Wearable sensor knows who’s using appliances

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Smart-home technologies make it possible to track how much energy any given appliance—like the fridge, TV, or hair dryer—is gobbling up. What they don’t typically show is which person in the house actually flicked the switch. A...

We use less slang after a hashtag on Twitter

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Twitter is full of shorthand and slang, but a new study suggests that people follow many of the same kinds of etiquette on social media as they do in speech. The research shows that when...

‘Kirigami’ solar cells soak up more sun

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Solar cells capture up to 40 percent more energy when they can track the sun across the sky, but conventional, motorized trackers are too heavy and bulky for pitched rooftops and vehicle surfaces. Researchers have...

‘Zippered tube’ origami could build bridges

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A new “zippered tube” origami configuration makes paper structures stiff enough to hold weight yet able to fold flat for easy shipping and storage. Origami structures would be useful in many engineering and everyday applications,...

Android widgets work best for sleep app users

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People who used the widget version of an Android sleep-monitoring app were more likely to add information and interact with that data than those who used the full app version, report researchers. The finding suggests that...

How mutant plants could clean up explosives

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Biologists say plants could potentially help solve a global problem: how to clean up land contaminated by explosives. TNT has become an extensive global pollutant over the last 100 years and there are mounting concerns...

Sensors for athletes fail concussion test

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Many commercially available sensors worn by athletes to measure head impacts may be overestimating concussion risk. Where a sensor is mounted appears to make a big difference in the results, recent tests show. Researchers, led...

Augmented reality guides surgeons on the battlefield

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Researchers are developing an “augmented reality telementoring” system that could provide effective support to surgeons on the battlefield from specialists thousands of miles away. Telementoring allows a surgeon performing an operation to receive remote guidance...

How smartphones can worsen blue feelings

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People who swap electronic interaction for the real-life human kind find little if any satisfaction, a new study finds. The findings suggest that depressed people who turn to their smartphones for relief may only be...

Bach or computer: Can you tell who made this music?

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Automation can unnerve some people, and the automation of art has a special power to offend humanity’s view of itself as soulful: How could a thing without psychological or emotional states express itself with...
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