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3D-Printed Plastic Sensor Could Make Siri a Better Listener

3D-Printed Plastic Sensor Could Make Siri a Better Listener

Illustration: Steve Cummer/Duke University Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s XBox video game consoles still sometimes struggle to hear their owners in a noisy room. A 3-D printed sensor prototype could solve that problem by giving electronic devices the sensitivity to pick out a single voice or sound. Duke University researchers used common ABS plastic to create an acoustic with properties not found in natural materials—a metamaterial. Their sensor proved capable […]

4-D Light Field Displays Are Exactly What Virtual Reality Needs

4-D Light Field Displays Are Exactly What Virtual Reality Needs

Illustration: Stanford University/ACM SIGGRAPH Ever since our first experience with a prototype of the Oculus Rift, we’ve been getting more and more excited about high quality consumer virtual reality hardware. The first production version of the Rift is almost here, and when it arrives (probably in early 2016), you might even be able to justify its rumored $1,500 […]

Microresonators: Transmitting 40 Communication Channels with One Laser

Microresonators: Transmitting 40 Communication Channels with One Laser

Illustration: Birck Nanotechnology Center/Purdue UniversityThe beam from a single-wavelength laser (left) feeds into a microresonator (center) that creates a bundle of new laser beams with different wavelengths. Interconnections in powerful computers and linking “blades” in data centers will increasingly rely on optical communication links. Currently, this still requires an individual laser with individual control circuitry for […]

Model Predicts Whether NFL Teams Will Run or Pass

Model Predicts Whether NFL Teams Will Run or Pass

Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesTeddy Bridgewater (#5), the quarterback of of the Minnesota Vikings, eludes the pursuit of Pittsburgh Steelers defenders during the NFL Hall of Fame Game on 9 August 2015 in Canton, Ohio. National Football League (NFL) playbooks are the size of telephone books. They’re filled with dozens and dozens of plays, each designed […]

DARPA Funds Stage 2 of XS-1 Spaceplane Design Competition

DARPA Funds Stage 2 of XS-1 Spaceplane Design Competition

Image: Darpa The Space Shuttle was originally intended to make getting to space easy, inexpensive, and routine, with an initial goal of a launch nearly every week. It didn’t quite play out that way, and we’re now back to tossing things into orbit on top of massively expensive rockets that are good for only a single one-way […]

A Computer That Can Sniff Out Septic Shock

A Computer That Can Sniff Out Septic Shock

Photo: Getty Images Dr. David Hagar treats dozens of patients each day at the intensive care unit at John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. One of his patients was almost perfectly healthy except for having low blood pressure. Within four hours, the patient died of septic shock. A group of computer scientists at John Hopkins University partnered […]

Simple Device Could Convert DC Electric Field To Terahertz Radiation

Simple Device Could Convert DC Electric Field To Terahertz Radiation

Illustration: Air Force Research Laboratory Terahertz radiation is touted to open up many wondrous possibilities. T-ray technology could allow security officials to detect concealed weapons from a distance, provide accurate medical imaging, and allow high-speed wireless data communication. One of the challenges in making the technology viable, though, has been developing a compact, efficient, and […]

NASA Commissions Ultra High Temp Chips for Venus Landsailing Rover

NASA Commissions Ultra High Temp Chips for Venus Landsailing Rover

Illustration: NASA If you’re going to absolutely insist on exploring the surface of Venus, there are two enormous problems that need to be dealt with. Problem number one is the enormous pressure, and problem number two is the enormous heat. At 90 atmospheres of pressure and just under 500 degrees Celsius at the surface, very […]

China Tightens Control on Exports of Supercomputers, Drones

China Tightens Control on Exports of Supercomputers, Drones

Photo: AFP/Getty Images China has begun putting new limits on the overseas sales of its most powerful supercomputers and drones. The move to limit some of the more advanced Chinese technologies echoes U.S. restrictions on similar technology exports. Chinese companies seeking to export certain advanced supercomputers or drones will need to apply for export licenses, according to a 31 […]