Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Bionic spine gives Chris Evans’s dog a pain-free future

June 19, 2008

When vets told Chris Evans his beloved dog should be ‘written off’ after losing the feeling in its hind legs, the radio DJ refused to give up hope.

Enzo the German Shepherd had two herniated discs in his spine, leaving him paralysed and in pain.

His 42-year-old owner made sure he received the latest treatment  –  and now Enzo has a bionic spine.

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Dogs vs. Robots! What to do?

June 12, 2008

To keep the peace at home, Keith Hearn had to scold his new robotic vacuum cleaner.

The trouble started when Mr. Hearn first turned on his Roomba automatic cleaner. When the device started scooting around the floor, Mr. Hearn’s dog, Argos, attacked it.

Seeking help, Mr. Hearn found an online forum dedicated to the hundred-dollar Roomba buzzing with similar stories of pet assailants. Owners were offering advice. Among the most popular: Chastise the vacuum in front of the dog.

And so, with Argos looking on, Mr. Hearn shook his finger at his gadget and sternly called it “a bad Roomba.” Argos appeared to be mollified. “After that, he never tried nipping at it again,” says Mr. Hearn, a software engineer in San Carlos, Calif.

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A Futuristic Linkage Of Animals And Electronics

June 6, 2008

The same Global Positioning System (GPS) technology used to track vehicles is now being used to track cows.

But Agricultural Research Service (ARS) animal scientist Dean M. Anderson has taken tracking several steps further with a Walkman-like headset that enables him to “whisper” wireless commands to cows to control their movements across a landscape—and even remotely gather them into a corral.

He and his colleagues realize this is a highly futuristic technology, but they can envision a time when these technologies will be affordable and useful for a range of applications, from intensive animal operations to monitoring and controlling the movements of some wildlife species and even household pets.

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Diamond-Like Crystals Discovered In Brazilian Beetle Solve Issue For Future Optical Computers

May 21, 2008

Researchers have been unable to build an ideal “photonic crystal” to manipulate visible light, impeding the dream of ultrafast optical computers. But now, University of Utah chemists have discovered that nature already has designed photonic crystals with the ideal, diamond-like structure: They are found in the shimmering, iridescent green scales of a beetle from Brazil.

“It appears that a simple creature like a beetle provides us with one of the technologically most sought-after structures for the next generation of computing,” says study leader Michael Bartl, an assistant professor of chemistry and adjunct assistant professor of physics at the University of Utah. “Nature has simple ways of making structures and materials that are still unobtainable with our million-dollar instruments and engineering strategies.”

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Virtual pets & digital animals – remember that 90’s fad?

April 30, 2008

You were in elementary school and in a complete pickle. Your Tamagotchi was about to starve, but you knew if your teacher caught you feeding it, she would surely kidnap it.

Released in the late ‘90s, Nano Babies and Tamagotchis are little tiny virtual pets that conveniently attached to key chains, wallets and school bags. They were also part of the reason you earned a C in your fourth-grade reading class. Who had time to pay attention when your Nano Baby desperately needed your undivided attention?

Tamagotchis were so popular that McDonald’s gave a version away in Happy Meals for a month in 1998.

“Why were those things ever popular?” wondered nursing student Michael Matthews.

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Dog can play with ball by himself, thanks.

April 14, 2008

Zoo visitors get a chance to talk to animals

April 2, 2008

Ever wondered what animals are really thinking? Now could be the time to find out, as Blackpool Zoo gives visitors the chance to be Dr DoLittle for a day.

The Education Team at the popular attraction have discovered a unique way of communicating with the animals by using simple phonetic sounds, and they want visitors to give it a go over the next two weeks.

Anybody passing through the zoo’s gates will be given an information sheet with simple instructions on how to strike up a conversation with the animals.

Blackpool Zoo’s animal communications expert Paul Bamford has helped develop the unique language and has been using it to communicate with the zoo’s animals.

Paul explained: “We have discovered that the animals react to certain sounds and when the sounds are articulated in a way that mimics’ the particular animal you are trying to communicate with they seem to understand.

“An animal’s vocabulary is restricted. However, through this study, we have been able to attached meanings to certain phonetic sounds.”

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Animal rights activists owe technology a thank you

March 13, 2008

An undercover vegan wired with a camera no bigger than a sugar cube spent six weeks last fall working at a Southern California slaughterhouse. To fit in, he brought sandwiches made with soy riblets and ate them in a dusty parking lot with the other workers.

He tried not to worry about the emotional toll that long days escorting cows to the kill might have. He had more practical concerns, like whether the camera switch hidden in his pocket would fail or a cow would smash into him and crack the recording equipment taped to his body.

The Humane Society of the United States first gave a 32-minute video made from his footage to the San Bernardino County district attorney, then in January released an edited version on its Web site and to a newspaper. The video showed workers flipping sick dairy cows with forklifts, prodding them with electricity and dragging them with chains to be processed into ground meat, some of which likely ended up in chili and tacos at public school cafeterias.

It was as if someone gave Upton Sinclair a video camera and a Web link. Animal cruelty charges were filed, the slaughterhouse was shut down and Congress held hearings. The Agriculture Department announced the recall of more than 143 million pounds of meat — the largest in the nation’s history. (Cows so sick they can’t walk can’t legally be processed into food because they may have mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a form of which can be passed on to humans.)

After more than 25 years of tactics that have included tossing a dead raccoon on to the lunch plate of Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor; boycotting fast-food restaurants; and staging legal challenges, the animal rights movement had a bona fide hit.

A new generation of cameras so small they can be hidden in eyeglass frames or a hat — together with the rise of YouTube and the growing appeal of so-called citizen journalism — has done for animal rights advocates what the best-organized protest could not. Perhaps more than other social agitators, people concerned about animals raised for food have discovered that downloadable video can be the most potent weapon in their arsenal.

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For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at www.thecapstone.ua.edu, Sunday nights 8-10 central.

Monkey’s Thoughts Propel Robot

January 18, 2008

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On Thursday, the 12-pound, 32-inch monkey made a 200-pound, 5-foot humanoid robot walk on a treadmill using only her brain activity.

She was in North Carolina, and the robot was in Japan.

It was the first time that brain signals had been used to make a robot walk, said Dr. Miguel A. L. Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University whose laboratory designed and carried out the experiment.

In 2003, Dr. Nicolelis’s team proved that monkeys could use their thoughts alone to control a robotic arm for reaching and grasping.

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Fowl Deeds: Mute swans are causing a big racket

December 20, 2007

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Mute swans are invasive. Oregon is so worried about the species the birds are on the 100 Most Dangerous Invaders list.

Although the swans’ population is small and scattered in Oregon, evidence from other states proves that the birds can spread and multiply quickly, driving away other waterfowl.

Despite their genteel appearance, they also are voracious eaters, capable of clearing entire lake bottoms.

“They are the bullies of the wetlands,” said Jim Gores, an invasive species and wildlife integrity coordinator with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “They have a temper and attitude that you would not believe.”

As part of a study of mute swan behavior in Maryland, biologists moved two remote-controlled tundra swans near a pair of mute swans.

The mute swans attacked viciously, to the point that one robo-swan lost its head.

Find the full article here.

Animal lovers unite to save pets

November 16, 2007

This community joined forces and pocketbooks to to provide their local fire departments with resuscitators to save animals suffering from smoke inhalation.

If your family pet suffers smoke inhalation in a fire, the odds it can be resuscitated are now a little better, thanks to a local photographer.

Click on the title on this post to read the full article.