Helping robots learn to see in 3-D. July 14, 2017. While it’s relatively straightforward for robots to “see” objects with cameras and other sensors, interpreting what they see, from a single glimpse, is difficult. New technology enables robots to spot a new object and recognize what it is, whether it is right side up or upside down, without examining it from multiple angles. It can also fill in the blind spots in its field of vision and “imagine” any parts that are hidden from view. Picked up by NPR affiliate WFDD radio.
Building a virtual ark for lemurs. Duke Today, April 11, 2017. X-ray scanning immortalizes endangered primates in the digital afterlife, in 3-D.
Seeing nano. Duke Research blog, Jan. 9, 2017. Take pictures at more than 300,000 times magnification with electron microscopes at Duke.
Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube. Duke Today, Aug. 23, 2016. Duke University researchers have created strands of synthetic DNA that, when mixed together in a test tube in the right concentrations, form an analog circuit that can add, subtract and multiply as the molecules form and break bonds. While most DNA circuits are digital, their device performs calculations in an analog fashion by measuring the varying concentrations of specific DNA molecules directly, without requiring special circuitry to convert them to zeroes and ones first. Picked up by NPR affiliate WFDD.
In the ocean, clever camouflage beats super sight. Duke Today, Aug. 23, 2016. Some fish blend seamlessly into their watery surroundings with help from their silvery reflective skin. Researchers have long assumed that squid, shrimp and other ocean animals could see through this disguise, thanks to an ability to detect a property of light — called polarization — that humans can’t see. But a new study finds that not even polarization vision helps animals spot silvery fish from afar. Picked up by Cosmos.
Is Durham’s revival pricing some longtime residents out? Duke Research Blog, Aug. 17, 2016. Durham real estate and businesses are booming. A student mapping project aims to identify the neighborhoods at risk of pricing longtime residents out. Picked up by the Durham Herald-Sun.
Taking math beyond the blackboard. Duke Research blog, July 6, 2016. Mix together 80 or so scientists and engineers from industry and academia with bottomless coffee, and stir for a week. That was the recipe for the 32nd annual Mathematical Problems in Industry Workshop held this summer at Duke.
Video privacy software lets you select what others can see. Duke Today, June 28, 2016. Camera-equipped smartphones, laptops and other devices make it possible to share ideas and images with anyone, anywhere, often in real-time. But in our cameras-everywhere culture, the risks of accidentally leaking sensitive information are growing. Computer scientists at Duke University have developed software that helps prevent inadvertent disclosure of trade secrets and other restricted information within a camera’s field of view by letting users specify what others can see. Picked up by the Daily Mail and NPR affiliate WFDD radio.
Free site lets you download and 3-D print your own fossils. Duke Today, Feb. 17, 2016. Duke assistant professor Doug Boyer’s office is more than 8,000 miles away from the vault at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the fossil remains of a newly discovered human ancestor, Homo naledi, rest under lock and key. But with a few clicks of his computer’s mouse, he can have models of any one of hundreds of Homo naledi bone fragments delivered to his desk in a matter of minutes, thanks to a free online database of digital fossil scans that anyone can download and print in 3-D. Picked up by Discovery, the Raleigh News & Observer, Science News, CBS news and CBS North Carolina.
Cell phones help track flu on campus. Duke Today, August 18, 2015. New methods for analyzing personal health and lifestyle data captured through smartphone apps can help identify college students at risk of catching the flu. With help from a mobile app that monitors who students interact with and when, researchers have developed a model that enables them to predict the spread of influenza from one person to the next over time. Unlike most infection models, their approach gives a personalized daily forecast for each patient. Picked up by Time Warner Cable News, WRAL, Futurity and the Huffington Post.
Researchers help video gamers play in the cloud without guzzling gigabytes. Duke Today, May 20, 2015. Gamers might one day be able to enjoy the same graphics-intensive fast-action video games they play on their gaming consoles or personal computers from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets without guzzling gigabytes, thanks to a new tool developed by researchers at Duke University and Microsoft Research. Named “Kahawai” after the Hawaiian word for stream, the tool delivers graphics and gameplay on par with conventional cloud-gaming, while using one sixth of the bandwidth.
Geeky goggles let you take a field trip without leaving class. Duke Research blog, April 27, 2015. Critics of virtual reality technology say it’s just another form of escapism, after TV, the Internet and smartphones. But educational technology advocates see it as a way to help students see and hear and interact with things that would be impossible otherwise, or only available to a lucky few.
500+ code around the clock for social causes. Duke Research Blog, November 17, 2014. More than 500 students converged on Duke’s Fitzpatrick Center for an unusual all-nighter this weekend. No term papers, no problem sets. Their mission: to collaborate on software or hardware projects related to social good.
Fruit flies get their close-up shot, Nobel style. Duke Research Blog, November 10, 2014. Any movie that begins with an extreme close-up of the back side of a fruit fly — the same kind found feeding on over-ripe tomatoes and bananas in your kitchen — may seem like an unlikely candidate for action blockbuster of the year. But this is no typical movie.
Smarter bionic leg turns brain and muscle power into motion. Raleigh News and Observer, January 27, 2014. For many amputees, doing everyday activities like climbing stairs or getting in and out of a car takes concentration and conscious effort. Now, researchers are building a smarter bionic leg that ‘listens’ to the user’s body and figures out what they have in mind before they take their next step.
Genes from undersea creature may help crops prosper. Raleigh News and Observer, April 16, 2012. The bottles of amber liquid perched on the bench in Dr. Amy Grunden’s research lab at N.C. State University don’t look like much. But floating within are billions of sea-dwelling microbes – too small to see with the naked eye – that researchers hope will one day help plants survive in space, or produce hardier crops and better biofuels in stressful environments here on Earth.
DNA barcoding exposes fake ferns in international plant trade. Duke Today, May 4, 2010. DNA testing of garden ferns sold at plant nurseries in North Carolina, Texas, and California has found that plants marketed as American natives may actually be exotic species from other parts of the globe. Picked up by the Raleigh News and Observer and the Charlotte Observer.
Prevent invasive plant species from taking over the Eno. Duke Today, August 28, 2008. A Duke biologist is arming citizens with hand-held GPS navigation devices to mark the locations of non-native plants along state park trails while they enjoy the park.