Jul 01, 2015

Student-designed pill dispenser uses fingerprint scanner to avoid overdosing

posted by Larra Morris

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And you thought that regular pill bottles were hard to open ... a new overdose-proof medication dispenser developed by a team of mechanical engineering students at Johns Hopkins University can't be opened even with the help of a hammer or drill. It does, however, deliver the proper dosage at the proper time, as long as the patient uses its built-in fingerprint scanner.

The prototype device was designed mainly with painkillers in mind. Many people exceed the recommended dosage of such pharmaceuticals, risking both their immediate health and the chance of developing a long-term addiction.
via Gizmag

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Image: Johns Hopkins University

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Jul 01, 2015

A great appetizer can make your dinner taste worse, study says

posted by Larra Morris

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The better the appetizer, the worse a main course will seem, according to a recent study by a culinary scientist and a psychologist. Participants who ate better quality bruschetta didn’t like the subsequent pasta dish as much as those who ate a worse appetizer.

The study, published in the journal Food and Quality Preference, analyzed the reactions of 64 subjects who ate the same main course of pasta with olive oil and garlic but ate different appetizers. Half of them received an appetizer of bruschetta made with high-quality ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, lemon zest, and balsamic vinegar. The other half ate a lower-quality, blander bruschetta made with blended olive oil, dried basil, and no lemon or vinegar. The bruschetta with fresher ingredients was deemed more delicious than the other appetizer—but the downside is that it actually made participants rate their main course as less tasty.
via Mental Floss

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Jul 01, 2015

Blosom, the world's tallest cow, stood over six feet tall

posted by Larra Morris

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This is Blosom, the world's tallest cow. Blosom stands 190-centemeters (a little over 6-feet two inches) from hoof to withers (the tallest part of the back, between the front shoulder blades). Blosom's caretaker Patty Meads-Hanson has had Blosom since the cow was 8-weeks old and said she was even taller and more massive when she was 8-years old. Sadly, Blosom had to be put down last month at the age of 13 after suffering an irreparable leg injury, presumably while leading her team to another basketball championship.
via Geekologie

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Jun 30, 2015

Solar-powered plane takes off on potential record breaking trans-Pacific flight

posted by Larra Morris

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Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane co-founded by Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg, took off today on a potentially record-breaking flight across the Pacific Ocean. The BBC reports that the single-seater left Japan's Nagoya Airfield at 18:03 GMT (a little after noon CT) and hopes to reach Hawaii in roughly five days. In total, the flight would traverse 8,200km or approximately 5,095 miles. If successful, the BBC notes the Solar Impulse team will break records for both the longest-duration solo flight and the furthest distance flown by an entirely solar-powered aircraft.

Borschberg and partner Bertrand Piccard hope that the third time is the charm for this endeavor. The plane's first attempt at takeoff in May was cut short by the forecast causing an unscheduled landing, and the second attempt (occurring last Tuesday, June 23) was postponed for similar reasons. According to the BBC report, the team hasn't aggressively publicized its take off today just incase weather conditions again cause an unexpected landing.
via Ars Technica

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Image: Solar Impulse

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Jun 30, 2015

A robot is the star of new opera

posted by Larra Morris

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Myon is a shiny white humanoid robot and the star of My Square Lady, an opera that opened this month in Berlin's Komische Oper in Germany. The operatic robot is a product of the Neurorobotics Research Laboratory at Berlin's Humboldt University and the European Union's Artificial Language Evolution on Autonomous Robot's project. Myon sings, of course, and it shuffles in stilted, mechanical motions while interacting with the rest of the carbon-based performers. No one controls Myon from backstage -- researchers and the cast worked with the robot for two years, teaching it how to sing with the orchestra, move around the stage, and react to visual and auditory cues. The opera itself is all about Myon, a robot trying to learn what it means to be human and feel emotion.
via Engadget

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Jun 30, 2015

Scientists create 3D laser holograms that are safe to touch

posted by Larra Morris

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3D laser holograms sound cool, but they're generally hot. As in, hot enough to burn your skin. But now researchers at the Digital Nature Group, a Japanese research company, say they've figured out a way to create a 3D laser hologram that is not only safe to the touch but interactive.  

These "fairy lights" holograms are composed of light pixels called voxels fired at superfast speeds. (How fast? The laser bursts last 30 to 270 femtoseconds. A femtosecond is a quadrillionth of a second.) Voxels are emitted by plasma that's created when the laser's focused energy ionizes the air. 
via Mental Floss

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Jun 29, 2015

Norway's capital city is building a highway for bees

posted by Larra Morris

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Flowers are appearing across buildings, businesses, and balconies in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, as part of a scheme designed to make life easier for the beleaguered honey bee. Oslo is in the process of developing a "bee highway" for the pollinating insects, offering them a safe route through the city complete with food sources, resting spots, and places to live.

The program is led by Bybi, an environmental group supporting urban bee populations, and has secured funding from local companies. Some of these firms have provided dedicated homes for new bee populations, kitting out rooftops and terraces with hives alongside pollen-producing plants. Bee populations, hives, and movements can be tracked on a dedicated site run by the groups behind the scheme — if your Norwegian is up to scratch.
via The Verge

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Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

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