Voice command has made huge strides in recent years, especially in the mobile space--Google has implemented voice search and some basic commands into Android, and now Apple has integrated Siri, a voice-command app, deeply into the guts of the iPhone.
Talking not just to, but with our computers has always been a tantalizing, futuristic idea--not least for its radical potential to make applications more fully accessible to the disabled.But as we were discussing voice control at PopSci HQ yesterday in light of Apple's news, we realized something interesting: while none of us younger tech types use today's voice control tech regularly, it seems as if our parents actually do use it, and often. Why is that?
A prolonged chill in the atmosphere high above the Arctic last winter led to a mobile, morphing hole in the ozone layer, scientists report in a new paper. It's just like the South Pole hole we all studied in school, but potentially more harmful to humans — more of us live at northern latitudes. Here are five things you need to know about it.
Last week, I visited Solingen, Germany's "city of blades," where knives, swords, and the like have been made for centuries. In between sipping beers and munching wursts, I paid a visit to the factory of Zwilling J.A. Henckels, at their kind invitation, to peer at the semi-roboticized lines where they produce their knives.
Last December, Felisa Wolfe-Simon announced the discovery of a microbe that could change the way we understand life in the universe. Soon she found herself plunged into a maelstrom of bitter backlash and intemperate criticism. A dispatch from the frontiers of the new peer review
This should have been Felisa Wolfe-Simon’s moment in the sun. But as the television crew takes positions, the 34-year-old scientist glances at the gray, churned-up lake behind her and gathers her collar around her neck. On cue, she begins her explanation of this lake’s unique chemistry, her voice rising in volume and pitch above the wind.
As 3-D printing in various media and materials becomes more ubiquitous, we're starting to see some things emerging that directly challenge some norms and understandings of what craftsmanship and engineering are and can/will be. For instance, today we bring you a violin magnificently printed by German firm EOS to the specs of a Stradivarius, challenging the way we think of artisanal craftsmanship.
Of all our human organs, skin is arguably one of the most abused — yet it’s also arguably the most reliable. It protects everything inside us, helping us avoid harm by sensing obstacles in our way, making sure we stay hydrated, and ensuring we keep ourselves at the right temperature. It constantly replenishes itself, sloughing off former layers that we’ve either burned or dried out or scraped or ignored, while new ones grow in their places.
Click here for a photo gallery of future skin technology for humans and machines.
When we look at how evolution has taken us from eyeless blobs to moderately capable bloggers, it can seem like a vast, unknowable force. But when we look at individual traits and how they appear and disappear in clever ways, the functioning of cause and effect is clear, and fascinating, to see. People keep poisoning your lake? Well, Mr. Fish, why don't you develop a resistance to that poison, and pass it down to your kids? Bats keep ignoring your flower and pollinating others? Well, tropical vine, how about evolving an echolocation-reflecting satellite-dish-shaped leaf? We gathered a list of ten evolutions and adaptations that are either new or newly discovered, ranging from plants to animals to, yes, people. We're not perfect, either.
“You can grip the wheel very loosely,” the BMW engineer told me as I settled into the driver’s seat of the BMW Track Trainer. “Very loosely, to get a feel for how it is turning. But do not touch the pedals.” I detected in his tone an “unless” on the way. “Unless I yell stop! In which case you should grip the wheel tightly and stomp on the brakes.” He smiled. “Shall we go?”
Nike just announced that it's bringing the famed self-tying, light-up sneakers from Back to the Future II to market as a limited edition, under the name Nike Air Mag. They're not tech-free, boasting some flashy LED lighting, but everyone knows the main draw of the movie's shoes was the self-tying--and these shoes could have been so much more futuristic. It may not be 2015, the year depicted in the movie, just yet, but that doesn't mean we don't deserve self-tying shoes right now, dammit. Here are some possible routes to the true self-tying shoe.
For a decade now, the editors of Popular Science have been seeking out promising young researchers at labs across the nation, and for a decade we've been dazzled by the intelligence and creativity of the people we've discovered. This year's honorees, like the 90 others before them, represent the best of what science can achieve. Some are looking for specific solutions to daunting social problems, such as how to manufacture more-effective drugs or cheaply diagnose diseases in developing nations.