledge or consent. Here’s a snippet from the “Significance”... Read more...
You may not typically associate cutting-edge science and motion research with the company responsible for creating the most famous mouse couple in the world, but Disney Research has a tendency to shine on the technology front every now and again. Recently, the arm published a video detailing a new interactive, tactile experience in free air. The project is being titled Aireal, and it's described as a "new low cost, highly scalable haptic technology that delivers expressive tactile sensations in mid air." Essentially, it enables users to feel virtual objects, experience dynamically varying textures... Read more...
Guess what? Mobile is overtaking desktop, and it's happening at a breakneck rate. In fact, some analysts are wondering if the generation born today will ever know a "computer" to be anything other than something held in one's palm, which probably sends chills down the spines of those who are still cranking out desktop towers. Gartner's latest research report predicts that the "traditional PC market" will shrink 7.6% in the coming year, citing a change in behavior as consumers flock to tablets, phones, and other ultra-portable devices. Worldwide devices (the combined shipments of PCs, tablets and... Read more...
Few things are more impressive than gigabit Internet speeds, electric vehicles that can run 100 miles on a charge, and GPUs that cost over a grand. But we're pretty sure a 5-foot robotic jellyfish counts as one of those things. Presently, a multi-school project for the American Navy is ongoing, and it's being headed up by Virginia Tech professor Shashank Priya. The topic of conversation is a robotic jellyfish that could one day "conduct military surveillance, clean oil spills and monitor the environment." And terrify all who dare enter the ocean, of course. The creature is being built to operate... Read more...
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