One little yellow robot is a hot contender for cutest medical device
By Val WangPosted 04.10.2009 at 3:18 pm 5 Comments
Two years ago, a yellow spongiform robot named Keepon became a minor YouTube sensation when one of its creators programmed it to do a squishy, twisty dance in time to the Spoon song "I Turn My Camera On." The video has garnered more than 2 million hits. Now Keepon's keepers, Marek Michalowski, a Ph.D student in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, and Hideki Kozima of Miyagi University in Japan, are turning Keepon's attention to a more serious task: to study how children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) interact socially and to see if the robot may be able to help in therapy.
A woman's desire to advertise her vegan lifestyle on her car license plate was shot down by the Colorado DMV, who read a much less appropriate meaning into the letters.
Also in today's links: communication between dolphins, understanding music between cultures, and more.
It all has to do with where the cow was milked. "Organic milk often has to travel thousands of miles to reach distribution points," says Dean Sommer, a cheese and food technologist at the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin. To survive the journey and leave time to spare in the fridge, farmers pasteurize organic milk at higher temperatures than conventional milk.
When Lance Armstrong broke his collarbone a few weeks ago, the sporting world gasped: Superman appeared to be breakable. Sure, he survived testicular cancer and broke up with Sheryl Crow, but, generally speaking, the guy has been infallible since winning his first Tour de France. But is it possible that the collarbone fracture wasn’t an anomaly, but the revealing of Lance’s kryptonite: weak bones?
Whether you clicked on a misleading banner ad, opened a file sent by a Nigerian prince or simply downloaded the wrong porn, everyone's dealt with a computer virus at some point. While bad programming or virus checking software contains most outbreaks, some malware has managed to reach pandemic levels. With the help of Golden Richard III, a professor of computer science at the University of New Orleans and an expert on computer viruses, Popsci.com takes a look at ten viruses, worms and Trojans that reached levels of digital plague.
It's always the pretty ones who get the attention. Scientists trying to raise awareness about a mysterious illness affecting bat populations along the East Coast say that bats' sketchy reputation keeps them from getting the attention they deserve.
But being cute didn't help little puppies in Hungary circa 900-1200 AD. New research shows that sacrifices of adult and baby dogs was more widespread than previously thought. The domestic animals were thought to have been killed to protect against evil. (Although apparently not the evil of killing puppies.)
Also in today's links: why it's okay to read this at work, another study on testosterone and risk, and more.
I've always said that most of what I did as a biology research technician would someday be carried out by a robot or well-trained monkey. Most lab work involves tasks just begging for a robotic hand: repetitive, technical, and exceptionally boring. Some (very well-funded) labs have robots that can perform repetitive physical jobs, like screening gazillions of chemicals for ones that will be medically useful.
But this new robot can do the fun part of science, too -- the thinking. Meet Adam, the first robot that has independently brought a little nugget of experimental knowledge to the world. Adam thought up a hypothesis, tested in the real world, analyzed the data, and then, of course, did it all over again, many, many times.
According to a new study, the controversial, versatile cells could be used to reverse hearing loss
By Amber SassePosted 04.03.2009 at 4:19 pm 5 Comments
Thanks to a new technology that is still a little wet behind the ears, scientists now have reason to believe that stem cells have the potential to restore hearing loss. Although the cutting-edge science behind this project is still in the early research stage, scientist at the University of Sheffield have successfully induced fetal stem cells to behave like sensory hair cells and auditory neurons, two types of cells vital to a functioning auditory system.