Aug 28, 2015

Leaving Everywhere, a tool to randomly generate ‘Why I’m Leaving [City]’ style essays using U.S. Census data

posted by Larra Morris

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Internet artist Darius Kazemi has created an online tool called Leaving Everywhere that randomly generates “Why I’m Leaving [City]” style essays using United States Census data. The tool pulls data like population, industry statistics, average income and uses them to justify why a person would decide to leave a city.
via Laughing Squid

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Aug 28, 2015

MIT hires a robot bartender

posted by Larra Morris

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Researchers at MIT have invented a robot bartender and waiters to bring them ice-cold beers as they work. It might sound like a collegiate stunt from 1985’s Real Genius, but the project serves a scientific purpose: Not only do the robots deliver cans of frosty Yuengling to thirsty researchers, but they also make real-time decisions about the best way to do their job.

Uproxx explains that, instead of following a set list of instructions, “the robots have to decide for themselves what they should be doing, without knowing what other robots in the group are doing.” The robot waiters look like little more than coolers on wheels (the researchers refer to them collectively as “TurtleBots”), but they can make pretty complex decisions. Not only canNinja Turtles-inspired waiter bots “Raphael” and “Leonardo” take orders and prioritize tasks, but they follow an almost human logic: for example, if no one wants a beer, the robot will check in on the next office. 
via Mental Floss

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Aug 28, 2015

A surprising number of psychology studies can’t be reproduced

posted by Larra Morris

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Researchers ought to be able to duplicate the findings of other scientists’ work, but a new study suggests that many published psychology results can't be recreated.

A huge, collaborative research project attempted to recreate 100 studies that were recently published in major psychology journals, and it found that only 39 of those studies' results could be replicated. That could mean that the studies were wrong in the first place, but researchers say that the findings tell more about the difficulty of designing a reproducible study than the accuracy of the studies themselves.
via The Verge

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Aug 27, 2015

Self-healing material could plug holes in space ships

posted by Larra Morris

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As the movies have shown us, space travel is an intimidating prospect, what with the possibilities of running out of air, the rocket engines conking out, or the shipboard computer deciding to bump off the crew. Another danger is fast-flying orbital debris piercing the hull. Scientists may be on their way to a solution to that one, however, in the form of a new self-healing material.

Developed by a team from the University of Michigan and NASA, the material is made up of thiol-ene-trialkylborane liquid resin, sandwiched between two polymer panels. As long as the resin is contained in the airtight space between the panels, it stays in its liquid form.

When either of the panels are pierced by a projectile, however, the resin leaks out of the hole and polymerizes upon contact with the oxygen in the air. As a result, it instantly forms a solid airtight plug in the hole.
via Gizmag

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Aug 27, 2015

Robot learns how to cook pizza by watching Youtube and reading WikiHow

posted by Larra Morris

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A PR2 humanoid robot recently learned to cook pizza and pancakes after watching a series of Youtube videos and reading WikiHow articles. The experiment, which was part of a European project called RoboHow...

The researchers behind the four-year project see exploring ways to teach robots to understand language as the route to achieving their goal. They aim to enable machines to perform everyday human-scale activities as competently as humans. Put simply, they want to be able to tell a robot what to do rather than needing to program it to perform each precise movement.
via Geekologie

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Aug 27, 2015

Robotic microfish can sense and remove toxins from their environment

posted by Larra Morris

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In the not-too-distant future, tiny robotic fish could be cruising around inside our our bodies, delivering drugs and cleaning up toxins. This week, engineers at the University of San Diego unveiled the first prototype: a chemically powered, magnetically controlled swimmer.

It’s called the “microfish,” and true to its name, it looks quite a bit like its biological, macroscopic brethren. But that’s where the similarities end. This fish was manufactured using a clever new 3D printing technique — one that could allow engineers to built complex microbots capable of performing all sorts of sophisticated tasks, from targeted drug delivery to environmental cleanup.
via Gizmodo

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Image: W. Zhu and J. Li, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

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Aug 26, 2015

Photos with overexposed highlights could one day be a thing of the past

posted by Larra Morris

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Researchers at MIT Media Lab have proposed a new camera technology which could see an end to overexposed images. The modulo camera would work by employing a sensor which can reset the sensor capacitors of pixels as they overexpose, and "unwrapping" algorithms to recover color information which would otherwise have been lost in blown highlights.
via Gizmag

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Image: MIT Media Lab

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