Items tagged with Research

Before the advent of smartphones and tablets, using the bathroom meant getting cozy with a paper magazine, newspaper, or heck even a shampoo bottle to pass the time. Now it's Angry Birds and scrolling through Facebook. It should come as no surprise, then, that your smartphone may be contaminated with fecal matter. As gross as that sounds, a new study for Global Handwashing Day (which is apparently thing) found that one in six smartphones are contaminated in such a manner. "This study provides more evidence that some people still don't wash their hands properly, especially after going to the toilet. I hope the thought of having E. coli on their hands and phones encourages them to take more care... Read more...
Researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands have announced a flaw that affects some SSDs that feature hardware-based security; the flaw could allow an attacker to completely bypass disk encryption. Bypassing the encryption would give the hackers full access to the local data without having to know the password for the disk. The researchers are clear that the flaw only affects certain SSD models that have hardware-based encryption. SSDs with hardware-based encryption have specific chips inside that handle the task of encrypting and decrypting data. The vulnerabilities that researchers Carlo Meijer and Bernard van Gastel found are in the firmware of the SSDs. The duo says that the... Read more...
Researchers have created a new device for smartphones called MobiLimb; it's a robotic appendage that is used to augment the mobile device. MobiLimb connects to the charge port on the bottom of a smartphone and adds a small finger-like limb with 5-degrees-of-freedom. The team behind MobiLimb believes it can overcome some of the static, passive, and motionless limitations of mobile devices. The robotic limb preserves the device form factor in how it attaches and the I/O capabilities of the device. One important fact about MobiLimb is that it isn’t limited to the common vibration feedback devices already offer; it directly touches the user. MobiLimb can react expressively to a user's actions... Read more...
Engineers and researchers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to find problems inside the human body that allow doctors to determine what's going on internally without having to resort to cutting. A team from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) led by Professor Dina Katabi is working on a new wireless system that the team likens to an in-body GPS system called ReMix. The system is designed specifically to locate ingestible implants inside the body using a low-power wireless signal from outside the body. MIT Prof. Dina Katabi The idea is that the ReMix wireless system could allow medical personnel to determine the exact location of ingestible implants... Read more...
MIT has created a new AI that we sincerely hope never escapes into the wild because this IS how you get Skynet. This AI is called Norman and it is a psychopath. How did Norman turn into a psycho? All the image data MIT fed Norman came from what it calls "an infamous subreddit" that the researchers refuse to name specifically due to its graphic content. However, the team does say that this subreddit is "dedicated to documenting and observing the disturbing reality of death." The goal with Norman was to prove that when people say that an AI can be biased and unfair, the fault isn't the algorithm but the biased data that the algorithm consumes. When an AI algorithm is trained as Norman was, it sees... Read more...
A group of researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a new battery breakthrough that could have a big impact on runtimes for the gadgets. The researchers have developed new material that can address the two chief complaints of batteries used in electronic devices now: relatively runtimes life and unwanted heat production. The team has applied for a patent for a magnetic material that has a unique honeycomb lattice structure that offers distinct electronical properties. “Semiconductor diodes and amplifiers, which often are made of silicon or germanium, are key elements in modern electronic devices,” said Deepak K. Singh, head researcher on the project, who also serves... Read more...
Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) have announced that they have created a new material that is a key step in creating the next generation of supercomputers. These next-generation quantum computers will be far faster than current supercomputers while consuming much less energy. The scientists on the project work in the OSU College of Science and the compound they have developed is an inorganic material that adopts a crystal structure. The material is capable of sustaining a new state of matter that is known as quantum spin liquid. That new compound is lithium osmium oxide and it has osmium atoms that form a honeycomb-like lattice, and can enforce a phenomenon called "magnetic... Read more...
MIT is poised to make a massive investment into the future of nuclear fusion power. This move is significant because fusion power is potentially inexhaustible and produces zero carbon emissions. Fusion power could quite literally change the world as we know it today. MIT has announced a new collaboration with a private company called Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) that will see $50 million poured into the creation of a working fusion power plant. MIT and CFS want to perform rapid, staged research that will lead to a new generation of fusion experiments and ultimately power plants based on advancement in high-temperature superconductors. The work will be built on decades of federal government... Read more...
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced a new power generating device that is able to use temperature fluctuations to create electricity. The technology is based on principals of thermoelectric devices able to generate power when one side of the device is a different temperature than the other. The device the MIT team has created doesn't require two different temperature inputs at the same time, rather this device harnesses changes in ambient temperature to create electric power as a virtually perpetual renewable energy source. MIT's Thermal Resonator - Virtually Infinite Power Source? The new system is called a thermal resonator and has the potential for... Read more...
One of the most memorable scenes in all of science fiction films is the scene in the original Star Wars movie where Luke first sees the holographic projection of Princess Leia while trying to clean R2-D2. Many fans of that film have been waiting for decades for a similar projection system to launch. Physicists have now created a very close approximation to that Star Wars projection using a laser and particle system. The technique is known as a volumetric display and can make 3D moving images that a viewer can see from any angle. "This is doing something that a hologram can never do — giving you an all-round view, a Princess Leia-style display — because it’s not a hologram,"... Read more...
New research has come out that looks at the number of Americans that own a smart speaker along the lines of the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices. The research came from NPR and Edison Research, and found that 16% of Americans own a smart speaker, putting the figure at around 39 million people. That the figure is up 128% from January 2017, and the leading product in the segment is the Amazon Echo family. According to the numbers in the report, 11% of Americans own an Amazon smart speaker, with 4% owning a Google Home device. The number of people who received a new smart spaker during the holiday shopping season was very high according to the report, 7% say they acquired at least one... Read more...
A new study has found something very disturbing on some of the top websites in the world. Researchers from the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy have conducted research that found that over 400 of the top 50,000 websites in the world are using "session replay scripts" to track user behavior. This practice is common and the real problem with these websites according to the researchers is that the sites are often not stripping out personally identifiable user information from the data the scripts glean. The researchers are concerned that this sort of session data is a potential treasure trove for hackers because that data sometimes includes information like passwords. Researchers... Read more...
Anyone around back in the '80s when rabbit ears were the main way of tuning in to your favorite shows will know that foil improved reception. A group of researchers has now found that we can apply similar tech to our WiFi routers. The team of researchers used a 3D printer to produce a cheap and customized reflector that directs wireless signals in the direction you need them most. The solution might be just what is needed for enhancing signal strength in certain areas of a home or office. "Through this single solution, we address a number of challenges that plague wireless users," said Xia Zhou, an assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth. "Not only do we strengthen wireless signals,... Read more...
If you spend any amount of time on the Internet, you have certainly run across CAPTCHA on a few occasions. CAPTCHA is the security device that forces you to read squiggly words and type them into the box to prove you are a person and not a spamming robot sent from the future to troll forums and steal all of our memes. The schtick for CAPTCHA is that computer programs can't read the words, but that is no longer true. AI has been created that is able to defeat CAPTCHA security meaning all our memes aren't safe after all. The AI was inspired by a human brain, specifically the human visual cortex. To rub salt in CAPTCHA's wound, the new AI needed 50,000 times fewer training examples to crush the... Read more...
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