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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.

Neutron stars in the computer cloud

August 29, 2013 9:24 am | News | Comments

The combined computing power of 200,000 private PCs helps astronomers take an inventory of the Milky Way. The Einstein@Home project connects home and office PCs of volunteers from around the world to a global supercomputer. Using this computer cloud, an international team analyzed archival data to discover 24 pulsars which has been previously missed by astronomers.

Digitized collection data to give scientists new tools for research

August 28, 2013 9:19 am | News | Comments

Data can be a challenge for many scientists, including entomologists. From bumblebees to blister beetles, the world-class Univ. of Kansas entomology collection numbers 5 million insects pinned in drawers, each one with a tiny printed or handwritten label. A web-accessible and searchable database called Specify has been implemented to help digitize this massive collection.

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Researcher controls colleague’s motions in first human brain-to-brain interface

August 27, 2013 2:50 pm | by Doree Armstrong and Michelle Ma, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

Univ. of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher. Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other side of campus, causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard.

Exploring Google Glass through eyes of early users

August 27, 2013 2:26 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Google Glass is designed to work like a smartphone that's worn like a pair of glasses. Although it looks like a prop from a science fiction movie, the device is capturing imaginations beyond the realm of nerds. Some 10,000 people are trying out an early version of Glass, most of them selected as part of a contest. Their feedback reveals some advantages and shortcomings of the technology.

Reliable communication, unreliable networks

August 6, 2013 4:12 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Now that the Internet’s basic protocols are more than 30 years old, network scientists are increasingly turning their attention to ad hoc networks where unsolved problems still abound. Most theoretical analyses of ad hoc networks have assumed that the communications links within the network are stable. But that often isn’t the case with real-world wireless devices.

New app puts idle smartphones to work for science

July 23, 2013 12:00 pm | by Robert Sanders, Univ. of California, Berkeley | News | Comments

Android smartphone users will soon have a chance to participate in important scientific research every time they charge their phones. Using a new app created by researchers at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, users will be able to donate a phone’s idle computing power to crunch numbers for projects that could lead to breakthroughs ranging from novel medical therapies to the discovery of new stars.

System automatically generates TCP congestion-control algorithms

July 18, 2013 3:30 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

TCP, the transmission control protocol, is one of the core protocols governing the Internet: If counted as a computer program, it's the most widely used program in the world. One of its main roles is to prevent computer congestion. A new computer system, dubbed Remy, automatically generates TCP congestion-control algorithms that control network congestion at transmission rates two to three times as high as human-derived algorithms.

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Study: Electronic health records help fight vaccine-preventable diseases

July 18, 2013 2:11 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Columbia Univ. School of Nursing have found that electronic health record (EHR) system to automate the immunization data shared between health providers and public health agencies enables physicians to assist individual patients faster and more effectively, while also providing more immediate, cohesive community data to the agencies tasked with promoting public health.

China's online population rises to 519 million

July 17, 2013 10:04 am | News | Comments

China's population of Internet users has grown to 591 million, driven by a 20% rise over the past year in the number of people who surf the Web from smartphones and other wireless devices, an industry group reported Wednesday. The rise of Web use has driven the growth of new Chinese industries from online shopping and microblogs to online video.

Experts say U.S. spy alliance will survive Snowden

July 16, 2013 9:34 am | by Nick Perry and Paisley Dodds, Associated Press | News | Comments

American information is so valuable, experts say, that no amount of global outrage over secret U.S. surveillance powers would cause Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to ditch their collaborative spying arrangement: the Five Eyes. Revelations from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, they say, are unlikely to stop or even slow the global growth of secret-hunting—an increasingly critical factor in the security and prosperity of nations.

Graphene could speed future internet by 100 times

July 12, 2013 7:48 am | News | Comments

Researchers in the U.K. have demonstrated for the first time incredibly short optical response rates using graphene. Ordinarily, optical switches respond at rate of a few picoseconds. Through this study physicists have observed the response rate of an optical switch using ‘few layer graphene’ to be around one hundred femtoseconds—nearly a hundred times quicker.

Developers achieve world record in optical coupling efficiency

July 3, 2013 3:27 pm | News | Comments

Researchers of the Univ. of Stuttgart have achieved a new world record in coupling efficiency between optical fibers and integrated silicon waveguides. The breakthrough, which resulted in a coupling efficiency of 87%, was based on newly developed aperiodic grating coupler structures optimized at the nanoscale.

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NSF, Mozilla announce breakthrough applications on faster, smarter Internet

June 27, 2013 7:33 am | News | Comments

US Ignite's Next-Generation Application Summit is convening in Chicago this week, a year after the administration announced US Ignite, an initiative comprising public and private partners seeking to jumpstart gigabit application development that can take advantage of advanced networks. Twenty-two winning “apps”, highlighted by Mozilla and the National Science Foundation, are being featured at the summit.

