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MIT researchers explain their new visualization system that can project a robot's "thoughts." Video screenshot courtesy of Melanie Gonick/MIT

Projecting a Robot’s Intentions: New Spin on Virtual Reality to Read Robots’ Minds

October 30, 2014 4:46 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | News | Comments

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT’s Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter.

New Algorithm Provides Enormous Reduction in Computing Overhead

October 30, 2014 4:37 pm | by University of Luxembourg | News | Comments

The control of modern infrastructure, such as intelligent power grids, needs lots of computing...

New Evidence for Exotic, Predicted Superconducting State

October 29, 2014 10:07 am | by Brown University | News | Comments

Superconductors and magnetic fields do not usually get along. But a research team has produced...

Ancient Art Form of Origami Launches into Space

October 29, 2014 9:57 am | by Miles O'Brien and Marsha Walton, NSF | News | Comments

Most people who know of origami think of it as the Japanese art of paper folding. Though it...

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As the United States pursues the next generation of computing (exascale), new software-centered partnerships could be the key to maximizing economic benefits for Americans

Supporting America’s Economic Competitiveness: A Look at Federal Supercomputing Leadership

October 28, 2014 11:18 am | by Council on Competitiveness | News | Comments

The Council on Competitiveness has released a new report that explores the value of government leadership in supercomputing for industrial competitiveness, titled Solve. The Exascale Effect: the Benefits of Supercomputing Investment for U.S. Industry. As the federal government pursues exascale computing to achieve national security and science missions, Solve examines how U.S.-based companies also benefit from leading-edge computation

President Barack Obama is directing federal money toward new technologies, apprenticeship programs and competitions designed to assist small manufacturers.

Obama Taking Action to Push Manufacturing

October 27, 2014 12:58 pm | by AP | News | Comments

President Barack Obama is expanding his push for increased manufacturing in the United States by directing federal money toward new technologies, apprenticeship programs and competitions designed to assist small manufacturers. The White House announced the executive actions October 27, 2014, as part of the day's focus on manufacturing, which administration officials consider one of the bright spots of the economic recovery.

Micro-optical array projectors: Double-sided lens array with buried slide array (left) and lens array with buried color filters for LCD micro-imager (right) © Fraunhofer IOF

Researchers Project a Million Dazzlingly Sharp Images per Second on Curved Screens

October 27, 2014 5:38 am | by Fraunhofer | News | Comments

Projecting images on curved screens poses a dilemma. The sharper the image, the darker it is. A novel optical approach brings brightness and sharpness together for the first time on screens of any curvature — and additionally allows about 10,000-times faster projection rates. Researchers have applied a proven approach used with cameras.

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A 3-D image of the researchers' study site in Malaysian Borneo using drone data and a photo of the Sensefly eBee drone up close. Courtesy of Trends in Parasitology, Fornace et al.

Drones Help Map Spread of Infectious Disease

October 24, 2014 5:07 pm | by Cell Press | News | Comments

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, can collect detailed information in real time at relatively low cost for ecological research. In a new Opinion piece published in the Cell Press journal Trends in Parasitology, experts demonstrate that drones can be used to understand how environmental factors influence the spread of infectious diseases.

A Google executive has broken the sound barrier and set several skydiving records over the southern New Mexico desert after taking a leap from the edge of space.

Supersonic Skydiver: Google Exec Sets Records with Leap from Near-Space

October 24, 2014 4:54 pm | by AP | News | Comments

A Google executive has broken the sound barrier and set several skydiving records over the southern New Mexico desert after taking a leap from the edge of space. Alan Eustace's supersonic jump from a high-altitude, helium-filled balloon is part of a project by Paragon Space Development and its Stratospheric Explorer team. The goal is to develop a self-contained commercial spacesuit that would allow people to explore the stratosphere.

Researchers used the Pancam on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity to capture this 10-second-exposure view of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it flew near Mars on October 19, 2014. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./ASU/TAMU

NASA Rover Opportunity Captured Images of Comet Siding Spring

October 23, 2014 3:56 pm | by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory | News | Comments

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured images of a comet passing much closer to Mars than any previous known comet flyby of Earth or Mars. The images of comet Siding Spring were taken against a backdrop of the pre-dawn Martian sky on October 19, 2014. Images of comet A1 Siding Spring from the rover's panoramic camera (Pancam) are online.

Found near the ocean floor and beneath Arctic permafrost, methane hydrate is an icy substance that burns when lit and holds vast amounts of potential energy. Courtesy of USGS

$58 Million Effort to Study Potential New Energy Source, Fire and Ice

October 23, 2014 3:10 pm | by The University of Texas at Austin | News | Comments

A research team has been awarded approximately $58 million to analyze deposits of frozen methane under the Gulf of Mexico that hold enormous potential to increase the world’s energy supply. The grant, one of the largest ever awarded to the university, will allow researchers to advance scientific understanding of methane hydrate, a substance found in abundance beneath the ocean floor and under Arctic permafrost.

