News, Technology

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop ‘might be free to passengers’

Artistic Representation of the Hyperloop. Image via SourceFed

As if Elon Musk’s Hyperloop project wasn’t attractive enough, it just got even hotter – Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of the company running the project announced that the super-fast transportation might actually be free for passengers, as they are thinking about other types of monetisation.

Art, Feature Post, Technology

When science meets art: a sensor-based mirror made of fur


Artist Daniel Rozin has designed a surprising mirror-like device from… fur. Dubbed the PomPom Mirror, it relies on  motion sensors and 928 faux fur pom poms manipulated by 464 motors to create a mirror reflection of the viewer in real-time. Sure, the mirror only works in black and white, but the effect is surprising and spectacular. This is not the first time

News, Technology

Robo-roach and robo-bird team up to conduct recon mission


It’s almost like a Disney movie: a roach helps a bird take off from its back in order to save their friends – except both the roach and the bird are robotic, and the recon mission was just a test conducted in a lab from the University of California, Berkeley. But this technology could save lives for real, researchers explain. “While

Biology, News, Technology

Scientists 3D print eggs, trick birds into thinking they’re real

Image via 3D print.

It’s more than just a nasty trick – scientists have actually 3D printed eggs to help them better understand bird behaviour. They were especially interested in bird perception and what particular characteristics make them identify real eggs from fake ones.

News, Technology

First Hyperloop ever will be built in California


With the Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc. signing a deal to build the first test track in California, Elon Musk’s “fifth mode of transport”, the Hyperloop, took its first big step from the realm of geeky to the concrete. Work on building the track is set to begin next year.

Health & Medicine, News, Technology

Wearable FES-robot hybrid eases stroke recovery

Credit: Hong Kong PolyU

Hong Kong PolyU has designed a new FES (functional electrical stimulation)-robot hybrid that promises to ease recovery of mobility in stroke victims.

News, Technology

Millions of public domain photos turned into beautiful time lapse videos by Google

Skyscraper timelapse using photos taken from the same viewpoint by different people. The photos were discovered and stitched together by an automated process. Image: YouTube

There are millions and millions of photos under the public domain, and no doubt for some these can be nothing short of a gold mine. For instance, some scientists could find them most useful to compare things like glacial retreat or deforestation with what we’re seeing today or with results generated by models. Shifting through such a catalog is no easy feat, though.

Almost mockingly, Google not only shows that this isn’t half as challenging as it may seem, but also manages to turn image processing and sorting code into spectacular works of art. Using millions of photos scrapped from social networks like Flickr or Picasa, Goggle engineers made an algorithm that stitches them together to make 10,000 timelapse videos. Some are so accurate that you wouldn’t think for a moment each frame is actually a photo taken by some random, different person. Quite amazing, and a nice demonstration of what can be achieved in the future using other, much older data sets.

News, Technology

Robot learns by doing. Starts off plain stupid, then grows smarter – just like us

The BRETT assembling a toy airplane. Image: YouTube

Using a novel deep learning algorithm, a team at UC Berkeley demonstrated a robot that learns on the fly and performs various tasks that weren’t pre-programmed. It starts off shy and clumsy, but eventually gets the ahead of it. For instance, after it stomped a bit around its environment, when given a new task, but with no further instructions, the robot learned by itself to assemble LEGO bricks or twist caps onto pill bottles.

Discoveries, Materials, Tech

A New Class of Magnet Could Mean New Tech Capabilities

Magnified image of a non-Joulian iron-gallium alloy, showing the periodic magnetic “cells”
(Harsh Deep Chopra – Temple University)

Researchers have discovered a new class of magnet that increases in volume when placed in a magnetic field and generates only negligible amounts of heat in the process. These properties could transform many existing technologies and enable a few new ones. Harsh Deep Chopra, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering at Temple University, and Manfred Wuttig, Professor of Materials Science

News, Technology

Don’t write Blackberry off yet: CEO says they’ll be making money from phones again

The blackberry passport

It’s striking how a company like Research in Motion (RIM) went under the radar so fast, considering it used to completely dominate the smartphone market only a couple of years ago. Heck, Blackberry used to be synonymous with a smartphone, granted there was little competition back then. Then the iPhone came out in 2007. Spoosh! In just one year, the