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Object Recognition For Robots

John Leonard's group in the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering specializes in SLAM, or simultaneous...

Grasping How The Brain Plans Gripping Motion

With the results of a new study, neuroscientists have a firmer grasp on the way the brain formulates...

Chimpanzees Binge On Clay To Detox

Wild chimpanzees in the forests of Uganda are increasingly eating clay to supplement the minerals...

Sleep Makes Our Memories More Accessible

Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access,...

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A group called the Blind Driver Challenge team in Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory  has retrofitted a four-wheel dirt buggy with laser range finders, an instant voice command interface and a host of other cutting-edge technologies.

Does it sound like Knight Rider's KITT or something out of a Terminator movie?   Only if those drivers are blind.

It's still in the early testing stage but the National Federation of the Blind considers the vehicle a major breakthrough for independent living of the visually impaired. 
Scientists in Nevada are reporting development of a new and environmentally friendly process for chicken parts that are a lot better for you than Chicken Nuggets - namely, producing biodiesel fuel from 'chicken feather' meal, the 11 billion pounds of poultry industry waste that accumulate annually in the United States alone.

In the study Mano Misra, Susanta Mohapatra, Narasimharao Kondamudi, and Jason Strull used chicken feather meal, which consists of processed chicken feathers, blood, and innards that have been processed at high temperatures with steam.
University of Utah School of Medicine researchers and their colleagues at University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center have found strong evidence that abnormal calcium signaling in neurons may play an important role in the development of spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2), a disorder causing progressive loss of coordination, speech difficulty, and abnormal eye movements. Their findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

SCA2 is an inherited neurodegenerative disease that predominantly affects neurons called Purkinje cells in the cerebellum, the region of the brain that controls voluntary muscle movements, balance, and posture. It is one of a group of genetic disorders characterized by ataxia, or loss of muscle coordination. 
Scientists in Hangzhou joined residents and tourists across China and India in observing the longest total solar eclipse in a century - and probably the most-viewed one ever.  The moon's shadow traced a path across the world's two most populous countries for five minutes and 36 seconds, a treat for scientists and spectators alike. 

"We saw it! The clouds kept getting thinner, and we even had a pretty good-sized hole in the clouds for the five minutes of totality," reported Expedition Leader Jay Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams and chair of the International Astronomical Union's Working Group on Solar Eclipses, at an observatory near Hangzhou, China as part of the Williams College Eclipse Expedition. 
If global warming projections hold up, tree crops that rely on the 'winter chill' in California's Central Valley could be in peril, say researchers in a new study.   If you aren't aware, California's Central Valley fields produce 25 percent of America’s table food, which seems like a big responsibility for a state that is below Romania in world standing in the eyes of financiers who gauge whether or not a government can pay its bills.

The study is the first to map winter chill projections for all of California, which is home to nearly 3 million acres of fruit and nut trees that require chilling. The combined production value of these crops was $7.8 billion in 2007, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
A new study conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Georgia State University looked at psychiatrically healthy Americans ages 9 to 17 to determine what happens in the brains of preteens and teens at a time of significant change in social behavior.

The youths looked at photos of peers and rated their interest in interacting with each one. Then they underwent a brain scan while reviewing the pictures and rated how much each young person in the picture might want to interact with them in return. The youths were told they would be matched with a peer for a chat after the scan.