The robot has a friction crawler-based drive system (such as the one in war tanks), ideal for all types of terrain. It also has motion sensors, cameras, a laser and an infrared system, allowing it to rebuild the environment and, thereby, find paths or cre

Robot Scans Rubble, Recognizes Humans in Disaster Situations

October 21, 2014 9:35 am | by Investigación y Desarrollo | News | Comments

Through a computational algorithm, researchers have developed a neural network that allows a small robot to detect different patterns, such as images, fingerprints, handwriting, faces, bodies, voice frequencies and DNA sequences. Nancy Guadalupe Arana Daniel focused on the recognition of human silhouettes in disaster situations.

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This image provided by Oculus shows a new prototype of its virtual reality headset. The hew headset features a higher resolution and refresh rate, 360-degree head tracking and integrated headphones. (AP Photo/Oculus)

Smithsonian Honors Founder of Virtual Reality Firm Oculus

October 17, 2014 11:03 am | by AP | News | Comments

The founder of virtual reality firm Oculus and singer Rosanne Cash and are among those who were honored with American Ingenuity Awards at the Smithsonian Institution, along with eight other scientists and scholars for their groundbreaking work. Washingtonian magazine has described the event as the “Golden Globes of Intellect.”

Shown here is a square-centimeter chip containing the nTron adder, which performed the first computation using the researchers' new superconducting circuit. Courtesy of Adam N. McCaughan

Nanocryotron could Unlock Power of Superconducting Computer Chips

October 17, 2014 10:43 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

Computer chips with superconducting circuits — circuits with zero electrical resistance — would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today’s chips, an attractive trait given the increasing power consumption of the massive data centers that power the Internet’s most popular sites. Superconducting chips also promise greater processing power.

Patient mockup of surgical robot designed to treat epilepsy by entering the brain through the cheek. (Laboratory for the Design and Control of Energetic Systems / Vanderbilt)

Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery Performed by Pneumatic Robot

October 16, 2014 2:38 pm | by David Salisbury, Vanderbilt University | News | Comments

For those most severely affected, treating epilepsy means drilling through the skull deep into the brain to destroy the small area where the seizures originate — invasive, dangerous and with a long recovery period. Five years ago, a team of Vanderbilt engineers wondered: Is it possible to address epileptic seizures in a less invasive way?

The new technology merges a proven, wearable computer system with situational awareness capabilities to create an enhanced real-time view of the battlefield for commanders and their troops.

Raytheon Unveils Wearable Computers for Tactical Edge in Battlefield Intelligence Ops

October 15, 2014 3:44 pm | by Raytheon Company | News | Comments

Raytheon Company has unveiled its wearable computing Intel-Ops solution at the AUSA 2014 Meeting and Exposition. The new technology merges a proven, wearable computer system with situational awareness capabilities to create an enhanced real-time view of the battlefield for commanders and their troops.

An innovative piece of research looks into the matter of machine morality, and questions whether it is “evil” for robots to masquerade as humans.

How to Train your Robot: Can We Teach Robots Right from Wrong?

October 14, 2014 12:46 pm | by Taylor & Francis | News | Comments

From performing surgery to driving cars, today’s robots can do it all. With chatbots recently hailed as passing the Turing test, it appears robots are becoming increasingly adept at posing as humans. While machines are becoming ever more integrated into human lives, the need to imbue them with a sense of morality becomes increasingly urgent. But can we really teach robots how to be good? An innovative piece of research looks into the matter

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The robot was rolled out October 9, 2014, with a staffer guiding it remotely around the baggage claim area greeting travelers and looking for anyone who needed assistance. Courtesy of Indianapolis International Airport

Indianapolis Airport Debuts Customer Service Robot

October 13, 2014 12:11 pm | by AP | News | Comments

A customer service robot has started roaming around the passenger terminal of Indianapolis International Airport. The robot was rolled out October 9, 2014, with a staffer guiding it remotely around the baggage claim area greeting travelers and looking for anyone who needed assistance. The robot looks like a miniature Segway, but with a blue customer service shirt and an interactive iPod on top showing the face of the employee piloting it.

Tom Conte is President-elect, IEEE Computer Society; Professor of Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Elie Track is President, IEEE Council on Superconductivity; CEO, nVizix.

Technology Time Machine Looks Far Ahead at Future of Processing

October 7, 2014 3:25 pm | by Tom Conte and Elie Track, IEEE | Blogs | Comments

The IEEE Technology Time Machine (TTM) is going further into the future. Now in its third year, the annual two-day IEEE meeting is mixing things up a little in terms of format and topics. Rather than just looking at how some technologies might evolve in the next decade, experts and visionaries are going to look out to 2035 and beyond.

People who practice yoga and meditation long term can learn to control a computer with their minds faster and better than people with little or no yoga or meditation experience, new research shows. The research could have major implications for treatments

Meditation may Help People Control Computers with Their Mind

September 26, 2014 12:32 pm | by University of Minnesota | News | Comments

New research by biomedical engineers at the University of Minnesota shows that people who practice yoga and meditation long-term can learn to control a computer with their minds faster and better than people with little or no yoga or meditation experience. The research could have major implications for treatments of people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.

