Apr 24, 2014

Want to live in nerd paradise? Head to this state

posted by Laura Domela

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I wouldn't say I'm a hard-core nerd, but I definitely lean that way. Yet I come from one of the least nerdy states in America (New York) and currently live in an even more nerd-barren land (North Carolina). That's the conclusion I drew from real-estate site Estately's just-released ranking of "The Nerdiest States in America."

If I wanted to live in true nerd nirvana, I'd move to Utah, which ranks No. 1 on the list. To escape nerddom completely, it looks like a move to the no-fun District of Columbia would be in order.
via cnet

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Tags : travel, nerdy,    0 comments  
Apr 24, 2014

Ear implant uses electrical impulses to regrow auditory nerves

posted by Larra Morris

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The bionic human is nearly a reality. In recent years, scientists have been able to develop everything from bionic eyes to bionic hands. Yet these machines are still largely dependent on the existing human structures to which they connect. If a person's nerve endings are damaged, for instance, the usefulness of these machines becomes limited. Scientists might soon be able to overcome these obstacles, however, as researchers were able to use an implant to deliver gene therapy to the auditory portion of a guinea pig's ear — a treatment that not only caused the animal's auditory nerves to regrow, but improved the human-machine interface in the process.
via The Verge

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Image: UNSW / J. Pinyon & G. Housley

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Apr 24, 2014

Chinese company uses 3D printing to build 10 houses in a day

posted by Larra Morris

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This small home may look plain, but it represents a significant achievement in rapid construction. A Chinese company has demonstrated the capabilities of its giant 3D printer by rapidly constructing 10 houses in less than 24 hours. Built from predominantly recycled materials, these homes cost less than US$5,000 and could be rolled out en masse to ease housing crises in developing countries.
via Gizmag

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Image: Winsun New Materials

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Apr 24, 2014

An eavesdropping lamp that livetweets private conversations

posted by Larra Morris

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Two artists have revealed Conversnitch, a device they built for less than $100 that resembles a lightbulb or lamp and surreptitiously listens in on nearby conversations and posts snippets of transcribed audio to Twitter. Kyle McDonald and Brian House say they hope to raise questions about the nature of public and private spaces in an era when anything can be broadcast by ubiquitous, Internet-connected listening devices.

“What does it mean to deploy one of these in a library, a public square, someone’s bedroom? What kind of power relationship does it set up?” asks House, a 34-year-old adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. “And what does this stream of tweets mean if it’s not set up by an artist but by the U.S. government?”
via Wired

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Image: Kyle McDonald 

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Apr 23, 2014

Kinetic sculptures made from popsicle sticks

posted by Larra Morris

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Joyce Lin, a design student at RISD, has produced a wonderful set of kinetic sculptures made from popsicle sticks and other media, produced in spare time during the semester. They're incredibly fun to watch and I'm sure they're a delight to play with in person.
via Boing Boing

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Apr 23, 2014

Study confirms monkeys can do math

posted by Larra Morris

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Scientists have long suspected that monkeys are capable of mental arithmetics and a new study is helping them prove it. A research team led by neurobiologist Margaret Livingstone trained three rhesus macaques to identify symbols representing the numbers zero to 25. They then taught the test subjects how to perform addition. To eliminate the possibility of rote learning, the team had the monkeys learn an entirely different set of symbols representing the numbers zero to 25. The monkeys were able to reapply their previous knowledge to the new set and continue performing basic mathematics.
via The Verge

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Image: Margaret S. Livingstone 

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Apr 22, 2014

Watch as swarms of micro-robots run around making stuff

posted by Laura Domela

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We're all familiar with ant colonies, where every tiny creature is running around doing just what it needs to. Well it looks like SRI International has taken inspiration from the giant mounds of insects, to create their own swarms of tiny worker robots that can put together mechanical assemblies and electronic circuits.

Diamagnetic Micro Manipulation (DM3) uses tiny magnets that move under a circuit board, to get the micro-robots to follow a set pattern based on a set of preprogrammed instructions. The system can be set up so just one or a couple of robots are working together, or you can have giant groups of them moving together in sync like some bizarre gymnastics routine. Despite their tiny size, the robots can move up to a foot in a single second, so they can haul around your micro manufacturing supplies pretty swiftly.
via DVICE

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Image: SRI International
 

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Apr 22, 2014

Lytro’s new Snapdragon-powered “light field” camera coming in July

posted by Laura Domela

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We last looked at Lytro's funny little tube camera a couple of years ago when we sat down with one of the devices during a crowded PR event at 2012's CES. The camera's light field capture technology uses a high-megapixel CMOS sensor to record a large amount of "extra" data points over a standard camera CMOS sensor. Rather than using the extra data to pump up the scene's resolution, the camera instead tries to capture a holistic representation of the rays of light it sees. This, coupled with some software magic, allows Lytro cameras to set or alter a picture's focus point after the picture has been taken.

Although Lytro's initial product was small and relatively low-resolution, this July the company will be releasing an updated and vastly improved model: the Lytro Illum. Engadget has posted a lengthy hands-on with the Illum, which sports a sleek exterior that begs to be touched.
via ars technica

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Image: Lytro

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Apr 22, 2014

An electronic orchestra created using 30 cell phones and four pagers

posted by Larra Morris

Wireless telecommunications company SK Telecom celebrates 30 years of mobile history in Korea with a mobile orchestra made up of 30 cell phones and four pagers. The devices play a version of a song from another SK Telecom ad.
via Laughing Squid

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Apr 22, 2014

Twisting mirror bridge reflects every detail of a Shanghai street

posted by Larra Morris

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UNStudio has created a beautifully constructed archway that brightens up the retail sphere of Xintiandi Mall in China. Because it's lined with mirrors, you can track your movements from beginning to end and watch your surroundings skip playfully across the different planes of the mall's entrance. It's like walking down the inside of a wormhole—except you stay safely grounded in both time and space.

The installation also serves as an artistic statement on consumerism, reflecting a warped vision of the activity around it.
via Gizmodo

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Image: UNStudio

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