research

‘FlexCase’ project puts e-ink secondary display inside phone case

‘FlexCase’ project puts e-ink secondary display inside phone case

Microsoft Research and the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria have teamed up to create “FlexCase,” a prototype smartphone case that features a secondary e-ink display for extended touch-based activities. The display isn’t just for displaying data, though — sensors coupled with flexible panels allow the user to control the main display using various taps, bends, and twists.

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Microsoft’s CaptionBot AI wants to understand your photos

Microsoft’s CaptionBot AI wants to understand your photos

Microsoft's plan to make artificial intelligence so helpful, we can't help but welcome it into our lives, continues today with the launch of CaptionBot. Following in the footsteps of Fetch! and Translator, CaptionBot sets itself a fairly straightforward challenge on the face of things, but behind the scenes it's really not as easy as you might think.

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Study suggests consciousness happens in small, fast intervals

Study suggests consciousness happens in small, fast intervals

A new study suggests that consciousness is not a constant state, but rather a series of intervals — frame rates, essentially — that play in series. The moments between each interval are spent in an unconscious state, though we obviously don’t perceive it that way. The work was done by researchers with the University of Zurich, Ulm University, and the EPFL; they came to their conclusion by studying both behavioral and psychological studies.

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Facebook Terragraph and Project Aries aim to deliver fast internet everywhere

Facebook Terragraph and Project Aries aim to deliver fast internet everywhere

Facebook wants people everywhere to have fast internet access. While that is a great thing for being able to access information of all sorts, fast internet everywhere also means more users for Facebook as one of the most visited destinations online. The issue with rolling out faster and faster internet service around the world is the cost associated with laying fiber optic cables. The Facebook Connectivity Lab is working on projects called Terragraph and Project Aries to address these issues.

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Flexible sheet cameras may one day allow any surface to capture images

Flexible sheet cameras may one day allow any surface to capture images

Researchers at Columbia University are working on a very different approach to imaging that could one day usher in a new era for capturing visual information. The researchers are working on flexible sheet cameras with elastic optics that can be bent and twisted. Ideally this sort of camera system would be made like a roll of plastic sheeting and could be used to image in ways that conventional cameras are unable to do.

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Ancient humans likely gave Neanderthals herpes, tapeworms and more

Ancient humans likely gave Neanderthals herpes, tapeworms and more

According to a new study, Neanderthals may have been wiped out largely in part due to the diseases the ancestors of modern humans brought them. Herpes, tapeworms, tuberculosis, and stomach ulcers were among the issues humans brought Neanderthals; they weren’t prepared for these “tropical diseases,” and the end result was likely severe, affecting small groups of Neanderthals as they came into contact with migrating ancient humans.

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Facebook just poached Google’s ATAP chief for its own moonshots

Facebook just poached Google’s ATAP chief for its own moonshots

Facebook has poached Regina Dugan from Google, with the former DARPA chief heading up a new moonshot team dubbed "Building 8" for the social network. Dugan had, until recently, been working on some of Google's more unusual or ambitious projects as part of the ATAP, or Advanced Technology and Products, group, including the Ara modular smartphone.

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Breakthrough Starshot wants to send a nanocraft to Alpha Centauri

Breakthrough Starshot wants to send a nanocraft to Alpha Centauri

Space certainly lives up to its name with vast distances that we need to travel to reach anything inside or outside our solar system. It's over 230,000 miles from the Earth to the moon and takes days for a spacecraft to reach it. A group called Breakthrough Initiatives wants to devise a tiny spacecraft called the nanocraft and send it to Alpha Centauri, the closest star outside our solar system, and they think they have a plan to get the tiny nanocraft to the star about 20 years after it launches.

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CDC says zika virus ‘scarier’ than thought as US prepares for outbreak

CDC says zika virus ‘scarier’ than thought as US prepares for outbreak

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailed the state of zika virus preparations in the nation, saying the virus is “scarier” than the agency first thought. The outbreak first started in Brazil about a year ago, and has since worked its way north, affecting Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Hawaii, among other places. The CDC has found that zika-carrying mosquitos could make their way into more U.S. states than previously assessed.

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LSD unifies brain networks in an infant-like state, study finds

LSD unifies brain networks in an infant-like state, study finds

LSD can return the brain to an infant-like state, according to a newly published study. According to researchers with Imperial College London, LSD breaks down the individuality between brain networks, resulting in a more cohesive overall network that works in a more unified manner. This is compared to a sober adult’s brain, which has its various networks, such as hearing and vision, working independently.

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Chinese researchers develop solar cell that can charge in rain

Chinese researchers develop solar cell that can charge in rain

We are always in the search alternative sources of energy, mostly from renewable resources. In practice, that usually translates to solar and wind power, mostly the former. But while the sun is almost always available, at least during the day, it can sometimes be hidden for hours under a torrent of rain. To get past at least that situation, a group of researchers from the Ocean University of China and Yunnan Normal University are developing a new time of solar cell that can generate electricity even without the sun. At least as long as there is rain.

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Radioactive boars are taking over Fukushima farmland

Radioactive boars are taking over Fukushima farmland

Since the earthquake and resulting nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, radioactive boars have been breeding in great numbers, and now only a handful of years later they’ve become a major pest, affecting nearby farmland and posing big problems for residents in neighboring cities. Boars are enough of a problem — radioactive boars are another issue altogether, as they must be disposed of in a safe manner. The growing number of boars have caused nearly a million dollars in damage to crops, and the number will continue to rise if a solution isn’t found.

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