research

Jaguar Land Rover “Bike Sense” aims to save cyclists’ lives

Jaguar Land Rover “Bike Sense” aims to save cyclists’ lives

In the UK alone, a recorded staggering 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured each year, making what is in theory a healthy lifestyle also a dangerous one. That is why Jaguar Land Rover is investing in research and automotive technology that aims to make roads a safer place for cyclists, not by simply relegating them to a part of the road but by helping inform drivers of oncoming bikers. They're calling it Bike Sense and it gives drivers a sort of sixth sense, thanks to advancements in driver assistance technologies.

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NASA releases Ceres shots as Dawn nears dwarf planet

NASA releases Ceres shots as Dawn nears dwarf planet

NASA has shared its newest photos of distant dwarf planet Ceres, the next destination for the long-traveling Dawn spacecraft as it continues its nearly two-decade mission. The 590 mile wide planet is just 27 pixels across in Ceres' first snapshot, beamed back to Earth as the exploring spaceship makes its approach, but that's still enough to help guide the craft into orbit. Meanwhile, the quality will only increase as the distance from the mysterious planet shrinks: NASA says that the next scheduled photos will be the best shots of Ceres ever seen by human eyes.

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Microsoft Research wants to use lasers to recharge phones

Microsoft Research wants to use lasers to recharge phones

Wireless charging, with all its competing standards, has nothing on Microsoft Research's rather ambitious idea. The research arm of the tech giant is looking for the most efficient and, at the same time, safest way to charge mobile devices without involving strangling cables and hugging walls. It's answer? Lasers, not the destructive kind you see in fiction or medicine but light that carries energy, making our smartphones the functional equivalent of energy-gathering solar panels, except without the need to look for the sun every time you need a battery boost.

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Was 2014 really the hottest year on record?

Was 2014 really the hottest year on record?

Is climate change real, has the Earth got warmer, and was 2014 truly the hottest year on record? NASA waded into the heated argument over heat with unequivocal claims that we can't ignore rising temperatures, citing not only its own numbers but those of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and concluding the environment is getting hammered by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. However, while the claims may be bold, other researchers are less convinced that the results are so clean-cut, arguing that the sheer complexity of taking an average of the world's temperature leaves certainties far from reach.

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Mario AI learns how to run through levels on its own

Mario AI learns how to run through levels on its own

We've all played at least one version of the traditional, 2D style Mario games from Nintendo, running towards the right, jumping on baddies and collecting gold coins. Well, a group of scientists are taking the game a step further and trying to develop an artificial intelligence that will have our favorite Italian plumber navigating levels all on its own. Dubbed the Mario AI Project, its aim is to have the character make its own decisions and be aware of itself and the environment.

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Skydio schemes smarter drones that dodge and follow

Skydio schemes smarter drones that dodge and follow

Smarter drones that can auto-pilot around obstacles, track people as they walk, run, or even do extreme sports, and all by mimicking human vision could help take the buzzing camera platforms mainstream, one startup insists. Skydio is hoping to bypass the existing - and for the most part confusing - controls drones use with more onboard intelligence, processing a 2D view of the terrain around into a 3D map of what could get in the way. The result is not only a drone that could spot a tree and swoop around it, but the possibility of more intuitive navigation that requires little more than flagging a person or area as being the subject of interest.

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NASA spots the Mars lander lost for a decade

NASA spots the Mars lander lost for a decade

It was the little space explorer that astronomers forgot, the Beagle 2 Mars Lander that went silent back in 2003 and has never spoken up since, but thanks to NASA's eye-in-the-sky has now been found again. Scientists at the European Space Agency had resigned themselves to never knowing the fate of Beagle 2, which landed on the red planet as part of the Mars Express mission but then failed to respond after touchdown on December 25, 2003. New shots from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, however, have revealed the final resting place of the lander, as well as tantalizing details about quite how far into its mission it actually made it.

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Talking virtual traffic lights could trim commute by 40%

Talking virtual traffic lights could trim commute by 40%

Traffic lights that are projected onto your windshield and change color according to the actual road conditions rather than a preset pattern could cut commute times by 40-percent, new research has claimed. The technology, dubbed Virtual Traffic Lights and already spun out into a startup by a team at Carnegie Mellon University, would rely on cars that can intercommunicate with each other and the road infrastructure, whispering their location and thus allowing real-time decisions about which lights should be green and which should be red. If implemented, it could not only save time behind the wheel, but cut stress and emissions it's suggested.

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Elon Musk donates $10M to Artificial Intelligence research

Elon Musk donates $10M to Artificial Intelligence research

The team at Future of Life Institute have announced this week that Elon Musk has donated a cool $10 million dollars to help run a global research program "aimed at keeping AI beneficial to humanity." This program will be carried out globally through an open grants competition in which funds will go toward AI researchers and AI research involving other fields including policy, law, and ethics, amongst others. "This will provide the impetus to jump-start research on AI safety," said Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence president Tom Dietterich.

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Folding@Home turns Xperia phones into Alzheimer researchers

Folding@Home turns Xperia phones into Alzheimer researchers

Most smartphone users don't use their devices while they sleep, unless they've mastered the arcane art of sleeptexting. Those devices sit silently and idly, lying in wait for the next time its owner's touch wakes it up. Now, however, those "wasted" computing power can be put to good use even while we slumber, by lending their processing power to more altruistic causes, studying proteins and helping in the fight against diseases like Alzheimer's, thanks to a new Folding@Home app now available on Sony's Xperia smartphones.

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