research

Cyborg cockroach experiment locates disaster survivors through sound

Cyborg cockroach experiment locates disaster survivors through sound

They may be one of the most disgusting insects you've ever seen, and laying eyes on one in your kitchen probably makes you want to scream, but one day cyborg cockroaches could save your life if you're trapped in a disaster. A pair of researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a way to control the bugs through a circuit board connected to their brain, and having them find the sources of sounds, including human voices.

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Dinosaur skull’s 3D digital restoration brings wide access to researchers

Dinosaur skull’s 3D digital restoration brings wide access to researchers

Fossils are an important part of palaeontological research, but their fragile and precious nature makes access difficult for many. To solve this problem, researchers from the University of Bristol and more have restored a damaged dinosaur skull digitally, turning it into a complete 3D model with the damaged and missing portions corrected. With these 3D models, scientists are able to study fossils without physically accessing them, something that simultaneously helps preserve fossils and increase access to them. The work was recently detailed in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

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Astronauts trap GoPro in floating water orb on ISS

Astronauts trap GoPro in floating water orb on ISS

This week NASA posted a video on its YouTube page of astronauts playing with a GoPro and an orb of water they had floating around. Like magic, they trapped the action camera in the sphere of water while it was recording, showing what the world looks like from inside of a water bubble, as well as what a GoPro looks like when encased and floating. As you'd expect, this took place on the International Space Station, and was part of a look at water surface tension as experienced in a microgravity environment.

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Congrats, Google Glass researchers, obviousness successfully stated

Congrats, Google Glass researchers, obviousness successfully stated

Of all the faults, goofy aesthetics, and generally questionable decisions around Google Glass, the fact that wearing it on your face means you might not be able to see quite as clearly seems a pretty commonsense issue. Still, a team at the University of California, San Francisco opted to look at just that, trying to figure out whether a head-mounted display could in fact present a significant risk to peripheral vision. It'll come as little surprise to find that having a chunk of electronics poised over your right eye does indeed block off some of your visual field.

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Virgin Galactic backers said wavering after spaceship crash

Virgin Galactic backers said wavering after spaceship crash

Virgin Galactic is pushing ahead with construction of its second SpaceShipTwo craft, following the first's disastrous crash last Friday, though some early ticket holders are already backing out and requesting refunds. The second space ship - which will carry serial number two - is around 65-percent built, Virgin Galactic said today. Meanwhile, outspoken company founder Richard Branson has accused "self-proclaimed experts" of drawing conclusions about the craft's safety when "a lot of whom know nothing about what they talk about," following early statements by the National Transportation Safety Board about initial findings.

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Facebook “I’m a Voter” sends election apathy on a guilt-trip

Facebook “I’m a Voter” sends election apathy on a guilt-trip

It's voting day in the US, and Facebook is pushing apathetic social networking addicts to get out and cast a ballot, running another highly-visible campaign to encourage activity in the midterm elections. A new banner running at the top of the Facebook wall offers the virtual equivalent of a sticker for those who take advantage of their democratic rights, while clicking the "I'm a Voter" widget takes users to a map to find out where their nearest voting station is. It's not just idle whistling, however: research indicates Facebook's timely prompts - not to mention the virtual peer pressure of seeing those of your friends who have already voted - actually gets people into the booths.

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“Transparent cockpit” AR could fix driver blind spots

“Transparent cockpit” AR could fix driver blind spots

Who says augmented reality is just for games or entertainment? The same ideas and technologies that allows us to superimpose virtual images onto real objects in almost realistic fashion could very well save lives in the future. Take, for example, this "transparent car" concept from researchers from Keio University in Japan, a system that could potentially work around drivers' blind spots, letting them see crucial information that are otherwise occluded to them by doors, windows, ceilings or floors, giving them the details that they need to make that life-saving decision.

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Virgin Galactic crash investigation finds early aero oddity

Virgin Galactic crash investigation finds early aero oddity

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo unexpected deployed its "feathering" system shortly before crashing, the National Transportation Safety Board investigators have said of the incident on Friday last week, which saw one pilot killed and another seriously injured. "About nine seconds after the engine ignited, the telemetry data told us that the feather parameters changed from lock to unlock," NTSB acting chairman Christopher Hart revealed during a press briefing today, something which took place on the fateful test flight at Mach 1.0 - the speed of sound - but which should not have happened until around Mach 1.4.

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China recovers its first unmanned spacecraft to return from moon

China recovers its first unmanned spacecraft to return from moon

Saturday saw China recover its first spacecraft to take part in an experiment of flying to the moon and returning. While the craft didn't actually land on the surface, as that's what this mission was practice for, it did successfully fly around the moon on an eight-day trip, marking the first time in almost 40 years that an unmanned ship returned to Earth after making a lunar rotation.

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Virgin Galactic’s Branson vows “the dream lives on”

Virgin Galactic’s Branson vows “the dream lives on”

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, has spoken publicly on the crash of SpaceShipTwo, promising to not only figure out what brought down the craft during a test flight last week, but hopefully continue working toward the dream of space tourism. The incident, on Friday, saw SpaceShipTwo explode over the Mojave desert in California during a test of the new engine, killing one pilot in the process and leaving the other with major injuries. Second explosion of a private space endeavor in the space of a week, it has renewed questions around commercial space flight.

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