New method 700 times faster at magnifying digital images

June 21, 2013 10:42 am | News | Comments

A computer engineer in Spain has been developing new image thresholding algorithms to greatly speed the process of image magnification without compromising image quality. Images transferred over the Internet are often reduced; restoring them to their former quality requires complex mathematical routines, many of which are time-consuming. The faster algorithm could affect a wide variety of imaging routines, such fingerprints or MRI scans.

Google begins launching Internet-beaming balloons

June 17, 2013 2:54 pm | by Martha Mendoza and Nick Perry, Associated Press | News | Comments

Eighteen months in the works, the top-secret project was announced Saturday in New Zealand, where up to 50 volunteer households are already beginning to receive the Internet briefly on their home computers via translucent helium balloons that sail by on the wind 12 miles above Earth. Google is launching these Internet-beaming antennas into the stratosphere aboard giant, jellyfish-shaped balloons.

U.S. intelligence chief backs Internet spy program

June 8, 2013 11:53 pm | by JIM KUHNHENN - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The top U.S. intelligence official stressed Saturday that a previously undisclosed program for tapping into Internet usage is authorized by Congress, falls under strict supervision of a secret court and cannot intentionally target an American citizen. He decried the revelation of that and another intelligence-gathering program as reckless.

Cyber experts say calling out China may be working

June 5, 2013 5:51 pm | by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press | News | Comments

After years of quiet and largely unsuccessful diplomacy, the U.S. has brought its persistent computer-hacking problems with China into the open, delivering a steady drumbeat of reports accusing Beijing's government and military of computer-based attacks against America. Officials say the new strategy may be having some impact.

Wi-Fi signals enable gesture recognition throughout entire home

June 5, 2013 5:44 pm | by Michelle Ma, University of Washington | News | Comments

Forget to turn off the lights before leaving the apartment? No problem. Just raise your hand, finger-swipe the air, and your lights will power down. Using the common Wi-Fi signals generated by a commercial router, University of Washington computer scientists have developed gesture-recognition technology that brings this a step closer to reality.

U.S. defense programs target of China cyber threat

May 29, 2013 1:20 pm | by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press | News | Comments

While officials have been warning for years about China's cyber espionage efforts aimed at U.S. military and high-tech programs, the breadth of new revelations about the extent of cyberattacks will increase pressure on American leaders to take more strident action against Beijing to stem the persistent breaches.

Wild, unregulated hacker currency gains following

April 11, 2013 3:16 am | by Raphael Satter, Associated Press | News | Comments

Bitcoins are a virtual currency whose oscillations have pulled geeks and speculators alike through stomach-churning highs and lows. But an increasing number of transactions—up to 70,000 each day over the past month—that have propelled bitcoins from the world of Internet oddities to the cusp of mainstream use, a remarkable breakthrough for a currency which made its online debut only four years ago.

Domain name group plans satellite office in China

April 8, 2013 5:47 pm | News | Comments

The agency that oversees Internet domain names says it will open a satellite office in China, home of the world's largest Internet population. Monday's announcement comes as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers holds its spring meeting in Beijing this week.

Experts: North Korea training teams of “cyber warriors”

March 24, 2013 4:55 pm | by Youkyung Lee, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Malware shut down 32,000 computers and servers at three major South Korean TV networks and three banks last Wednesday, disrupting communications and banking businesses, officials said. Investigators have yet to pinpoint the culprit, but the focus remains fixed on North Korea, where South Korean security experts say Pyongyang has been training a team of computer-savvy "cyber warriors" as cyberspace becomes a fertile battleground in the standoff between the two Koreas.

Shimadzu, Integrated Analysis bring enterprise-level private-cloud services to laboratories

March 20, 2013 2:56 pm | News | Comments

In today's laboratories, experimental data sets are growing larger, and critical tasks such as data storage, processing, mining, and sharing have become cumbersome, error prone, and expensive. The i3D Enterprise Service, offered by Shimadzu Scientific Instruments and Integrated Analysis Inc., overcomes these challenges by integrating storage, processing, and data mining in an enterprise-level private cloud.

Genomic data is growing, but what does it tell us?

March 20, 2013 2:46 pm | by Susan Meikle and Iddo Friedberg, Miami University | News | Comments

We live in the post-genomic era, when DNA sequence data is growing exponentially. However, for most of the genes that we identify, we have no idea of their biological functions. They are like words in a foreign language, waiting to be deciphered. A new project called CAFA, for Critical Assessment of Function Annotation, is helping channel the flood of data from genome research to deduce the function of proteins.

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