Aug 30, 2016

Crawl into a 13-foot robot's chest and control it from inside

posted by Laura Domela

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Japan is leading the way once again in making childhood dreams a reality with a human-piloted, walking robot.

The Osaka-based Hajime Research Institute has built a 4-metre (13-foot) high, 300-kilogram (660-pound) prototype that's guided from inside its chest cavity. The Hajime 43, shown off this summer on YouTube, can walk though currently at a lumbering pace. The feat itself looks rather promising as the company seeks to up the robot's size.
via cnet

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Aug 30, 2016

A computer can replicate individual handwriting with impressive accuracy

posted by Larra Morris

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No matter how illegible your personal handwriting scrawl may be, a computer at University College London’s Visual Computing lab can probably read it. What’s more, it could mimic it. My Text in Your Handwriting, an algorithm created by university researchers, can recreate idiosyncratic handwriting patterns with a quick analysis, Smithsonian magazine reports.
via Mental Floss

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Aug 30, 2016

The size of Pluto compared to Australia

posted by Larra Morris

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This is a composite comparing the size of everyone's favorite ex-planet Pluto to the size of Australia. As you can see, Pluto is pretty small. Or Australia is pretty big.
via Geekologie

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Aug 30, 2016

You can’t trick your dog by being mean in a happy voice (they can tell)

posted by Larra Morris

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Dogs really can understand what we’re saying to them, according to a new study that seems to confirm the dearest wish of many a dog-lover. And yes, that does mean if you say a mean thing to a dog in a friendly tone, the dog knows.

Researchers led by Attila Andics at Hungary’s Eötvös Loránd University put dogs in fMRI scanners after training them to sit still, according to a study published today in Science. The scientists recorded how the dogs’ brains reacted to hearing their trainer say different combinations of human words in different tones. The finding should cheer up anyone who regularly tells their Pekingese about their day: dogs can recognize the meaning of different words and intonations. And their brains do so in a way similar to how our human brains process language.
via The Verge

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Image: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

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Aug 29, 2016

The Library of Congress is digitizing its Braille music collection

posted by Larra Morris

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The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at the Library of Congress houses the largest braille music collection on earth. The institution’s inventory of over 30,000 musical transcriptions cover a variety of genres, all written in the raised dot system invented by Louis Braille. It's the only collection in the NLS that hasn’t been fully digitized, and now there’s a massive project underway to change that, Hyperallergic reports.

Digitizing braille requires more effort than simply scanning a page into a computer. Before a DotScan scanner equipped with optical braille recognition makes the digital copy, the spaces separating the dots must be measured for accuracy. An archivist then has to look over each digital copy for errors and input corrections into the computer manually. A well-maintained 100-page music book can take as little as six hours to scan and proofread, but a manuscript with significant wear-and-tear can take five times as long.
via Mental Floss

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Aug 29, 2016

MIT's new 3D-printer makes objects that remember their shape

posted by Larra Morris

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3D printing has done a lot for medical science. It's helped us create better prosthetics, manufacture artificial vertebrae and even develop smaller internal cameras. Next, it could help us revolutionize medication delivery. MIT researchers are using a new 3D-printing process to create tiny structures that change shape at specific temperatures -- opening the door for a new drug delivery system that only medicates patients if they have a fever.
via Engadget

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Aug 29, 2016

Bubble-wrap key to creating a sponge that boils water

posted by Larra Morris

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A team of engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

has created a unique device that uses a bubble-wrap-encased sponge to boil water fueled by nothing but sunlight. The inexpensive nature of the device makes it an ideal candidate for use in applications such as wastewater treatment, residential water heating and medical tool sterilization, and continues to pave the way for the utilization of sponge-like materials for steam creation.
via New Atlas

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Image: Jeremy Cho

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