Jul 10, 2014

Concept skyscraper rises from recycled waste of residents

posted by Larra Morris

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The Organic London Skyscraper concept seeks to show how the financial outlay required to build a skyscraper could be moderated. The idea proposes that the paper and plastic waste created by the existing residents or tenants of a building could be recycled and used to create panels for its continued construction. The building would grow using the waste of its residents and Chartier-Corbasson suggests that enough materials could be produced within a year to create the building's façade.

To minimize costs and make cash-flow more manageable, the proposal calls for waste materials to be collected and sorted within the building, which would then be refabricated on-site into construction panels. In addition, the quicker that vacant spaces within such a building are taken, the quicker construction would be completed due to the increased amount of recyclable waste being produced. In this way, the building is self-regulating.
via Gizmag

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Jul 10, 2014

'MacGyver' robots use their environment to solve problems

posted by Larra Morris

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Robots almost universally treat the environment as one giant obstacle that needs to be avoided. But obstacles can be turned into tools, as long as you know what the obstacles are potentially good for. In the video below, Georgia Tech's Golem Krang robot uses a bunch of stuff that would otherwise be problematic to perform a task:

In this experiment, we design a complete rescue scenario with a 100 kg brick object blocking entry to a room and another 100 kg loaded cart. Interestingly, the loaded cart becomes a fulcrum for an arbitrary board to topple the bricks. Then the bricks, which were initially an obstacle, are used as a fulcrum for a lever to pry open the door. Finally the robot uses a wider board to create a bridge and perform the simulated rescue.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Image: Georgia Tech

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Jul 10, 2014

The middle of this massive indoor maze reveals how to get back out again

posted by Larra Morris

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Getting lost in a museum is easy, and aimlessly wandering from wing to wing is a nice, relaxing, not-at-all-claustrophobic way to spend an afternoon. Alternatively you could venture into The BIG Maze at DC's National Building Museum, an on-site installation filled with winding paths, dead-ends, and a cool reveal at the end of the road...

From the outside, there's no possible way to see what awaits within the perimeter, but a funny thing happens when the threshold is crossed. As the path gets closer to the center, the walls gradually get lower and lower, and then: Voila! You've made it to the very middle, you can see everything rise up around you, and (apparently) the exit route is clear.
via Gizmodo

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Jul 09, 2014

Algorithm hunts rare genetic disorders from facial features in photos

posted by Laura Domela

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Even before birth, concerned parents often fret over the possibility that their children may have underlying medical issues. Chief among these worries are rare genetic conditions that can drastically shape the course and reduce the quality of their lives. While progress is being made in genetic testing, diagnosis of many conditions occurs only after symptoms manifest, usually to the shock of the family.

A new algorithm, however, is attempting to identify specific syndromes much sooner by screening photos for characteristic facial features associated with specific genetic conditions, such as Down’s syndrome, Progeria, and Fragile X syndrome.
via Singularity Hub

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Jul 09, 2014

How to sail around the world and not go mad

posted by Laura Domela

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Navigating a sailboat out of the heart of a fierce coastal squall takes a special combination of concentration and skill. But for an extremely weathered yachtsman, surviving tough weather might become a sort of routine, a ritual even. Draw down the mast, bale out the water, hope for the best, pray.

But maintaining that same sort of calm and attention—the kind it takes to successfully ride out the torrent—becomes much more complicated when it is a seafarer’s 200th solo day out on the open ocean, and there’s just been a windless fortnight spent on the equator, baking under the sun. It takes a personality, a special kind of salt, to endure these nautical challenges, especially when they’re part of a larger attempt at circumnavigating the globe, using only two hands and the sails flapping above.
via Pacific Standard

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(Photo: 14degrees/Flickr)

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Jul 09, 2014

Wireless-controlled contraception implant is coming, says MIT

posted by Laura Domela

MIT's decade-plus pitch to embed microchip-based drug-dispensaries in humans has been re-framed as a microprocessor-based, wireless-controlled, fully Internet-of-Things-compliant, implantable contraceptive.

Since 1999, MIT's Robert Langer et al have been pitching the idea of using microchips to deliver medicines. The idea, way back then, was envisaged chips with reservoirs of drugs kept behind a gold membrane. Applying a voltage to the membrane would dissolve it to release the liquid. 

Perhaps because healthcare is one of the world's most regulated research fields, it took from 1999 to 2006 for MicroCHIPS (the company set up to commercialise the technology and manage the patent portfolio) to get through its pre-clinical work, according to the Boston Business Journal.

That was followed up with its first clinical trial, which was completed in 2012, testing dispensing osteoarthritis medications.
via The Register

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Jul 09, 2014

MIT finger device reads to the blind in real time

posted by Larra Morris

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Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.

The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.
via Boston.com

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Image: AP

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Jul 09, 2014

Hospitals hope to predict illness by analyzing your spending habits

posted by Larra Morris

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Advertisers aren't the only ones interested in your spending habits — hospitals and insurance companies are taking note as well. Carolinas HealthCare, which operates hundreds of healthcare facilities from hospitals to nursing homes and care centers throughout North and South Carolina, is purchasing transaction data and other information on its patients to try and get ahead of any medical problems, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The data, including purchase history and information like car loans, is put through an algorithm that gives a risk score to patients. That score can then be shared with doctors. A representative from Carolinas HealthCare tells the magazine that it plans to start routinely giving those scores to health-care professionals in two years' time, and it hopes to do more with the data. 
via The Verge

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Jul 09, 2014

A 3D visualization of the risk to surrounding New York City buildings imposed by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

posted by Larra Morris

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Software provider Cube Cities has created a visualization of the risk to surrounding buildings in New York City posed by the presence of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to promote its risk mapping services. The giant, sentient mascot from Ghostbusters was placed on a Google Map at 52nd Street to highlight potential rampage.
via Laughing Squid

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Jul 08, 2014

Modern kids react to playing Game Boy

posted by Laura Domela

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To celebrate the 25th anniversary of handheld console, The Fine Brothers gave a bunch of kids Game Boys and asked them what they thought of them. SPOILER: Not impressed. So not impressed some of them can't even understand how people could have possibly enjoyed playing with them. Spoiled little jerks. I used to play marbles and have checker wars with my brother when I was a kid. I am well over 200 years old.
via Geekologie

 

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