13 May

If you have a question, you know you can feed it into a Google search box and get an answer. But new artificial intelligence being developed by Google Research could take that to the next level. Called “Talk to Books,” the tech lets users type in a statement or question, at which point it searches books to find whole sentences that relate to the words you typed.

This may seem like the keyword matching that powers Google’s standard search, but it’s more advanced than that. Talk to Books relies on A.I. for its searches and responses. The system has been fed conversation-like pairs of sentences by the billions. The technology has the sophistication to realize that some words mean the same thing, which allows it to fill in the blanks when you aren’t 100 percent certain what a text originally said.

11 May

Golfers face a dilemma each time they arrive at the golf course. One option is to pay to rent a golf cart, giving them something to help carry their clubs around. But many golfers prefer to walk from one hole to the next, forcing them to either carry their golf clubs or pay for a caddy to do it.

A former BP executive may have come up with the perfect solution to a classic golfer dilemma. Tim Doane has created an autonomous robot that takes over the responsibility of carrying golf clubs. The device, called Rover, runs on three wheels and is self-propelled, which means you can enjoy your game without worrying about getting your clubs from one hole to the next.

09 May

Researchers as the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm say that new material, inspired by dental reconstruction methods, is stronger than dental filler itself. The patch should also help address the problem of setting an adhesive within the human body's moist environment.

Specifically, the research team reports that the new bone adhesive, which mixes the stiff, load-bearing aspects of dental resin composites with the adhesive power of self-etching primer, was successfully used on rats.

The method of curing the material is the same one used by dentists who employ a violet light when finishing a tooth repair. This technique hardens the composite material. The technical name for the chemical process is thiol–ene coupling (TEC), which guarantees a bonding response when water is present.

In fact, says Michael Malkoch, Professor of Fiber and Polymer Technology at KTH, use of the pioneering adhesive patch results in bonding power 55 percent greater than commercial dental bonding adhesive -- which makes the material a valuable alternative to plates and screws.

07 May

Carting around a full-sized camping vehicle amounts to more than some road-trippers want to take on, particularly in regions with narrow roads or low clearances.

But who wants to take the time to manually "unfold" a compact camper once they've finally arrived at the perfect vacation spot?

Tipoon The Travel Machine solves that problem by expanding to three times its compact size at the mere touch of a button. As it opens upwards and outwards, the camper stabilizes to offer an inviting space for as many as four people.

The French makers of the Tipoon claim that, in its compact state, the camper will fit "everywhere, even in your garage!" By using a handy remote control, the camper is said to open or close in mere seconds. Given the interior height of 1.9 m (6.23 ft), most people should be able to walk around indoors without worrying about bumping their heads. The Tipoon can also be customized to include the owner's favorite accessories and colors.

05 May

The folks at the American Chemical Society (ACS) couldn't have stated the problem more succinctly or dramatically.

In a press release, the ACS stated, "Billions of pounds of plastic waste are littering the world’s oceans."

That's apparent from photos that depict the ocean plastic pollution problem in stark and vivid detail. It's not just an occasional bottle cap or container floating here or there. Huge amounts of discarded plastic materials have gathered in large masses. They might not be anywhere near your favorite beach, but it may only be a matter of time before they are.

Now a sailboat captain and Ph.D. chemist say that they are working on a process to recycle some of this plastic flotsam and, with the help of a compact mobile reactor, turn it into diesel fuel. It's possible that this process could one day pick up plastic from the ocean's surface and convert it into a fuel to power the boat that does the collecting.

The researchers presented their results last year at the 253rd National Meeting & Exposition of the ACS.

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