Telekinesis sports: the first brain-controlled drone race

drone racing

Last Friday, sixteen students from the University of Florida entered in an unusual competition: a race between drones controlled solely by the participants’ thoughts.

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Life with VR: a short adaptation guide

Microsoft HoloLens blends reality with virtual objects.
Image via wikimedia user Microsoft Sweden.

As far as innovations go, it stands in a class of its own by allowing us to virtually alter the real world around us. It carries an echo of the changes mass media and computers brought into our lives, but there hasn’t been anything quite like it in our history. Among other things, VR could have a very powerful impact on our home life.

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Microsoft’s new A.I. writes captions for images (and it’s hilarious)

a10

We tested Microsoft’s CaptionBot and had some laughs.

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People pick up and use discarded USB drives they find almost half the time

I'd pick that up too.
Image via flirk user Gold Brick Custom USB Drives.

Portable data storage, such as USB drives, might not be quite as useful or sought after as they once were but they remain an undeniably handy method to carry your data around.

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Amputee can feel fine textures again with a bionic fingertip

The bionic fingertip. Credit: Alain Herzog/ EPFL

You might be able to grip, grab and direct hand movements with a prosthesis as if it were your own biological hand, but without the exquisite sense of touch life is not only stale, but also challenging. We’re coming close to a singularity in prosthetic research, however — having bionic arms that sense pressure, texture, temperature and humidity just like their biological counterparts.

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Stretchable artificial skin might make robots more human, and vice-versa

A highly stretchable electroluminescent skin capable of stretching to nearly five times its original size. Credit: Chris Larson

An artificial ‘skin’ can stretch up to 480 percent its original size, and can sense changes in pressure – a haptic feature that could lend both robots and human prostheses a sense of touch.

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Quantum computers might soon render RSA encryption obsolete

Finding the private key for a RSA protocol can take years on the fastest supercomputers. ImageȘ Pixabay

Using only five atoms, a team of international researchers showed how to factor a prime, albeit a trivial one for demo purposes.

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Finally, someone invented the thermometer for the nanoscale

IBM scientist Fabian Menges with his invention. Image: IBM

Up until now, there was no reliable way to measure the temperature of nanoscale objects, like viruses.

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Book-sized biological supercomputer is powered by ATP

The biochip is like a busy city. Image: PNAS

A revolutionary new supercomputer powered by Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy source for every living cell in your body, is ridiculously small and much more efficient than a traditional supercomputer. That’s because instead of electricity, this computer is powered by biological agents. This means it needs little to any cooling, and can be scaled to the size of a book.

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Passive Wi-Fi uses 10,000 less energy and can power devices

UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated “passive” Wi-Fi transmissions that use 10,000 times less power than current methods.University of Washington

University of Washington researchers want to flip Wi-Fi energy use upside down. They’ve invented a new protocol and technique that uses 10,000 less energy. The same signal can be used to power devices without the need of an external power source. Cameras, temperature or motion sensors can all be power and connected to the internet at the same time using ‘passive Wi-Fi.’

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