Tech

Here’s What Your Emojis Say About You, According to a New Study

When you add a smiley face to the end of a message, you may be saying more than you realise. Emoticons, faces formed from punctuation symbols such as :-), and emojis, picture symbols such as ūüėÄ, are now common features of the way we communicate using phone and internet messaging services and social media. ¬† They can help your recipient …


Tech

The World’s Biggest Tech Leaders Have Officially Pledged to Not Develop ‘Killer Robots’

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to save lives by predicting natural disasters, stopping human trafficking, and diagnosing deadly diseases. Unfortunately, it also has the potential to take lives. ¬† Efforts to design lethal autonomous weapons – weapons that use AI to decide on their own whether or not to attempt to kill a person – are already underway. On …


These Are The Nuclear Weapons Terms We All Keep Hearing

Nuclear weapons are humankind’s most fearsome creations. In a matter of minutes, one nuclear-armed nation can level dozens of cities, spread radioactive fallout for hundreds or thousands of miles, and wreck Earth’s climate. ¬† Most people are familiar with the basics: Slap together enough uranium or plutonium and ‚Äď kaboom! ‚Äď you have a nuclear blast. But the details of …

Tiny Gold Specks Can Generate Hydrogen From Water 4 Times More Efficiently Than We Can Now

Star-shaped gold nanoparticles, coated with a semiconductor, can produce hydrogen from water over four times more efficiently than other methods – and could lead to better ways to store solar energy, a new study shows. ¬† The discovery could also lead to other advances that could boost renewable energy use and fight climate change, researchers say. “Instead of using ultraviolet …

This Little Creepy Robot Moves in And Out of The Sun to Care For a Plant on Its Back

Tianqi Sun, CEO of robotics firm Vincross, has created a delightful mod of his robot Hexa which cares for a houseplant when the owner is too forgetful to water it. Hexa is a small crab-like looking robot, which is available to buy for $US949 and is designed to give people the chance to experiment with robotics. ¬† Tianqi published his …

Whoa, We Now Have X-Rays That Take Colour Images of The Human Body

Phil and Anthony Butler aren’t just father and son. The physics professor and bioengineering professor (respectively) are also business partners. And this week, their company, MARS Bioimaging, unveiled a first-of-its-kind X-ray scanner 10 years in the making. ¬† First, a quick recap of how X-ray imaging works. When X-rays travel through your body, they’re absorbed by denser materials (bones) and …

Elon Musk’s Team Built a Tiny Submarine to Help The Cave Rescue in Thailand

Elon Musk is testing equipment designed to help rescue the remaining members of a Thai youth soccer team who are trapped in a cave, the Tesla CEO tweeted on Sunday. Hours after four boys were confirmed to have been rescued from the cave, Musk tweeted a video of a small submarine-like vessel being tested in a swimming pool. ¬† Testing …

Here’s Why The Internet Could Be The Most Powerful Earthquake Detection System Ever

The internet isn’t your phone. It’s not Instagram, YouTube, or Netflix. Behind those apparitions, the internet is actually a sprawling matrix of hundreds of undersea data cables, criss-crossing the ocean for some 885,000 km (550,000 miles). ¬† That’s where your Facebook and FOMO come from. But those hidden conduits aren’t just useful for relaying data – this massive web of …

China Has Allegedly Produced a ‘Laser Rifle’ That Can Burn Human Flesh From a Long Distance

It would be amazing and terrifying if true ‚Äď a ‘laser AK-47’ that can set fire to targets and clothing from 800 metres (half a mile) away. According to South China Morning Post, that’s exactly what researchers at a Chinese company called ZKZM Laser have developed. ¬† The newspaper claims that the rifle beam cannot be seen by the naked …

Scientists Say They’ve Found a Way to Make an Object Invisible From Every Angle

Researchers from Montreal’s National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS) just published¬†a study in¬†Optica¬†detailing a new approach to invisibility cloaking. Their device, called a spectral invisibility cloak, is the first to manipulate the color (or frequency) of the light waves that interact with an object, rendering it invisible. ¬† “Our work represents a breakthrough in the quest for invisibility cloaking,” study …

Here’s How to Charge Your Phone to Save The Battery, According to Science

Yes, we know. Our smartphone batteries are bad because they barely last a day. But it’s partially our fault because we’ve been charging them wrong this whole time.¬† Many of us have an ingrained notion that charging our smartphones in small bursts¬†will cause long-term damage to their batteries¬†and that it’s better to charge them when they’re close to dead. ¬† …