Magnetic states at oxide interfaces controlled by electricity. Top image shows magnetic state with -3 volts applied, and bottom image shows nonmagnetic state with 0 volts applied.

New Discovery Could Pave the Way for Spin-based Computing

September 26, 2014 11:12 am | by University of Pittsburgh | News | Comments

Electricity and magnetism rule our digital world. Semiconductors process electrical information, while magnetic materials enable long-term data storage. A University of Pittsburgh research team has discovered a way to fuse these two distinct properties in a single material, paving the way for new ultrahigh density storage and computing architectures.

Fusion research simulated with supercomputers. Courtesy of KTH PDC

Computationally Intensive Research to get Boost, Break Petaflop Barrier

September 26, 2014 10:21 am | by KTH Royal Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Computationally intensive research in Sweden will soon get a boost from the fastest academic supercomputer in the Nordic countries, to be installed in October 2014 at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. KTH is due to begin using the fastest academic supercomputer of any university in Scandinavia. A Cray XC30 with 1,676 nodes and a memory of 104.7 terabytes will be installed at KTH’s PDC Center for High Performance Computing.

A drone prepares to land after flying over the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in East Harlem in New York. When government officials designed a new air traffic control system, they neglected to take something into account — dron

Drones Left Out of Air Traffic Plans

September 25, 2014 4:20 pm | by Joan Lowy, Associated Press | News | Comments

Designers of the ambitious U.S. air traffic control system of the future neglected to take drones into account, raising questions about whether it can handle the escalating demand for the unmanned aircraft and predicted congestion in the sky.

Computer modeling provides policymakers with essential information on such data as global sea surface temperatures related to specific currents. Image courtesy Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Developing the Most Advanced Earth System Computer Model Yet Created

September 25, 2014 4:16 pm | by Los Alamos National Laboratory | News | Comments

With President Obama announcing climate-support initiatives at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories are teaming with academia and the private sector to develop the most advanced climate and Earth system computer model yet created. For Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers, it is a welcome advance for an already vibrant high-performance computing community.

Indian Space Research Organisation scientists watch screens display the graphics explaining Mars Orbiter Mission at their Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network complex in Bangalore, India, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. India triumphed in its first interpla

Mars Mission Opens India for Space Business

September 24, 2014 2:22 pm | by Katy Daigle, Associated Press | News | Comments

India celebrated putting a spacecraft into orbit around Mars on September 24, 2014, hoping the rare feat will show the world it is open for business in space exploration and inspire a new generation of homegrown scientists to help drive growth. Those motivations help explain why India, a poor country of 1.2 billion, even invests in a space program when so many of its people lack access to proper toilets, electricity and health care.

Armed with the GelSight sensor, a robot can grasp a freely hanging USB cable and plug it into a USB port. Courtesy of Melanie Gonick/MIT

Fingertip Sensor Gives Robot Unprecedented Dexterity

September 23, 2014 3:37 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

Researchers have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port. The sensor is an adaptation of a technology called GelSight, which was developed at MIT. The new sensor isn’t as sensitive as the original GelSight sensor, which could resolve details on the micrometer scale. But it’s smaller, and its processing algorithm is faster.

Do it yourself: A new resource provides both experienced and aspiring researchers with the intellectual raw materials needed to design, build and operate robots made from soft, flexible materials. Courtesy of Eliza Grinnell, Harvard SEAS

Soft Robotics Toolkit Features Everything a Robot-maker Needs

September 22, 2014 3:18 pm | by Harvard SEAS | News | Comments

A new resource unveiled by researchers from several Harvard University labs, in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, provides both experienced and aspiring researchers with the intellectual raw materials needed to design, build and operate robots made from soft, flexible materials.

The ARCAS project has designed a range of different flying robots with multi-joint manipulator arms to work together on grasping, transporting and depositing parts safely and efficiently. The autonomy and skills of the robots is being developed to build o

Flying Robots Go Where Humans Can’t

September 22, 2014 2:57 pm | by European Commission, CORDIS | News | Comments

There are many situations where it’s impossible, complicated or too time-consuming for humans to enter and carry out operations. Think of contaminated areas following a nuclear accident, or the need to erect structures such as antennae on mountain tops. These are examples of where flying robots could be used. The EU’s ARCAS project has designed a range of different flying robots with multi-joint manipulator arms

Liquid metals normally form a spherical shape due to their large surface tension. By applying a small voltage to the metal in water, a surface oxide forms on the surface of the metal and lowers the surface tension. Reversing the bias can remove the oxide

Researchers Control Movement of Liquid Metals with Less than One Volt

September 19, 2014 4:56 pm | by North Carolina State University | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a technique for controlling the surface tension of liquid metals by applying very low voltages, opening the door to a new generation of reconfigurable electronic circuits, antennas and other technologies. The technique hinges on the fact that the oxide “skin” of the metal — which can be deposited or removed — acts as a surfactant, lowering the surface tension between the metal and the surrounding fluid.

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