research

Brazil targets zika virus with smelly, mosquito-killing billboards

Brazil targets zika virus with smelly, mosquito-killing billboards

Brazil, epicenter of the growing zika virus outbreak, is now home to a pair of billboards that smell like sweaty humans and exist merely to lure mosquitoes to their death. The billboard — the kind that is placed on a city sidewalk — emits a mixture of carbon dioxide and lactic acid aromas to mimic the scent of human sweat, attracting mosquitos from as far away as 2.5km. It is called, appropriately enough, the Mosquito Killer Board, and it was created by ad agencies NBS and Posterscope. Even better, blueprints for the board have been released for free.

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Study suggests monkeys crossed the ocean 21 million years ago

Study suggests monkeys crossed the ocean 21 million years ago

The discovery of seven small fossilized teeth led to a surprising revelation: 21 million or so years ago, Panamacebus transitus monkeys crossed 100 miles or more of ocean to travel from South America to North America, doing so at a time when the two weren’t connected together by land. The fossilized teeth were found during excavations at the Panama Canal, and pose bigger questions than they answer.

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Meet Jia Jia, China’s realistic talking robot

Meet Jia Jia, China’s realistic talking robot

Researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China on Friday revealed a realistic robot they've been working on for the past three years. Called, Jia Jia, the robot is said to be capable of human-like facial expressions, along with talking and interacting with people nearby. While its creators describe it as looking similar to a "real woman," at least it's a step up from that nightmarish home-made Scarlett Johansson robot.

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This ultra-thin electronic skin puts a digital display on your body

This ultra-thin electronic skin puts a digital display on your body

Smartwatches and fitness device may be the wearables of today, but in the not-too-distant future we be using super-thin skin-like membranes that can put a digital display right on the surface of our bodies. University of Tokyo researchers are bringing us closer to such a future, as they've been developing a new type of electronic skin, or e-skin, that is nearly as flexible and stretchy as the real stuff, but has the benefit of putting polymer light emitting diodes (PLEDs) on your hand or anywhere it's applied.

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‘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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