research

DURUS Learns to Walk like a Human, Prefers Adidas

DURUS Learns to Walk like a Human, Prefers Adidas

DARPA really wants robots that can walk efficiently like a human and do human things like drive vehicles and use ladders, tools, etc. The road to robots that can do that sort of thing are paved with smaller steps where bots learn to walk just like a human child. One of these robots that is a step on the ladder to robots that can work like people is the SRI DURUS robot.

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Study: monkeys in Brazil used stone tools 700 years ago

Study: monkeys in Brazil used stone tools 700 years ago

Capuchin monkeys used stone tools to open cashews 700 years ago, according to a new study from the University of Oxford, and it may just be the tip of a larger discovery about monkeys and tool usage. While that discovery itself isn’t that big of a deal — past studies have found evidence of monkeys using tools — it is notable because of the region in which these tools were found: Brazil. In past studies of this sort, the evidence for monkey tool usage has been found in parts of Asia and Africa.

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Ceres may hold ice deposits in permanently shadowed regions

Ceres may hold ice deposits in permanently shadowed regions

The search for water in our solar system is one that hasn't turned up too many results, but scientists may have a lead on water in a rather unlikely place. According to new research, the dwarf planet Ceres has spots on its surface that are permanently dark, and could therefore remain cold enough to trap water ice and keep it at stable temperatures.

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Researchers find evidence of water clouds beyond our solar system

Researchers find evidence of water clouds beyond our solar system

Researchers have discovered evidence of water clouds beyond our solar system for the first time, it has been announced, and they were found in an unlikely place: the cold brown dwarf star WISE 0855. The dwarf was first discovered in 2014, and it is relatively close to our own planet, being only 7.2 lightyears away. Most notably, WISE 0855 is the coldest object humans have yet discovered beyond our solar system, and it is so dim researchers have to use need infrared technologies to see it.

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Stingray robot is part rat heart and part breast implant sprinkled with gold

Stingray robot is part rat heart and part breast implant sprinkled with gold

Scientists and researchers around the world are working on tiny robots that use organic cells in their construction. The latest such robot device to use organic sells is the soft robotic stingray you see in the image here. This contraption is able to move under its own power by flapping its stingray-like wings and it's made using rat cardiac cells.

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Microsoft’s CAP takes on IFTTT with more natural language

Microsoft’s CAP takes on IFTTT with more natural language

IFTTT, short for IF-This-Then-That, is one of those "Web 2.0" things that power users love but regular Joes and Janes can't fully grasp. At the same time, it has created a new culture of automation, be it desktops or smartphones, and could even help the fledgling IoT industry to truly take off and expand beyond its limited borders. Microsoft, who already launched its own take on automation with Flow, is taking another stab at it via its Microsoft Research arm. Curiously and tragically named "CAP", short for Conditional Action Programmer", the still experimental platform puts a different twist to the idea by letting users type in their tasks in a more natural English language form.

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Neanderthal cannibalism evidence found in Belgium

Neanderthal cannibalism evidence found in Belgium

A cave in Belgium has produced remains with signs of cannibalism among Neanderthals in the region, according to a new study. The bones were found in the Troisieme cavern in Goyet; it is the largest cache of Neanderthal bones found in Northern Europe, and it comprises four adults and one child. Of these remains, about 30-percent of the bones are broken in a way that would have been used to extract marrow and they show cut marks from tools that only human could wield.

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Smartwatches could make it easier for hackers to obtain PINs, passwords

Smartwatches could make it easier for hackers to obtain PINs, passwords

You would think wearables like smartwatches would be just as secure at protecting sensitive data like passwords and PINs as the smartphones they're paired with, especially when they run on the same software platform. It turns out, however, that smartwatches have a very distinct way of making it easier for hackers to obtain that data: the motion sensors used to detect movement and gestures.

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Exoplanet has three suns and takes 550 years for a single orbit

Exoplanet has three suns and takes 550 years for a single orbit

Scientists have discovered an exoplanet far, far from the Earth that has a unique solar system. The planet is called HD 131399Ab and it is dubbed the widest ranging exoplanet in a mutli star system. That is a fancy way of saying that this planet lives in a solar system where there are three suns and it has a massive orbit. How massive is that orbit you ask- about 500 times larger than the Earth's.

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Researchers store 200MB of data on molecular strands

Researchers store 200MB of data on molecular strands

Microsoft and researchers from the University of Washington have set a new record and reached a milestone in DNA storage. The team has been able to store 200MB of data on the molecular strands of DNA. Just as interesting as setting a new record for data capacity is the fact that the stored data took up a tiny amount of space described as "much smaller than the tip of a pencil."

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Microsoft opens up Minecraft AI research tool to the public

Microsoft opens up Minecraft AI research tool to the public

What started out as a rather simple, open-ended sandbox and survival game has turned into something more than what creater Markus "Notch" Persson probably imagined. Although Minecraft remains a virtual world where people can let their creativity run wild, it has also become a tool that can be used for the common good. In addition to using Minecraft for educational purposes, Microsoft has also turned it into a research tool. Project Malmo, formerly called Project AIX, uses Minecraft's open world for artificial intelligence research and is now available as open source for everyone to use.

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U.S. Navy funds bomb-sniffing bugs research

U.S. Navy funds bomb-sniffing bugs research

The human sense of smell isn't that great, and so humans have largely relegated the task of sniffing out items -- non-pungent drugs, hidden bombs, missing people -- to dogs. Dogs are great at what they do, but they pose some issues, as well. For one thing, training bomb-sniffing dogs is expensive. In addition, a dog can alert to something but it can't break down what it smells or give us any details. Bugs though? They may be the solution.

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