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Monday, 23 Nov, 2009

Technology

Sartre: A New Approach to Commuting

Millions of people spend hours driving to their workplace and back home. The newest European initiative informally called "the Road Train" may prove to be one of the best inventions designed to ease the traffic.

The Sartre project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) financed by the EU's Framework 7 plan is intended to introduce a novel commuting mechanism in a few years. The idea is to link up to eight vehicles (regardless their size and scope of usage) with wireless sensors to a single vehicle conducted by a professional driver. After joining the 'road train' drivers can stop steering their cars and relax – navigation systems and controllers installed on each vehicle will do the job. Drivers will be able to get out of the chain by signaling to the leading driver and taking control of their cars. To join the 'road train' drivers will need to locate the closest 'road train' with the navigation system and specify the destination.

The new system can prove to be one of the best inventions in easing the traffic since it is believed to cut fuel consumption by 20 percent for each vehicle in the chain except for the leader. In addition, it will help prevent traffic jams, reduce the number of car accidents, and take away the stress that occurs while driving. No adaptation of standard roads will be needed.

The testing of the new system will continue for three years in selected European countries upon the completion of the research.


Wednesday, 11 Nov, 2009

Science

An Avatar Can Affect One's Behavior

Research on avatar's impact can become one of the most useful inventions for the video-game industry.

A study carried out at the University of Texas shows that avatars having negative associations (dark or Ku-Klux-Klan-like uniforms) might provoke antisocial behavior.

The experiment included assigning avatars to research participants and asking them either to write a story about their avatars or play a video game with a virtual team. Participants that were assigned 'negative' avatars demonstrated negative behavior in both tasks.

Researchers suggest that this may happen due to deeply ingrained representation of a 'bad guy' wearing dark hooded clothes. Study's findings can be applied in video game development, where avatars can be used to predict players' behavior and increase competitiveness.


Tuesday, 10 Nov, 2009

Technology

Suspect Flu? Use Your Cell!

Scientists are about to come up with one of the most useful inventions – a flu detector incorporated into a mobile phone.

It's been a routine for centuries – to detect respiratory diseases, ranging from cold to pneumonia, doctors initially had to listen to a patient's cough.

The distinctions between casual and disease-provoked cough are known quite well. This made American and Australian researchers think whether it's possible to create special software that would be able to diagnose unhealthy cough by comparing a recording of a particular cough with a database of various coughs.

To compile the database scientists will need to collect over 1000 samples of different coughs from people of different sex, age, and state of health.

One of the most useful inventions might be installed on mobile phones, making people aware of whether they need treatment instantly – the only thing they'll need to do would be coughing into the mic incorporated in their phone. That can save a great deal of time that is usually spent to consult a doctor.


Tuesday, 10 Nov, 2009

Science

Babies Cry in Their Mother Language

Latest discovery proves that babies start learning their language while still unborn.

When did you start speaking your language? At the age of 1? Researchers at the University of Wurzburg insist that we all start acquiring our mother tongues while still in the womb.

They studied 60 newborn babies, one half of those being French, and the other half being German. The findings suggest that babies were clearly imitating the pitch and the melody of their parents' speech when crying.

Traditionally, it was thought that babies start producing sounds resembling their native-to-be languages at the age of 3 months. Researchers are assured that though being isolated from the outer world, unborn babies still can hear sounds, and imitate vocal patterns in order to establish tighter bond with their parents.

Full details of the study have been published in the recent issue of the Current Biology journal.


Tuesday, 10 Nov, 2009

Health & Fitness

Software Reveals Signs of Depression

An interesting invention produced at Massachusetts Institute of Technology – a piece of software capable of diagnosing signs of looming depression in patients.

It's well known that you can say a lot about people by analyzing the way they speak. According to the ABC, Researchers at MIT's Media Lab in collaboration with Cogito Health are going to extend this notion by producing a special voice-analysis computer program that will help medical staff reveal patients in blues, for instance, when holding phone consultations.

