Science News reports that a team at the University of Glasgow has set up four single pixel detectors and used gear normal to a high school science lab to create 3D images, fully mapping the test object. Why is this important? Because unlike a 20 million pixel camera array, single pixel detectors can operate over a much greater bandwidth than visible and ultraviolet light, so you can also apply it to thing like x-rays and infrared energy. This is going to open up a range of applications not previously available, especially medical imaging and natural resources investigations.
The folks over at Planet Science have a new weekly online web comic called Cosmic Comics. The story starts out with three friends from Australia (yes, the site is from Down Under) figuring out how to use a telescope to look for an asteroid, and what happens when they find one. This is a great educational site, be sure to stop by their Extra’s Section to see what other fun stuff they are up to, and share the link with anybody you know in K-12.
When I first saw Alien, I loved the exoskeleton Ripley wore in her battle with Mama Monster. Some folks in Japan have now built it, and not just as a prototype, but as something you can use in emergencies or on a construction site. It would also form a worthwhile core for a good Giant Mecha suit, getting us one step closer to that reality as well. Thanks to Crunchyroll for the heads up on this one.
Ready to learn how to run your own brainwave controlled robot? Yes, I know a real robot would have its own self-contained intelligence system rather than being teleoperated, but still this is pretty cool. This report from DigInfo is about a joint French and Japanese robotics project that could grant freedom undreamed of to paraplegics and other physically challenged folks. Of course, it is also the path leading to the kind of world made popular in the Bruce Willis movie Surrogates, but every advance comes with a potential dark side attached.
The folks over at Scientific American posted about tomorrow night’s Nova program What Will the Future Be Like, because it is hosted by one of their columnists/scientists. As you can see from the video they shared, Augmented Reality is one of the approaches they investigate. Yes, there are a lot of AR Apps already available, but we have barely scratched the surface on what is possible. I am setting my DVR for the program, just in case they don’t stream it after.
I love living in the world of the future. Dubbed Project Green Brain, the engineering teams at the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex are writing computer models of the brains of bees, specifically the systems in the brain that interpret a bee’s vision and sense of smell. They intend to link this to robotic sensors designed to perceive the same stimulus and install it into a flying robot. The purpose of the project is to advance understanding of simple non-human brain structures and artificial intelligence, but they already have a number of practical applications in mind, from search and rescue in dangerous environments such as mines or nuclear power plants, to finding the source of gas leaks, to actually pollinating crops in areas where hive collapse has eradicated real bees. As long as they don’t include stingers I think this will be a project worth following, particularly since this is the first Artificial Intelligence project I know of that is being designed to run on desktop PCs rather than supercomputers.