Sep 02, 2015

A smarter desk for tomorrow's schools

posted by Larra Morris

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Designed to enhance future teaching environments, the Future Desk is easy to move and can be assembled in different group formations for discussion. The touch panel and interactive screen that forms the desk surface allows students to receive information from the teacher instantly.
via Yanko Design

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Sep 02, 2015

This library lets you check out people instead of books

posted by Larra Morris

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The “Human Library” originated in Denmark in the year 2000 as part of a youth organization called “Stop the Violence.” The idea is straightforward: library guests can choose which volunteer they’d like to “check out” based on titles the human books assign themselves. Past titles have included “Olympic Athlete,” “Biking Agoraphobic,” “Fat Woman,” and “A Questioning Christian.” Visitors then sit down with their books for half an hour or so to listen to them share their personal stories.

The project is meant to combat prejudice by giving people a chance to connect with someone they may have never had a chance to speak with otherwise. No two accounts are exactly alike, and guests have the unique opportunity to ask questions and interact with the stories as they listen to them.
via Mental Floss

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Sep 02, 2015

Robotic needle can be steered through tissue

posted by Larra Morris

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A robot-assisted system developed at the University of Twente promises to make medical procedures that use needles more precise. The system allows flexible needles to be steered in real time to their target, which negates issues with tissue and organs deforming from the contact pressure or from any unforeseen obstacles that lie between the needle and its target.
via Gizmag

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Image: University of Twente 

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Sep 01, 2015

Algorithm turns any picture into the work of a famous artist

posted by Larra Morris

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A group of German researchers have created an algorithm that basically amounts to the most amazing Instagram filter ever conceived: a convolutional neural network that can convert any photograph into a work of fine art. The process takes an hour (sorry, it's notactually coming to a smartphone near you), and the math behind it is horrendously complicated, but the results speak for themselves.
via Engadget

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Sep 01, 2015

Shape-shifting navigation device points you in the right direction

posted by Larra Morris

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Even in today's GPS-enabled world, asking someone to point you in the right direction can often be easier than wrestling with your smartphone. Enter the Animotus, a wirelessly-connected, 3D printed cube that acts like a sort of haptic compass. Developed by Yale engineer Adam Spiers, the device literally changes shape to point you in the right direction.
via Gizmag

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Sep 01, 2015

New sensor predicts which lung transplants will fail

posted by Larra Morris

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Sometimes, despite the doctors’ best efforts, the transplanted lung begins to malfunction in the recipient’s body. This disorder, called primary graft dysfunction, is the leading cause of death for patients in the immediate aftermath of surgery. 

The new sensor can predict, before transplantation, which donated lungs will malfunction. Biomedical engineer Shana Kelley and her colleagues at the University of Toronto created a tiny electrochemical device that detects several biomarkers associated with graft dysfunction, and can do so within half an hour. The researchers describe the experimental device in the journal Science
via IEEE Spectrum

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Aug 31, 2015

The psychological benefits of having a childhood best friend

posted by Larra Morris

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The study, conducted by psychologist Rebecca Graber of the University of Sussex, surveyed 400 adolescents, ages 11 to 19. According to New York Magazine, the kids were recruited from three schools in low-income neighborhoods in England. They answered questions about their friend groups, the nature of their friendships, and their ability to cope with different obstacles. The study's specific goal was to learn how friendship affects "psychological resilience in socio-economically vulnerable British adolescents," but has broader implications for more general understandings of friendship. 

Graber and her fellow researchers found that kids who had one very strong friendship had better coping skills than those with multiple looser social ties. They theorized that "the emotional support and the sounding board a real best friend provides" helps strengthen kids' resilience.
via Mental Floss

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