research

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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Inconsistent emoji designs muddle conversations

Inconsistent emoji designs muddle conversations

Be careful which emojis you're tossing around -- what you're seeing may not be what your compatriot is seeing, and that's how sometimes-comical misunderstandings happen. Emojis on their own are great; the little expressive icons add context and flavor to otherwise bland text with little effort. The problem is the lack of consistency across platforms, and as a new study points out, some emojis lose all meaning in translation.

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DARPA wants ‘shape-shifting’ vaccines that evolve with viruses

DARPA wants ‘shape-shifting’ vaccines that evolve with viruses

Vaccines are great, but they’re no match for most viruses in play at any given time. This is due largely in part to the ever-changing nature of viruses and the expense and difficulty in developing new vaccines to target them. DARPA wants that reality to change, citing the numerous concerning viruses, past and present, that affect humanity. Under the “INTERCEPT” program, DARPA seeks “shape-shifting” vaccines that adapt to kill off viruses as they evolve.

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Alphabet unveils new bipedal robot that’s all legs

Alphabet unveils new bipedal robot that’s all legs

While the Google-parent company Alphabet is planning to sell its military-related robotics firm Boston Dynamics, that doesn't mean they don't have other robot projects in development. SCHAFT, which operates under Alphabet's X division (formerly known as Google X), has just unveiled a new bipedal creation in Japan at the New Economic Summit. The name is still unknown, but the bot is capable of climbing stairs, walking across uneven terrain, and even self-balancing.

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Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

Pluto’s ‘ice spider’ is NASA’s most striking find this month

We’re not even halfway through April yet, and NASA’s already tantalizing us with some fascinating discoveries this month. The most recent one involves an “ice spider” on Pluto, a large part of the planet’s landscape featuring “an unusual geological feature” the space agency describes as looking like a big ol’ spider. A color image of the region was snapped by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft last summer, and the photo has just recently been made public.

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