Wisdom of the Octopi
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by Dave Paul Strohecker , Mar 9, 2012, at 01:00 pm
Robots could one day navigate through constantly changing surroundings with virtually no input from humans, thanks to a system that allows them to build and continuously update a three-dimensional map of their environment using a low-cost camera such as Microsoft’s Kinect. The system, being developed by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), could also allow blind people to make their way unaided through crowded buildings such as hospitals and shopping malls. To explore unknown environments, robots need to be able to map them as they move around — estimating the distance between themselves and nearby walls, for example — and to plan a route around any obstacles, says Maurice Fallon, a research scientist at CSAIL who is developing these systems alongside John J.
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Scientists trying to create artificial life generally work under the assumption that life must be carbon-based, but what if a living thing could be made from another element? One British researcher may have proven that theory, potentially rewriting the book of life. Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow has created lifelike cells from metal — a feat few believed feasible. The discovery opens the door to the possibility that there may be life forms in the universe not based on carbon, reports New Scientist .
A man sits down before a gun , which is pointed at his head. This is no ordinary gun; it's rigged to a machine that measures the spin of a quantum particle . Each time the trigger is pulled, the spin of the quantum particle -- or quark -- is measured. Depending on the measurement, the gun will either fire, or it won't. If the quantum particle is measured as spinning in a clockwise motion, the gun will fire.