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New system allows for high-accuracy, through-wall, 3-D motion tracking

December 11, 2013 12:19 pm | by Abby Abazorius, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Gaming could become much more realistic with new technology developed at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) that permits highly accurate, 3-D motion tracking. The new system, dubbed “WiTrack”, uses radio signals to track a person through walls and obstructions, pinpointing her 3-D location to within 10 to 20 cm, about the width of an adult hand.

Accelrys acquires enterprise compliance software company QUMAS

December 10, 2013 1:27 pm | News | Comments

Scientific innovation lifecycle management solutions provider Accelrys has added to its enterprise capabilities with the acquisition of Ireland-based QUMAS for $50 million in cash. QUMAS is a global provider of cloud-based and on-premises enterprise compliance software supporting regulatory and quality operations in life sciences and other highly regulated industries.

Tech firms vie to protect personal data, profits

December 10, 2013 8:39 am | by Marcy Gordon and Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writers | News | Comments

Even as Silicon Valley speaks out against the U.S. government's surveillance methods, technology companies are turning a handsome profit by mining personal data. Tarnished by revelations that the National Security Agency trolls deep into the everyday lives of Web surfers, companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are aggressively battling any perception that they voluntarily give the government access to users' information.

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Researchers investigate role of consumers in sustainable product development

December 5, 2013 9:02 am | News | Comments

From green electricity tariffs to car sharing schemes, many sustainable products and services are being brought to market by start-ups. However, there has been relatively little research into how and why individuals take this step and whether their start-ups become a success. Fourteen European institutes coordinated by the Technical Univ.  of Munich will be investigating this trend to see what potential it holds for a sustainable economy.

Mission possible: Simulation-based training and experimentation on display

December 3, 2013 7:53 am | by Eric Beidel, Office of Naval Research | News | Comments

The Office of Naval Research is demonstrating the Fleet Integrated Synthetic Training/Testing Facility (FIST2FAC) in Florida this week, showing how gaming technology is helping naval forces develop operations strategies in a hassle-free way.

China claims victory in scrubbing Internet clean

December 2, 2013 1:39 pm | by Didi Tang, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Chinese government has declared victory in cleaning up what it considers rumors, negativity and unruliness from online discourse, while critics say the moves have suppressed criticism of the government and ruling Communist Party. Beijing launched the campaign this summer, arresting dozens of people for spreading rumors and creating new penalties for people who post libelous information.

Suit challenging Google's digital library dropped

November 14, 2013 3:51 pm | by Tom Hays, Associated Press | News | Comments

A federal judge on Thursday tossed out a class-action lawsuit brought by authors against Google Inc., clearing the way for the Internet giant to create the world's largest digital library. Google already has scanned more than 20 million books for the project. The Authors Guild, which brought the suit, was seeking $750 for each copyrighted book that was copied.

Governments mining Google for more personal data

November 14, 2013 2:50 pm | News | Comments

Google has become less likely to comply with government demands for its users' online communications and other activities as authorities in the U.S. and other countries become more aggressive about mining the Internet for personal data. Legal requests from governments for people’s data have risen 21% from the last half of last year.

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Second Apple-Samsung trial in U.S. gets underway

November 12, 2013 6:36 pm | by Paul Elias, Associated Press | News | Comments

A federal judge and lawyers for the world's two biggest smartphone makers began picking a jury Tuesday to determine how much Samsung Electronics owes Apple for copying vital iPhone and iPad features. A previous jury had awarded Apple $1.05 billion, but a judge found the jury miscalculated the amount and ordered a new trial to determine how much Samsung should pay.

Biometrics researchers see world without passwords

November 12, 2013 12:50 pm | News | Comments

Iris scans, fingerprint scans, facial and voice recognition are tools that improve security while making our lives easier, says Stephen Elliott, director of international biometric research at Purdue Univ. His basement lab is a place where emerging biometric technologies are tested for weaknesses before they can go mainstream.

Google invests $608 million in Finnish data center

November 4, 2013 7:43 am | News | Comments

Google says it is investing 450 million euros to expand a data center in southern Finland as part of Europe-wide development plans totaling hundreds of millions of euros. The investment comes on top of the 350 million euros Google Inc. has spent converting an old paper mill, which started operations as a data center in 2011.

National Robotics Initiative invests $38 million in next-generation robotics

October 25, 2013 8:53 am | News | Comments

The National Science Foundation, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA, has announced new investments totaling approximately $38 million for the development and use of robots that cooperatively work with people to enhance individual human capabilities, performance and safety.

