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Luis von Ahn: Massive-scale online collaboration

All for free  After re-purposing CAPTCHA so each human-typed response helps digitize books, Luis von Ahn wondered how else to use small contributions by many on the Internet for greater good. At TEDxCMU, he shares how his ambitious new project, Duolingo, will help millions learn a new language while translating the Web quickly and accurately … Continue reading

Species Protection and Technology

Advances in genetics may change aspects of environmental policy in the future.   Protecting endangered species is a legitimate goal for public policy. But we cannot expect that public policy will prevent all species extinctions, because scientists estimate that hundreds of species, if not thousands, become extinct every year, many without our knowledge. A rational … Continue reading

What the 2012 TED Prize Means for ‘The City 2.0’

Cities are the great hope for our future   The organization behind the high-profile uber-conference TED has announced an unusual winner for the 2012 iteration of its TED Prize. The award is formally presented at the annual TED conference in February, when the winner announces his or her “wish” – a project that builds off … Continue reading

CardSpring Raises $10 Million To Connect Payments To The Web

There is a huge need for this type of payments platform.   We measure every last click when it comes to the Web, but there remains a gulf between online and the real world. Yet the online world increasingly drives behavior offline, especially when it comes to purchasing habits. How many times have you researched … Continue reading

Self-steering bullet researched by US weapons experts

A self-guiding bullet that can steer itself towards its target is being developed for use by the US military.   The bullet uses tiny fins to correct the course of its flight allowing it to hit laser-illuminated targets. It is designed to be capable of hitting objects at distances of about 2km (1.24 miles). Work … Continue reading

Urban Cultivator automatically grows greens indoors

Prices for the consumer model start at US$2,200   There’s no question that fresh herbs taste better than their dried counterparts, nor is there any denying that garden-fresh veggies are preferable to ones that have spent the past several days in a truck or on a supermarket shelf. People who are lucky enough to live … Continue reading

Smart Paint Could Revolutionize Structural Safety of Bridges, Mines and More

The environmentally-friendly paint uses nanotechnology to detect movement   An innovative low-cost smart paint that can detect microscopic faults in wind turbines, mines and bridges before structural damage occurs is being developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.? The environmentally-friendly paint uses nanotechnology to detect movement in large structures, and could shape … Continue reading

Bass-thumpin’ music used to power implantable medical sensor

A novel power supply: the acoustic energy from bass-heavy riffs of rap music   We’ve been following the evolution of patient-embedded medical sensors for some time – miniature devices that run on batteries, transcutaneous (through-the-skin) induced current, even sugar, and provide constant monitoring of various metabolic parameters. Now, a team from Purdue University’s Birck Nanotechnology … Continue reading

Wireless Sensors Monitor Brain Waves on the Fly

EEG does not directly read thoughts.   Electroencephalography used to require a person to sit still while a computer tracked the brain’s electrical impulses. A newer technology untethers this research A fighter pilot heads back to base after a long mission, feeling spent. A warning light flashes on the control panel. Has she noticed? If … Continue reading

Osim’s new USB-powered US$170 uPixie uses EMS to massage and tone while you work

The uPixie is likely to be the first of many of this genre of product   OSIM, better known for its advanced massage chairs, has begun selling a US$170 thumb-sized USB massager which uses Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS – the same technology you first witnessed in biology when your teacher made a dead frog’s leg … Continue reading