Technology


When all your appliances are internet-enabled, whose hands are holding the remote control? Hands image/ Shutterstock

By Temitope Oluwafemi, University of Washington

By Sue Thomas, Bournemouth University

Looking over the landscape I could see an old tree standing frozen and seemingly dead, its branches coated with icy rime. Around it, mossy grass and small rocks lay beneath a coating of snow and in the distance glistening waterfalls tumbled down the sides of whitened mountains.

It looked like the wilds of Ireland in wintertime, but the view existed only in my phone. My task, using a handheld biosensor called PIP, was to bring summer to this deeply cold outdoor scene by the powers of mental relaxation.


Where it begins. Nature

By Andy Tattersall, University of Sheffield

Dirty Harry once said, “Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one”. Now that the Internet has made it easier than ever to share an unsolicited opinion, traditional methods of academic review are beginning to show their age.

We can now leave a public comment on just about anything – including the news, politics, YouTube videos, this article and even the meal we just ate. These comments can sometimes help consumers make more informed choices. In return, companies gain feedback on their products.

New artificial intelligence software uses photos to locate documents on the Internet with far greater accuracy than ever before, showing for the first time that a machine learning algorithm for image recognition and retrieval is accurate and efficient enough to improve large-scale document searches online.

The system uses pixel data in images and potentially video - rather than just text -- to locate documents. It learns to recognize the pixels associated with a search phrase by studying the results from text-based image search engines. The knowledge gleaned from those results can then be applied to other photos without tags or captions, making for more accurate document search results. 


Researchers have taught a computer program the outline of how a magic jigsaw puzzle and a mind reading card trick work, as well the results of experiments into how humans understand magic tricks, and it created completely new variants on those tricks which can be delivered by a magician.

The magic tricks created were of the type that use mathematical techniques rather than sleight of hand. The tricks proved popular with audiences and the magic puzzle was put on sale in a London magic shop. The card trick is available as an app called Phoney in the Google Play Store.


Major leaks from oil and gas pipelines can lead to home evacuations and even explosions. The line of lawyers waiting to sue for millions of dollars even if nothing happens can be seen from space.

And though most pipeline leaks are small, America leads the world in safe pipeline construction and oversight, it's better for everyone if leaks are stopped as quickly as possible. A report in Industrial&Engineering Chemistry Research outlines development of a new software-based method that finds leaks even when they're small, which could help prevent serious incidents and save money for customers and industry.

Wearable tech isn't just for humans any more. whistle.com

By Clara Mancini, The Open University

With the likes of Google Glass, Fitbit, and Emotiv wearables are now a familiar concept. Perhaps less known is that animals have been fitted with wearable technology for decades.

Acute rejection after kidney transplantation occurs in about 15% of patients despite immunosuppressive therapy and this rejection is usually heralded by an increase in the patient's serum creatinine, a marker of kidney function. A kidney biopsy is then performed to confirm whether rejection is taking place.

Yet elevated creatinine is not sufficiently sensitive to identify all early rejection or specific enough to prevent some unnecessary kidney biopsies, so a noninvasive means of identifying acute rejection is needed.


A team of researchers have developed a gene regulation method that enables thought-specific brainwaves to control the conversion of genes into proteins - gene expression.



Bras have come a long way in 100 years. Credit: EPA/HO

By Deirdre McGhee, University of Wollongong

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the first bra patent.

Amazingly for the time – 1914 – it was made by a woman in her twenties, Mary (Polly) Phelps Jacob (nee Crosby).

Polly made her bra initially from two handkerchiefs and some ribbon with the intent to show off her substantial cleavage in a sheer evening gown that had a plunging neckline. The handkerchiefs formed the bra cups and the ribbons formed the straps.