Jun 18, 2013

Swiss scientists create catbot: a robot that runs like a cat (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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Developed in the laboratories of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the "cheetah-cub robot" is a four-legged metallic critter modeled after a house cat. The scientists focused on designing legs that can move like our feline friends', paying particular attention to their stability while moving on uneven surfaces. While it has a long way to go before it becomes a graceful daredevil, it's a fast little bugger that can run seven times its body length in one second. The researchers hope their creation gives rise to more robots for exploration and search-and-rescue missions in the future
via Engadget

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Jun 18, 2013

Colorful origami street art installations by Mademoiselle Maurice

posted by Larra Morris

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In late May, French artist Mademoiselle Maurice created three colorful origami installations in Angers, France for the ARTAQ 2013 festival. The large-scale outdoor installations were made from 30,000 pieces of origami made by the people of Angers in the months before the festival. The Saint-Maurice cathedral was adorned with two installations—a geometric pattern on the front gate and a rainbow of origami on the front steps. A third installation, a massive origami mural, was placed on the banks of the Maine river.
via Laughing Squid

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Jun 18, 2013

Dance like Kinect Is watching: The interactive LED amphitheater (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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Their five-tier system is made from semi-transparent plastic embedded with LEDs. These are controlled via an OpenFrameworks script, which draws information about the location of attendees from six nearby Kinects. When a person moves or jumps onto one of the platforms, the lights turn on and change in intensity as their movements are tracked—meanwhile, a Processing-based program pushes generative, dynamic animations to five hanging screens behind the platforms. It's lovely, in a futuristic, Saturday Night Fever kind of way.
via Gizmodo

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Jun 18, 2013

Paper anatomical model

posted by Larra Morris

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Papercraft artist Horst Kiechle created an incredible anatomical model, complete with removable organs, and posted all the templates and instructions online for free.
via Boing Boing

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Jun 17, 2013

Sensors and smartphones bring the baby monitor into 2013

posted by Laura Domela

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This company has a tempting and comforting value proposition for new parents: around-the-clock baby monitoring without so much sleep deprivation.

Sensible Baby, which was born out of Startup Weekend Boston just three months ago, is hoping its high-tech onesie could calm some of parents’ anxiety around sudden infant death syndrome. SIDS is the leading cause of deaths among infants between the ages of one and 12 months old.

Of course there are mobile audio and video monitors that parents use to keep an eye on their newborns when they’re sleeping, but these monitors still require constant, active monitoring by the parents. Other products like motion clips and pressure pads can become worthless if the newborn moves around too much.
via MedCityNews

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Jun 17, 2013

Whispering light hears liquids talk

posted by Laura Domela

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Ever been to a whispering gallery -- a quiet, circular space underneath an old cathedral dome that captures and amplifies sounds as quiet as a whisper? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are applying similar principles in the development optomechanical sensors that will help unlock vibrational secrets of chemical and biological samples at the nanoscale. 
via Photonics Online

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Jun 17, 2013

Atomic clocks to become even more accurate

posted by Laura Domela

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The ultimate accessory in exact timekeeping — the atomic clock — is set to become even more precise, after ultrashort laser pulses were successfully transmitted across open air to help synchronize the "ticking" of new optical atomic clocks.

Keeping extremely precise time is not just a question of scientific achievement. It is a key to many modern technologies, fromGlobal Positioning Systems (GPS) to mobile phone networks and broadcasters' transmitters. For GPS systems, an error of just one nanosecond, or a billionth of a second, would mean the location is about 12 inches (30 centimeters) off.
via Live Science

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Jun 17, 2013

Wooden skyscraper

posted by Larra Morris

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It might surprise you to find that this 34-story residential skyscraper proposed for Stockholm’s cultural hub is composed not of steel, but almost entirely of wood! Though not often used in such vertical structures, the material was chosen for its lightness, natural climate regulation, acoustics and exposed aesthetic quality. While the exterior facade shines with glass, the full effect of the construction is felt inside where every wall, ceiling and floor is clad with natural, warm wood.
via Yanko Design

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Jun 17, 2013

Ford deploys robot drivers to test vehicle durability (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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Self-driving cars are nothing new: Google, Lexus and Audi have all showcased the technology in prototype form before. But these autonomous vehicles are all designed to operate on public roads and handle unforeseen obstacles using advanced sensors like LIDAR. What about cars operating in a controlled environment like a private track? Ford engineers answered this question when they partnered with Autonomous Solutions Inc. to develop robot drivers to test vehicle durability. The GPS-based system (accurate to one inch) allows up to eight autonomous cars to operate simultaneously on the same track.
via Engadget

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Jun 17, 2013

Will you smile back when human holograms greet you at the airport?

posted by Larra Morris

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How does the airport of the future preoccupy customers as they wait in never-ending lines? A handful of companies think the answer is an always-smiling, always-working human hologram. The virtual assistants are projected onto form-fitting cutouts that can almost look real, and several airports have already begun installing them to help passengers make their way through security. But according to Joanne McNeil at Domus, the hologram manufacturers aren't content to stop at airports. They want to enable Siri-like interactivity and bring the assistants to museums, retailers, and even doctors' offices to serve as friendly customer service agents. 
via The Verge

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