Woo-Hoo, Ducktales are back!

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Yesterday in Boston at PAX East, CAPCOM announced that they are planning on reviving their classic 1989 videogame Ducktales. Ducktales Remastered will be released sometime later this year on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U, for $14.99. The new updated game has been developed by WayForward, the same wizards of videogame who brought us Adventure Time, Contra 4, and Mighty Switch Force. Continue reading

To Infinity…and Far Beyond That

ImageThe Atacama Large Millimetre Array, also known as ALMA, officially opened for business on Wednesday. According to Tim de Zeeuw, director general of ESO, Alma was first imagined by Sir Fred Hoyle, the English astronomer and mathematician, in 1973 when he wrote about it in his novel The Inferno. Continue reading

Bubble Brain

ImageA study done at Cardiff University has provided evidence to prove that chewing gum improves the speed and accuracy of which a task can be performed. Kate Morgan and her colleagues Andrew J. Johnson of the University of Bournemouth and Christopher Miles from the University of Cardiff were key individuals in the formation of the journal ‘Chewing gum moderates the vigilance decrement’. Continue reading

Their SpiderSenses are Tingling

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A group of researchers from the University of Illinois,  SpiderSense , have developed a device that expands the human sensory range. The team, which consists of members Victor Mateevitsi, Brad Haggadone, Jason Leigh, Robert Kenyon, and Brian Kunzer, presented their findings at the 4th Augmented Human International Conference in Stuttgart, Germany, on the seventh of this month.

The group developed this idea using recent scientific advancements that increases the number of energy forms detected by humans. They have made use of ultrasonic distance-sensors which alerts the user of any hazardous obstacles within the range of approximately five meters. By projecting the body’s relation to its environment, it not only increases directional awareness but also notifies it through sensory receptors on the skin. However, since the prototype is still in development, there have been a few minor discrepancies during testing. When carrying out an assessment of hallway navigation with a blind-folded subject, they found that once he became accustomed to SpiderSense, he navigated himself with increase speed and ease in comparison to when he started. However this then increased the subject’s collisions into the wall and the constant pressure of the SpiderSense signal against his flesh made his perception of distance weaker.

Although SpiderSense has not yet recreated Spiderman’s web-slinging and wall-climbing abilities, sensory detection is certainly a good place to start. They should also probably perfect the glitch in distance detection; Spiderman would not be half the man we know him to be if he constantly bumped into alley walls. However, Spiderman copycats are not SpiderSense’s only potential clients.  According to SpiderSense’s research paper, their project could positively affect many previously disadvantaged people:

“Individuals with dysfunctional or missing senses may not perceive important cues from their surroundings. For example a person with a hearing disability or poor vision may not be able to perceive an oncoming car while crossing a street.”

For further information on SpiderSense, there paper is available here.

Mind-reading Technology

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Neurowear has recently released another one of their brainwave-reading devices. The “Mico” is a set of headphones that makes use of a sensor to detect what mood you are in. Once your mood has been recognised, appropriate songs from the “Mico” database are selected and played via Bluetooth, through the correlating iOS app on your Smartphone.

This device is ingenious if you consider that you will never again have to raise your tired arm to search your iPod and find that song that makes your depression ever so deeper. Although no longer having to manually switch between songs is probably what the vast majority of the technologically advanced on this planet have been waiting for, they have not done much in terms of design. Not only is it primarily made up of two mammoth saucer-like speakers, but the sensor is inconveniently placed right across the users’ noggin. Furthermore, just in case the nerves from noticing an onlooker across the room was not bad enough, they strategically placed LED signs on the giant saucers, so that everyone around will know exactly how you are feeling.

As for the song selection, all are organized according to mood and stored on the “Mico” database, which however currently only consists of approximately 100 songs. This concept is not unlike their recently released Zen Tunes. According to Engadget’s Brian Heater, the company has welcomed the possibility of further development and a potential correspondence with Spotify, to increase their musical log. After testing the device at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, Heater further observed that, “it determined that our mood was ‘focused’, but it’s hard to say if the whole thing is just kind of a crapshoot”.

Neurowear previously designed similar brainwave-reading innovations, one being the “Necomimi” electronic cat ears. The ears which are attached to a headband also read your brain waves so that when you are feeling crestfallen your cat ears will droop, or when you are concentrating they will become pointy. Not long after “Necomimi” hit the streets of Japan, “Shippo” followed suit; their matching wagging tail, of course.

There seems to be no scheduled date for public release, but if you are interested, take a look at their “Mico” website for further updates and details.