research

3D-printed fingerprints may help police access locked phones

3D-printed fingerprints may help police access locked phones

Law enforcement isn't happy about the rise of biometric phone security -- that is, fingerprint sensors -- because it is incredibly hard to bypass. To get around the pesky issue, police have turned to 3D-printing, requesting a lab recreate and 3D print a phone owner's fingerprints in a way that they can be used to unlock the phone. Though the 3D-printed fingerprints haven't yet been verified as functional, the issue has already raised a new round of criticism and privacy concerns.

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Big surprise, hardly anybody is buying smartwatches

Big surprise, hardly anybody is buying smartwatches

Smartwatches may have been heralded as the Next Big Thing in consumer tech, but a stagnating market has seen the segment shrink dramatically compared to last year. Shipments overall drooped 32-percent in Q2 2016, according to the latest IDC worldwide smartwatch report, torpedoed for the most part by dwindling demand for the Apple Watch.

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Researchers map another 180 areas of the human brain

Researchers map another 180 areas of the human brain

A research project funded by the National Institutes of Health has identified 180 new distinct areas of the human brain, specifically of the brain’s outer mantle. According to the NIH, this number is more than double that of the previously mapped brain areas. In addition to identifying these new regions, the researchers behind it also created a new type of software able to find each of these areas’ ‘fingerprints’ automatically, doing so using brain scans.

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China slams brakes on autonomous car public testing

China slams brakes on autonomous car public testing

Public testing of autonomous cars in China has been put on hold, with regulators insisting automakers must wait until the government has figured out the necessary regulations. Several self-driving vehicle projects are underway in the country, but the moratorium means that, for now, prototypes can only be trialled on private facilities.

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DARPA CHIPs program seeks miniature, modular ‘chiplets’

DARPA CHIPs program seeks miniature, modular ‘chiplets’

DARPA has a new program called CHIPS, which is short for Common Heterogenous Integration and Intellectual Property Reuse Strategies Program. A mouthful, right? CHIPS seeks innovation as complex as the name behind the acronym: the taking of modern printed circuit boards and doing away with them via the development of miniature, modular “chiplets.” Says DARPA, it wants “an entire PCB” to be condensed down into a single device that is about the size of one present-day chip.

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NASA atmosphere study: two exoplanets could possibly support life

NASA atmosphere study: two exoplanets could possibly support life

NASA says a pair of exoplanets may have habitable atmospheres based on an atmospheric study researchers recently performed. The scientists focused on exoplanets similar in size to Earth that are described as being ‘temperate.’ The study was done using the Hubble Space Telescope, and found that the exoplanets TRAPPIST-1c and TRAPPIST-1b have atmospheres that could possibly support life.

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Will car-sharing and self-driving cars kill congestion? It’s not so simple

Will car-sharing and self-driving cars kill congestion? It’s not so simple

Car sharing and autonomous vehicles are widely expected to cut road congestion, but the future for drivers may not be so clear cut, according to two new studies released this week. The impact of alternatives to individual car ownership is still fairly uncertain, particularly as the long-term market viability of self-driving vehicles remains mired in legal, ethical, and technological questions, with the potential for traffic jams to initially get worse, not better.

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Facebook may have cracked the big laser-drone internet problem

Facebook may have cracked the big laser-drone internet problem

Facebook is exploring ways of delivering internet connectivity via lasers, developing a new receiver technology that promises to be less complex and more affordable than current systems. Dubbed free-space laser communication, Facebook's break-through is in an all-new optical detector that - unlike existing examples - would neither require mechanical stabilization, nor expensive micro-motors, sensing, or processing.

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NASA study shows global surface temps are setting records in 2016

NASA study shows global surface temps are setting records in 2016

NASA is continuing to conducting its studies on two key indicators of surface temperatures around the globe. Those two key indicators are global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent. According to NASA during the first half of 2016, each of the six months set a record as the warmest respective month globally. Those records are compared to when the modern global temperature recording began in 1880.

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Researchers use nanoparticles to make a round object appear flat

Researchers use nanoparticles to make a round object appear flat

We’re still waiting for someone to create a proper Harry Potter-like invisibility cloak, but in the meantime researchers have used nanoparticles to ‘cloak’ the shape of an object. The work was done by researchers at the Queen Mary University of London’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science; with their newly created system, a curved object like a ball appears to be flat when detected by electromagnetic waves.

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NASA spots two potentially life-supporting alien planets

NASA spots two potentially life-supporting alien planets

Two freshly-identified planets could feasibly support life, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab has concluded, the latest crop of Earth-like possibilities spotted by the Kepler Space Telescope. Though 181 light years away from our own Earth, the two new discoveries are half of a quartet of "promising" planets that could be rocky, among other life-sustaining criteria.

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World’s smallest hard disk can fit all of humanity’s books on a stamp

World’s smallest hard disk can fit all of humanity’s books on a stamp

Researchers with the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at Delft University have created a new “smallest” hard disk, this time using a system where a bit of data is created by positioning one chlorine atom. It now holds the distinction of being the smallest hard disk in the world, though if history proves true, we’ll be seeing someone else break this record soon enough. According to one of the researchers, using this method the entire world’s library of books could be written to one postage stamp.

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