A Whole Country Just Turned Off Its Internet to Stop Students From Cheating on Exams

The Algerian government has taken a dramatic step to try and curb rampant exam cheating by repeatedly turning off the internet during the exam season. Yes, all of the internet. For everyone. For a period of six days. ¬† On Wednesday this week the plug was pulled for the first time as students started sitting down to their exam papers. …

Physicists Want to Mix Time Crystals And Majorana Fermions to Make a Quantum Computer

By making a strange kind of particle that is its own antiparticle out of a time crystal, physicists aim to develop a quantum computer that’s not only more reliable, but far more lightweight than anything currently in the pipeline. ¬† Time crystals and quasiparticles called Majorana fermions have made headlines in recent years thanks to the fact they’re both so …

Google’s AI Can Now Predict When a Hospital Patient Will Die

AI knows when you’re going to die. But unlike in sci-fi movies, that information could end up saving lives. A new paper published in Nature suggests that feeding electronic health record data to a deep learning model could substantially improve the accuracy of projected outcomes. ¬† In trials using data from two US hospitals, researchers were able to show that …

Here’s How to Tell if a Hilarious Joke Was Actually Written by an AI

If you spent time on social media today, you probably came across that script for an Olive Garden commercial allegedly written by an artificial intelligence algorithm. The commercial is a hilarious trip into the absurd in which patrons enjoy classic staples of the kind of Italian dining we’ve come to expect from America’s 15th favorite chain restaurant, such as “warm …

An AI Has Simulated 100,000 World Cups And Discovered Who’s Going to Win This Year

With the biggest event in the soccer calendar now underway, fans are speculating on which team might emerge victorious from the 2018 World Cup in Russia ‚Äď and an artificial intelligence model based on 100,000 simulations has made its prediction too. ¬† Using a database of statistics from previous tournaments, and three different AI methods to crunch the numbers, the …

We Can Now Harvest Radioactive Uranium From The World’s Oceans

Scientists have made a breakthrough that could open the doors to a whole new way of producing nuclear fuel, and they did it using nothing but the power of the ocean ‚Äď or at least the chemicals floating inside it. ¬† Researchers in the US used a specially designed yarn to extract natural trace amounts of uranium found in seawater, …

Scientists Have Invented a Software That Can ‘See’ Several Minutes Into The Future

Most of us are used to technology predicting the words we want to type. Soon this kind of software will be able to look even further into the future to predict actions we’ve barely considered ourselves. ¬† This isn’t some creepy Minority Report style of precognition. Not yet at least. But it could see us get robot butlers that hand …

Elon Musk’s Flamethrowers Are Here, And People Are Already Doing Crazy Stuff With Them

Remember Elon Musk’s Not-A-Flamethrower – a propane-fuelled, oversized barbecue starter that looks more like a modified Nerf gun? It might have been a joke when Musk first posted about it on Instagram in January, but it got deadly serious when 20,000 people pre-ordered it. ¬† On Saturday, the first wave of 1,000 people have received their devices, at a party …

These Rarely Seen Images Show What The Internet Actually Looks Like

Every second, millions of emails, clicks, and searches happen via the world wide web with such fluidity that the internet seems almost omnipresent. As such, people often mistakenly assume that internet traffic happens by air ‚Äď our mobile devices, after all, aren’t wired to anything. ¬† But satellites carry less than 1 percent of human interactions, and in some ways …

This Device Sucks Drinking Water Out of Dry Desert Air, Powered Only by The Sun

When it comes to future challenges, one of the biggest will be water scarcity – on a warming planet we’re going to have plenty of seawater, but not enough fresh, clean water in the right places for everybody to drink. ¬† And while a lot of research has focussed on desalination, a team of scientists have now come up with …

A Crucial Archaeological Dating Tool Is Wrong, And It Could Change History as We Know It

One of the most important dating tools used in archaeology may sometimes give misleading data, new study shows – and it could change whole historical timelines as a result. The discrepancy is due to significant fluctuations in the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere, and it could force scientists to rethink how they use ancient organic remains to measure the …

The Official Hunt For MH370 Is Over, Leaving The Mystery Unsolved

The greatest mystery in aviation history will keep its secrets for now with the search for the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ending this week without success. Ocean Infinity, the US-based technology company which began a supplementary search for the Malaysian government at the start of 2018 on a no-find, no-fee basis, failed to find any trace of the …

