Mar 02, 2015

Why can't some people see Magic Eye pictures?

posted by Laura Domela

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When we discussed how Magic Eye pictures work, a lot of people commented about how they can never see the hidden image. So what gives? Is there something wrong with these people's eyes? Are they cursed? Are there really no hidden pictures? Is this all a hoax?

Most Magic Eye problems have to do with the way the eyes work with each other and the brain. To view 3D stereo images, your peepers have to work together as a coordinated team. If they're not pulling together, you're going to have some glitches in your binocular (two-eyed) vision or stereo vision (where the two slightly different views from your eyes are combined in the brain). A number of things can cause binocular and stereo vision impairment — most commonly, deviations or misalignments of one or both eyes ("crossed eyes" or "wall eyes"), situations where one eye is dominant because visual stimulation either transmits poorly or not at all from the other, astigmatism or cataracts. If you think you have an eye problem, go see an eye doctor who can test and treat your stereo vision.

If your eyes are fine, then your Magic Eye problems could just be a matter of technique.
via Mental Floss

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Mar 02, 2015

Thought-controlled drones may be just the first step in aviation revolution

posted by Larra Morris

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In what may be a just a taste of what's possible when you merge robotics and neuroscience, researchers from Portugal's Brainflight project have successfully demonstrated a drone flight piloted by human thought.

The Brainflight project is led by Portuguese technology firm Tekever with the backing of several science organizations across Europe and follows in the footsteps of similar research efforts carried out around the globe. Back in 2012, researchers at Zhejiang University in China were able todemonstrate a mind-controlled drone by slapping a electroencephalogram (EEG) headset on subjects to measure their brainwaves. More recently, a project at the University of Minnesota saw pilots able to control quadcopters by imagining opening or closing their fists.
via Gizmag

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Mar 02, 2015

This mushroom artist grows his own fungal furniture

posted by Larra Morris

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Ross has been experimenting with mushrooms since the ‘90s, when he became interested in their medicinal properties and health benefits. Once he found they were infinitely renewable and understood the materials could conform to the shapes and conditions of the environment, the artist began dreaming up more complex forms.

Mushrooms, Ross says, are a “self-extinguishing organic material” that can be used to create habitats for humans on Earth or even in space. He is currently working on a prototype, envisioning a demonstration building on the San Francisco waterfront to show how mushrooms can be used as building materials.
via MAKE

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Feb 27, 2015

Robear robot care bear designed to serve Japan's aging population

posted by Larra Morris

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Japan is facing an aging population in the coming decades and that means more people requiring care, and less people to provide it. In an effort to meet the shortfall, RIKEN and Sumitomo Riko Company Limited have developed Robear, an experimental nursing care robot that combines advanced robotics and a non-threatening design.

Robear is based on Riken's Robot for Interactive Body Assistance (RIBA) and RIBA II assistance robots that were unveiled in 2009 and 2011, respectively. It was developed by the RIKEN-SRK Collaboration Center for Human-Interactive Robot Research in Nagoya, and is designed to be strong, yet gentle, with a cartoonish head and a soft design that is intended to be as un-Transformer-like as possible.
via Gizmag

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Feb 27, 2015

Watch a robot play the violin better than you can

posted by Larra Morris

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Wish you hadn't been so quick to give up violin practice as a kid? You may never get to turn back the clock, but retired engineer Seth Goldstein is showing that there's still hope of reliving those musical ambitions through technology. He recently showed off Ro-Bow, a kinetic sculpture that uses robotic fingers (specifically, electromagnetic actuators) to play digital music files on a real violin. While the machine won't have concert performers rethinking their careers, it's probably better with a bow than you were way back when -- it can handle a fast Irish jig as well as a slow, sentimental tune like "Amazing Grace." The Ro-Bow hardware would have to shrink and get a bit of polish to be useful as more than an art project, of course.
via Engadget

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Feb 27, 2015

Kitchen towels designed to look like sushi when properly rolled

posted by Larra Morris

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Designer Jenny Pokryvailo has created a series of kitchen towels that look like sushi when properly rolled. The design was submitted to Ototo, which previously produced Pokryvailo’s design for the Nessie Ladle, a soup ladle that resembled the Loch Ness Monster.
via Laughing Squid

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Image: Jenny Pokryvailo

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Feb 26, 2015

Astronomers discover mysterious black hole as massive as 12 billion suns

posted by Laura Domela

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In a galaxy far, far away—12.8 billion light-years away to be more exact—is a newly-discovered supermassive black hole that weighs as much as 12 billion of our suns. The most surprising thing about the black hole, though, is not its size but its age.

Black holes grow as they age, gobbling up gas and stars that foolishly venture too close. Astronomers have found more massive black holes before, but this one is surprisingly young. Because it is so far away, we "see" the black hole as it was 12.8 billion light-years ago, or only about 875 million years after the Big Bang. Astronomers are puzzled how this black hole grew so huge in so short a time.
via Gizmodo

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Image: Zhaoyu Li/Shanghai Astronomical Observatory 

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