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Scientists: 'The Robots Are Coming! The Robots Are Coming!'

Scenes of robots running amok, killing indiscriminately and taking over computer systems have been portrayed in countless films and books. Now, some scientists say these fictional situations could become a reality if limits aren't placed on advances in artificial intelligence (A.I.). The New York Times reports that a group of computer scientists, organized by the Association for the Advancement...

"Wind It" Concept Turns Power Lines Into Turbines

From the "making lemonade out of lemons" category of forward thinking comes the winner of Metropolis Magazine's 2009 "Next Generation" contest. The idea was for designers come to the table with ways to fix our addiction to energy, and the winner is Wind-it. Wind-it suggests installing wind turbines in, on, and around electrical towers, as well as the electrical poles that line our streets here...

BMW's Three-Wheeled, Zero-Emissions Prototype

BMW has always been known for its quality craftsmanship and highbrow pretentions -- neither of these traits are in short supply with the company's new low emission vehicle prototype. The Compact Low Emission Vehicle for Urban Transportation (or, um, 'CLEVER' for short), while still a concept, sports some pretty novel ideas: The three-wheeled vehicle uses a special engine that runs on...

Now Is the Future: Sci-Fi That Turned Into Reality

If you've ever watched an episode of 'Mystery Science Theater 3000,' you know that many of science-fiction's predictions prove to be incredibly ridiculous and inaccurate. Thankfully, the learned sci-fi enthusiasts at Neatorama have compiled a Top 10 list of sci-fi gadgets and expeditions that actually have come to fruition, and of who, exactly, first articulated those prescient glimpses into the...

How and When Will Humans Become Obsolete?

It's going to happen. Eventually, me, you, and all the rest of the people on this planet are going to become relics of a bygone era. We'll be obsolete in a world overrun with technology that would have spun the head of someone trying to comprehend it a century prior. So how do we deal with a world in which we are no longer the dominant life form? By making fun of it and using filthy language, of...

Internet to Become Self-Aware Within the Decade?

Does the name Francis Heylighen ring a bell? Didn't think so. But the research professor at the Free University of Brussels has some interesting things to say about artificial intelligence and consciousness in regards to the Internet. Speaking with New Scientist, Heylighen says that "adding consciousness is more a matter of fine-tuning and increasing control... than [it is] a jump to a wholly...

Flying Car Hits Dutch Sky (and Road)

"Getting high" in Holland just took on a whole new meaning. Seen for the first time in public, a test version of the PAL-V One flying car took flight this week outside a small Dutch town. Although it wasn't the consumer-focused, 'Tron'-looking product that had been promised for some time, the proof-of-concept vehicle wowed crowds nonetheless. The Dutch Minister of Traffic Safety and Water...

'Smell Effect' Lets Gamers Enjoy the Scent of Victory

If you've ever been curious about the smell of napalm in the morning, but your combat history is limited to 'Call of Duty,' then read on, friends. Scent enthusiasts in the scientific community have been trying to bring devices that emanate odors to our televisions and video games for 60 years. Now, those decades of research have finally culminated in a race for "smell-o-vision" dominance. Last...

Exterior, Pedestrian-Friendly Airbags Under Development for Cars

In America, we worry extensively about crash-test ratings for cars, which determine how likely automobile passengers are to survive a given impact, but in Europe that concern is extending to those outside the vehicle. Already, some European laws have mandated that new features designed specifically to protect pedestrians be outfitted in cars by 2012. One such feature, currently under...

Can Synthetic Biology Brew Better Beer?

Brewing beer at home can be incredibly difficult, as dealing with fickle yeasts and proteins can often result in a skunky, cloudy and unappetizing brew. James Collins, a Boston University synthetic biologist, and a team of researchers investigating synthetically engineered genetic circuits, used beer as a model for developing refining processes that could eventually be applied to biofuels and...

MIT Robot Gardeners Can Grow Tomatoes, But Can't Pick Them

Undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are currently developing a team of robots that they hope will be able to streamline agricultural labor, USA Today reports. A year ago, Professor Daniela Rus, who heads MIT's Distributed Robotics Lab, challenged her students to build a "distributed robotic garden" during this most recent Fall semester, the second half of...

Young Inventor's GPS Gadget E-Mails Parents When Kids Speed

Even though GPS software can be used for numerous noble pursuits, including tracking lost pets and helping monitor Alzheimers patients, the technolog is still criticized for being an invasion of privacy. Jonathan Fischer, a 20-year-old college student from Lunenburg, Massachusetts, has designed a GPS gadget, called the Speed Demon, which will be difficult for anyone to condemn, with the...

Scientists Make 'Progress' in Erasing Memories

Scientists just can't leave memories alone. Since first discovering the chemical PKMzeta in the brain, researchers have been playing with erasing the minds of rats in laboratories. By injecting mice with a drug called ZIP, scientists are able to block the activity of PKMzeta, which is believed to be essential for the retention and recollection of memories. Original tests worked only on erasing the...

Implantable Telescope Lens Could Help Those With Failing Vision

The idea of a telescope fused directly into your eye may sound like a dream come true for impromptu stargazers, but the intent here is not for ocular astronomy. Rather, it's to help those suffering from age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. This condition results in the deterioration of eyesight (much like the deterioration of cashflow in the other AMD), creating a large blind spot in the...

Space-Age Monorail Bows to Pick You Up

Don't blame us, but we're a little disappointed by the lack of Jetsons-style transportation in this, the 21st century. That's why we couldn't suppress some silly grins when we saw this new rail system designed by students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Faced with the imposing infrastructural challenge of boarding stations, the industrial design students decided to ditch them...