Technology

After more than 20 years making the web a slightly more interesting and interactive place, albeit one that pandered to designers’ worst excesses and (in pre-broadband days) led to interminable download waiting times, the word on the net is that Adobe Flash Must Die.

Hundreds of millions of times every year many of us turn to online symptom checkers to try to self-diagnose our symptoms and to get advice on whether we should seek further medical care or just rest at home until we feel better.

But how good is the information we receive?

The first wide-scale study of the accuracy of general-purpose symptom checkers found that while the online programs are often wrong, they are roughly equivalent to telephone triage lines commonly used at primary care practices--and they are better than general Internet-search self-diagnosis and triage. The study, led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, is published in the BMJ.


A study carried out by researchers from Robotics and Cybernetics Research Group (RobCib) at Centre for Automation and Robotics (CAR) has used a drone to measure the temperature, humidity, luminosity and carbon dioxide concentration in a greenhouse.

The capacity of an aerial vehicle to move in three-dimensional space and the possibility to place the sensor at any point have clear advantages compared to other alternatives such as the sensor networks. Thus, the use of this technology can help improve the climate control systems and monitor crops. Greenhouse farming has suitable soils to apply new technologies.

By Charles Choi, Inside Science -
Of all the parts of the nation's infrastructure that one might want least to fail, nuclear power plants might rank the highest.
We’ve long attempted to recreate living creatures in robot form.

From very early age of robotics, there has been attempts to reproduce systems similar to human arms and hands.

This has been extended to flexible and mobile platforms reproducing different animals from dogs to snakes to climbing spider octopods, and even entire humanoids.

Each cell in the body contains a whole genome, 3 billion of "letters" known as bases, so the data packed into a few DNA molecules could fill an entire hard drive.

Instead of having one reference genome for study, more and more people are having their DNA sequenced, and that is a truly massive amount of data that will require massive computational and storage capabilities beyond anything previously anticipated, says a new assessment from computational biologists and computer scientists at the University of Illinois and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.


If you suffer from chronic muscle pain a doctor will likely recommend for you to apply heat to the injury, but how do you wrap that heat around a joint?

A team has come up with therapeutic heat in a light, flexible design. 

Other teams have come up with similar devices, but no one was able to create something that didn’t rely on exotic materials or a complex fabrication process which leads to high price tags. The new mesh doesn't need carbon nanotubes and gold, it uses silver nanowires. 
Nothing will make you feel like Tony Stark more than being able to change the shape of displays with your hands, pulling objects and data out of the screen and playing with them in mid-air.

Right now, that's just in an Avengers movie. Instead, we live in a world of flat-screen displays, even though the real world is not flat, it has hills and valleys, people and objects. Being able to manipulate a display and drag features into a 3-D world is the purpose of GHOST (Generic, Highly-Organic Shape-Changing Interfaces), an EU research project designed to tap humans’ ability to reason about and manipulate physical objects through the interfaces of computers and mobile devices.

A team of bioengineers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), led by Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, and Nasim Annabi, PhD, of the Biomedical Engineering Division, has developed a new protein-based gel that, when exposed to light, mimics many of the properties of elastic tissue, such as skin and blood vessels. In a paper published in Advanced Functional Materials, the research team reports on the new material's key properties, many of which can be finely tuned, and on the results of using the material in preclinical models of wound healing.


A Dutch feminist pro-choice activist organization, Women on Waves, has been using a drone to drop abortion pills across the Polish-German border.

The aim of the flight has been to highlight Poland’s restrictive abortion laws – a consistent topic of debate since the fall of communism in 1989.

Abortion was available virtually on demand in Poland between 1956 and 1989. Under state socialism, difficult living conditions or a difficult personal situation were grounds for termination. But in 1993, the country’s comparatively liberal abortion laws were comprehensively overturned. With post-communism came one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.