At a cocktail party, during a baseball game or in any other crowded, noisy place, your brain has to do some high-level filtering so you can separate important sounds from the clanking background. Turning your head helps with this, and researchers are studying how these head movements cause a shift in auditory perception. A team in Japan did the natural thing and used a humanoid robot to figure it out. Watch below as it affably mimics a headphone-wearing human.
The large antennas that used to be part of our everyday lives -- atop the TV, on the boom box, telescoping into the bricklike handsets of our first cordless phones -- have largely been re-engineered over the past two decades to live inside our devices. But the malleable copper and other metals used in standard antennas are somewhat restricting; they can only be bent and straightened so many times before they break.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.