Researchers at MIT like what they see so far from a camera that can perform a nifty trick: peer around a corner.
And it captures a 3D image to boot.
The innovative process is called femtophotography, after the incredibly quick laser pulses involved; they're measured in quadrillionths of a second. Those bursts of light bounce around off ordinary doors or walls or floors -- mirrors need not apply -- and make their way back to a picosecond-accurate detector at the camera (picoseconds = trillionths of a second) that records the elapsed time and then does the math on how the light bursts traveled.
The system runs through the drill multiple times in that blink of an eye, with the light bursts traveling several different routes to provide a more complete 3D image.
Or to put it in a more mind-blowing perspective, the camera captures all that target object illumination at the equivalent of roughly 1 trillion frames per second. Much more detail is available at this FAQ on the Camera Culture site.… Read more
The U.K. has nearly 100 metric tons of plutonium--dubbed "the element from hell" by some--that it doesn't know what to do with. The island nation does not need the potent powder to construct more nuclear weapons, and spends billions of British pounds to ensure that others don't steal it for that purpose. The unstable element, which will remain radioactive for millennia, is the residue of ill-fated efforts to recycle used nuclear fuel.
Patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center may receive cancer diagnoses and treatment with the help of IBM's Watson supercomputer by the end of 2013.
Watson would make diagnoses and suggest treatment approaches that take into account individual patient concerns, the Associated Press reported today.
Using its natural-language processing powers, the artificial intelligence system will study textbooks, oncology studies, and medical records if patients give permission. An advisory panel will test its assessments of increasingly complicated cancer cases. … Read more
Imagine a military surveillance robot that looks and moves like a jellyfish and can ply the seas indefinitely by powering itself with ocean water.
A team of researchers at Virginia Tech, the University of Texas at Dallas, and several other schools are working to develop just such a device.
In a paper published yesterday in the journal Smart Materials and Structures, team members outlined their recent progress on the "Robojelly" project, which is being funded by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research.
Made of a combination of silicone and various high-tech materials, the Robojelly uses … Read more
When you are a man who has everything--and has had everything for some time--how many pleasures are left upon this planet?
It is, therefore, with a vast thrust of uplift that I report that Ashton Kutcher, he of CBS' "Two And A Half Men," a huge but fragile Twitter account, and a smile that floats many a romcom, is being taken into space.
Time magazine reports that Kutcher has become the 500th human being to sign up for a suborbital Virgin Galactic flight.
Virgin's Sir Richard Branson was so heartily chuffed by this increase in his revenue … Read more
Queue up The Village People doing "In the Navy." Then follow it up with "Mr. Roboto" by Styx. Next, throw in Hendrix doing "Fire." Put it all together, and you'll have the perfect soundtrack for the Navy's new humanoid firefighting robot, named Saffir.
Saffir stands for "shipboard autonomous firefighting robot." I could just stop here and let that description be enough awesomeness for one day, but there's more.
This humanoid robot comes from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. It is designed to fit through the cramped passageways of Navy ships, interact with the sailors onboard, and fight fires with cool features like the ability to throw PEAT grenades. No, not that kind of peat. We're talking "propelled extinguishing agent technology."… Read more
Venice again faces a centuries-old danger: It is continuing to sink. And scientists now warn that the lagoon city is even slowly tilting slightly to the east.
The warning, carried in the March 28 issue of Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, contradicts earlier research that argued that the process of subsidence had stopped during the 2000s. This followed a decision by the city to stop pumping groundwater from beneath the city.
In the Venetian lagoon, which surrounds the city and protects Venice from the Adriatic Sea, sea levels have been rising at a rate of … Read more
In the video game Re-Mission, players are tasked with piloting the microscopic robot Roxxi to blast away cancer cells as she navigates the bodies of fictional cancer patients.
A new study that took real-time functional MRI scans of 57 people randomly assigned to either play the game or watch it being played has found that those who played exhibited increased activity in the brain's positive motivation circuits, while those who merely observed exhibited no increase in activity.
"Identifying a direct connection between the stimulation of neural circuits and game play is a key step in unlocking the potential … Read more
Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz says the idea for a health care site like CareZone had been germinating for about a decade.
But it wasn't until two years ago that he had some time to really devote to it. It was then that he and his good friend Walter Smith, one of the creators of the Apple Newton, sat down to talk about how they could make a difference in the lives of people who are caring for elderly parents or for children who have issues--people who want a safe place to store medical records and share access to … Read more