Researchers Have Invented an Awesome And Scary Nuclear Battery Pack

Batteries powered by radioactive materials have been around for more than a century, but what they promise in power they usually lose in bulk. Not so with a new kind of power source, which combines a novel structure with a nickel isotope to pack ten times more power than an electrochemical cell of the same size. The only question is, …

These Freaky Things With Real, Disembodied Muscle Tissue Could Be The Next Step in Robotics

Powering cold, hard mechanics with muscle tissue is a promising idea that so far hasn’t delivered awe-inspiring results. But a new way to grow muscles and attach them to a frame could help overcome existing hurdles, resulting in a biological hybrid device that isn’t just stronger than previous attempts, but lasts longer as well. ¬† Engineers at the University of …

Here Are The Most Common Mistakes You Might Make When Choosing a Password

We’re really bad at choosing passwords. According to a new study by a researcher at Virginia Tech and Dashlane, a popular password manager service, most users make the same mistakes when making passwords, such as making their password the name of a popular brand or sports team. ¬† And while these things make passwords easy to remember, they aren’t all …

Some People Think That Online Bots Should Have Free Speech Rights

Do you have a right to know if you’re talking to a bot? How about the bot? Does it have the right to keep that information from you? Those questions have been stirring in the minds of many since well before Google demoed Duplex, a human-like AI that makes phone calls on a user’s behalf, earlier this month. ¬† Bots …

Amazon’s Alexa Recorded a Private Conversation And Sent It to a Random Person

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love being able to say “Alexa, play me some bangers”, and those who got one targeted advertisement too many and are paranoid that their smart devices are always listening. ¬† Recent news, unfortunately, gives some more credence to the latter. A few weeks ago, a woman from Portland, Oregon …

Microsoft Is Making a Tool to Track Down Biased AI, But That’s Just Half The Problem

Microsoft is the latest tech company to try and tackle algorithmic bias ‚ÄĒ that is, artificial intelligence that was fed subpar data and came to mirror society’s own prejudices or unfair perspectives. ¬† The company wants to create a tool that will detect and alert people to AI algorithms that may be treating them based on their race or gender, …

Here’s Why AI Can’t Solve Everything

The hysteria about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. There seems to be no shortage of sensationalist news about how AI could cure diseases, accelerate human innovation and improve human creativity. ¬† Just looking at the media headlines, you might think that we are already living in a future where AI has infiltrated every aspect of society. While …

This 3D Printer Can Help Grow Organs With Scaffolding Made Out of Sugar

Sugar, that amazingly sweet treat some of us just can’t get enough of, has long been the fascination of children (and those with a child-like sweet tooth). Its ability to be melted down into a glass-like substance enables confectionery artists to create tasty displays worthy of museums, or being served as a 3D printed dessert. ¬† In fact, the same …

This Is What Happens When Your Camera Gets Too Close to a Space Launch

If you’re shooting photos of a space rocket launch, the risk to damage equipment is all too real, as one NASA photographer demonstrated this week. Exhibit A is the melted Canon 5DS DSLR camera you can see in the picture above, by Bill Ingalls. The device, which was set up remotely, was scorched beyond repair at this week’s SpaceX Falcon …

The Tiny House Trend Has Officially Peaked. Meet The World’s Smallest House

You may think you’ve seen tiny buildings before, but this microhouse constructed by nanoengineers is the craziest one yet. From front to back it measures less than 20 micrometres, which means you could squeeze a village of 50 of them on a pinhead. ¬† The sides of the structure are just 1.2‚ÄČmicrometres thick ‚Äď a little over a millionth of …

Elon Musk Thinks Flying Cars Could ‘Guillotine’ People on The Ground

While he’s founded companies that are trying to define the future of transportation with electric vehicles, space exploration, and tunnels that would house high-speed transit systems, Elon Musk doesn’t like flying cars. ¬† During an event for his tunnel-digging company, The Boring Company, on Thursday, Musk explained why flying cars could be more trouble than they’re worth. Musk said his …

Fake Facebook Accounts And Online Lies Multiply in Hours After Santa Fe School Shooting

In the first hours after the Texas school shooting that left at least 10 dead Friday, online hoaxers moved quickly to spread a viral lie, creating fake Facebook accounts with the suspected shooter’s name and a doctored photo showing him wearing a “Hillary 2016” hat. ¬† Several were swiftly flagged by users and deleted by the social network. But others …

Anne Frank’s censored diary pages have been revealed, and they’re not what we expected

Hidden pages from the diary of Holocaust refugee Anne Frank have been analysed¬†for the first time, revealing a few words of wisdom on sex, menstruation, and a handful of dirty jokes. ¬† Non-invasive imaging technology has finally allowed curators of the Anne Frank Museum to see what lay behind sheets of brown paper that had been glued over pages in …