Depressed people intend to speak in a low quiet tone with frequent halts, researchers say. The task of the software developers is to 'teach' the program to recognize those typical patterns to assure that people in low spirits would be identified and provided with help sooner than usually.

First study's results of this interesting invention are expected to be published in 2010.


Friday, 06 Nov, 2009

Science

A Virtual Friend for Autistic Kids

An unusual invention released by ArticuLab – a virtual friend for autistic children.

More and more children are diagnosed with autism – incurable mental disorder affecting child's ability to communicate with the outer world. Specialists from ArticuLab (a division at Northwestern University) developed a real-size computer-animated friend for children challenged by the disorder. An autistic child is shown a virtual child playing and is invited to join the game. A special video game interface controls the interaction between an autistic child and his or her virtual friend. HP's TouchSmart PC recognizes child's gestures and provides great assistance in the communication process.

Autistic children tend to interact exclusively with video games, thus this latest invention can shed some light on the way they communicate and how their skills can be improved.


Friday, 06 Nov, 2009

Technology

The World's Fastest Flash Drive

The first USB 3.0 flash drive has been presented lately by Super Talent. The new device will transfer data several times faster than the ordinary USB 2.0 flash drives.

Super Talent's latest release is called SuperSpeed USB 3.0 RAIDDrive and features data transfer at the speed of 200 megabytes per second if connected to USB 3.0 port. Besides, the speed can be increased up to 320 megabytes/second if using the UAS protocol. It can also work with USB 2.0 port; however, the speed of data transfer will be significantly lower.

The new flash drive can provide 32, 64, or 128 gigabytes of space, measuring just 95x37x13mm.

The price of the device is yet unknown. Sales are set to start in December, 2009.
Friday, 06 Nov, 2009

Current Events

Iowa Cat contracted A(H1N1)

As the world is fighting the swine flu pandemic, the first cat to carry the virus has been recently identified in Iowa, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The cat is believed to have contracted the virus from its hosts who have been sick with A(H1N1).

Currently it is unknown whether cats can pass on the virus. Two weeks ago US Department of Agriculture confirmed several cases of virus contraction in pigs.


World's First Vegetarian Spider Discovered
[05 Nov, 2009] Science
see, even spiders go vegetarian :-)
Court to Consider Death Penalty for Child Sexual Abuse
[05 Nov, 2009] Current Events
the only disadvantage of the death penalty is that no one can reverse it once miscarriage of justice is identified. even if the culprit deserves to be killed or even more, there should be room for correcting mistakes judges and jurors can make.
People Will Live Longer By Producing Own Body Parts
[05 Nov, 2009] Science
that would be nice. the remaining question will be 'for what?'
Playing Music Changes the Brain's Anatomy, Making You Smarter
[05 Nov, 2009] Science
hey. mama! i'm stupid 'cause you didn't let me play the piano when i was a kid!
X-Ray Is the Most Important Contemporary Invention
[05 Nov, 2009] Science
Huh, I thought the Internet would be considered the most important.
Bridge Harnesses Wind Energy from Passing Cars
[05 Nov, 2009] Environment
so green, so green :-)
Television Makes Children Aggressive
[05 Nov, 2009] Offbeat
this is for real, tv makes even grown-ups agressive. especially when commercials are too long.
Latest Invention: System that Generates Power From Asphalt
[05 Nov, 2009] Environment
holy cow, soon they will start getting energy from us!
Latest Invention: Special Glasses for Dry Eyes
[05 Nov, 2009] Technology
i'm one of those geeks wearing specs, unfortunately. now i should check if i got any 'ocular dehydration' :-)
Latest Invention: Software That Automatically Repairs the System Affected by Malware
[05 Nov, 2009] Technology
i'm not a pro, but i think prevention is better than treatment. thumbs up!
Smiling Improves Women's Self Esteem and Appearance, Scientists Say
[05 Nov, 2009] Health & Fitness
it's not only about women :-) xoxo
100 Rules for Chinese Next-Generation Astronauts
[05 Nov, 2009] Health & Fitness
how are they gonna check that?
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