EU lawmakers approve tough new data protection laws

October 22, 2013 8:28 am | by Juergen Baetz, Associated Press | News | Comments

European Union lawmakers on Monday adopted sweeping new data protection rules to strengthen online privacy, and sought to outlaw most data transfers to other countries' authorities to prevent spying. The draft regulation was beefed up after Edward Snowden's leaks about allegedly widespread U.S. online snooping, and the legislation is poised to have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies.

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Giga-year storage medium could outlive human race

October 17, 2013 2:14 pm | News | Comments

Although the amount of data that can be stored has increased immensely during the past few decades, it is still difficult to actually store data for a long period of time. A researcher has recently demonstrated a way to store data for extremely long periods, even millions of years, using an etched wafer made of tungsten encapsulated by silicon nitride. The material is resistant to both time and elevated temperatures.

NSF awards $12 million to deploy Comet supercomputer

October 7, 2013 2:24 am | News | Comments

The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the Univ. of California, San Diego, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to build Comet, a new petascale supercomputer designed to transform advanced scientific computing by expanding access and capacity among research domains. Comet will be capable of an overall peak performance of nearly two petaflops, or two quadrillion operations per second.

COMSOL Conference 2013 Boston begins Oct. 9

October 3, 2013 4:14 pm | News | Comments

Multiphysics software developer COMSOL is holding its COMSOL Conference Oct. 9-11 at the Boston Marriott Newton. The event will draw together more than 2,000 engineers, scientists and researchers to learn from leaders in multiphysics simulation and discover the latest tools from COMSOL.

Leading universities, IBM team up to advance cognitive systems research

October 2, 2013 9:09 am | News | Comments

Computing systems like IBM Research’s Watson have been engineered to learn, reason and help human experts make complex decisions involving extraordinary volumes of fast-moving data. To advance the development and deployment of these cognitive computing systems, IBM has announced a collaborative research initiative with four top universities.

FDA lays out rules for some smartphone health apps

September 24, 2013 8:32 am | News | Comments

With the rise of the iPhone, Android and other mobile devices has come a flood of applications designed to help people stay healthy. Food and Drug Administration officials say they will now begin regulating applications and gadgets that work with smartphones to take medical readings and help users monitor their health.

NSF report details increase in business research and development

September 20, 2013 12:25 pm | News | Comments

According to a recent study published by the National Science Foundation (NSF), businesses spent more on research and development (R&D) in 2011 than they did in 2010. The figures revealed that during 2011, companies in manufacturing industries performed $201 billion, or 68%, of domestic R&D.

Machine learning builds “stories” from wearable camera videos

September 13, 2013 12:09 pm | News | Comments

Computers will someday soon automatically provide short video digests of a day in your life, your family vacation or an eight-hour police patrol, say computer scientists at the Univ. of Texas at Austin. The researchers are working to develop tools to help make sense of the vast quantities of video that are going to be produced by wearable camera technology such as Google Glass and Looxcie.

Data: a resource more valuable than gold?

September 13, 2013 11:54 am | News | Comments

From Sept. 16 to 18, 2013, top leaders from the White House and U.S. science agencies and their international colleagues will gather for three days in Washington, D.C., for a major meeting of the Research Data Alliance (RDA). More than 850 researchers and data experts belong to the RDA, which focuses on the development and adoption of common tools, harmonized standards and infrastructure needed for data sharing by researchers.

New Intel CEO shares vision of computing future, quark chip

September 12, 2013 7:45 am | News | Comments

During this week’s Intel Developer Forum, new Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced a number of near-term changes for the company’s product line, including new LTE and 14-nm products, and a lower-power product family called Quark directed at future wearable electronics devices.

Hackers find weaknesses in car computer systems

September 3, 2013 9:40 am | by TOM KRISHER - AP Auto Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

As cars become more like PCs on wheels, what's to stop a hacker from taking over yours? In recent demonstrations, hackers have shown they can slam a car's brakes at freeway speeds, jerk the steering wheel and even shut down the engine — all from their laptop computers. The hackers are...

Skype eye contact finally possible

August 29, 2013 4:27 pm | by Angelika Jacobs, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

Those separated from family and friends by long distances often use video conferencing services such as Skype in order to see each other when talking. But who hasn’t experienced the frustration of your counterpart not making direct eye contact during the conversation? A software prototype from the laboratories ETH Zurich may be able to help by leveraging the color and depth information made available by XBox Kinect cameras.

NIST makes new recommendations for system patches, malware avoidance

August 22, 2013 8:43 am | News | Comments

Vulnerabilities in software and firmware are the easiest ways to attack a system, and two revised publications from NIST approach the problem by providing new guidance for software patching and warding off malware. The new computer security guides to help computer system managers protect their systems.

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