Here’s why Google’s new ‘smartphone addiction’ features aren’t based on science

Google wants you to stop using the term FOMO. Instead of complaining about your fear of missing out, the search engine giant would like you to celebrate ‚Äď “JOMO,” the joy of missing out. And it hopes a bunch of new features geared at preventing you from feeling addicted to your devices will help. ¬† It’s all part of an …

This Boston Dynamics robot gets more fresh air and exercise than most of us

Everybody needs to get some fresh air every once in a while. Even, uh, robots. Boston Dynamics just uploaded a video of its upright, bipedal robot called Atlas going for a jog. No tethers, no awkward stiffness, just a robot, a green field, and plenty of fresh air. ¬† No stress holding it down, Atlas effortlessly crosses different types of …

California just made history with a ruling on compulsory solar panels

California just became the first state in the US to require all new homes to be built with rooftop solar panels. The California Energy Commission hearing room was packed full on Wednesday as the commission voted unanimously in favor of the proposed rule. ¬† Starting on 1 January, 2020 any new home that’s three stories tall or shorter, be it …

Google’s latest AI booked a hair appointment over the phone, and people are freaked out

Google’s Assistant AI is getting better every year. It can tell you the weather, or perhaps crack a terrible joke if that’s more your speed. Give it another year or two, and it’ll be able to pre-order your lunch before you even had your morning coffee. ¬† But more immediately, it might be able to make calls and book your …

Uber’s self-driving car detected pedestrian before fatal crash, but “decided” not to stop

When a self-driving car is involved in a fatal accident, who is at fault? Is it the “safety-driver,” the company behind the car, or the lawmakers that allowed the self-driving car to hit the road in the first place? ¬† When Uber’s autonomous car fatally struck 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg in Arizona on March 18th, this previously-abstract question rapidly came into …

A new patent shows how Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy X foldable smartphone might work

There’s long been talk about a¬†foldable smartphone from Samsung, but now there’s something tangible that brings a foldable smartphone closer to reality. On May 2, Samsung was granted multiple patents for its foldable smartphone design and the way it will work. ¬† Samsung’s latest patents show that the company is experimenting with a smartphone that can fold into¬†thirds ‚Ästnot just …

Alan Turing wrote just one paper on biology. Now it’s inspired a totally new type of water filter

The maths behind a landmark paper by the British mathematician Alan Turing have been used to create a new nanoscale structure for desalinating water, and its creators claim it does the job far better than filters currently on the market. ¬† Material scientists from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, successfully created a nanoscale tangle of tubes out of a nylon-like …

4chan tried to stop these high school students from winning a NASA competition

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s administration announced Thursday that it would award US$4,000 to help three DC high school students who faced a torrent of racist comments when they used social media to encourage people to vote for them in a NASA competition. ¬† The three black Banneker High students – whose method to purify lead-contaminated water in school …

Cambridge Analytica is shutting down, but they’ve already started another company

Cambridge Analytica, the data firm used by the 2016 Trump campaign at the center of a scandal involving the misuse of Facebook customer data, is shutting down its operations and declaring bankruptcy, the firm announced on Wednesday. ¬† According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the closure, Cambridge Analytica was losing clients in the wake of the Facebook …

Finally, a contact lens that actually beams lasers from your eyes

Scientists have created an ultrathin, flexible film that can emit laser light – and successfully tested it on a contact lens, demonstrating the possibility of laser eye-beams. Before you rush out and buy a Cyclops-style visor, it’s not even close to powerful enough to cause damage. Instead, the researchers say, the technology has potential for use as wearable security tags, …

Mark Zuckerberg is launching a Facebook dating service. Here’s what you need to know

Mark Zuckerberg just announced that Facebook is joining the dating game, trying to help its users build perhaps “the most meaningful relationship of all.” Zuckerberg made the announcement on Tuesday during his keynote speech at¬†F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference, where the executive team unveils what the company has been working on for the past year. ¬† And it turns out …

Disney just invented this crazy VR Jacket to give you hugs, or punches, or even wrap you in snakes

A big, green snake slithers up your body, squeezing your rib cage, but you’re not afraid. It’s strangely exhilarating. In this virtual-reality simulation, the snake isn’t real, but the feeling in your chest is. ¬† In addition to seeing the snake through a virtual-reality headset strapped to your face, you’re wearing a jacket filled with airbags that mimics the pressure …