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An edited collection of advanced computing news from Communications of the ACM, ACM TechNews, other ACM resources, and news sites around the Web.


Robots: Is the Uncanny Valley Real?
From ACM News

Robots: Is the Uncanny Valley Real?

Mick Walters opens a door in his lab and points his computer's camera towards the small, blurry, tan-coloured object he has just revealed. "This is Kaspar Two,"...

Strands Project Develops Robot Security Guards
From ACM TechNews

Strands Project Develops Robot Security Guards

The European Union's Seventh Framework Program is funding the Strands project, which is developing software for robot brains that can be used as security guards...

'virtual Lolita' Aims to Trap Chatroom Pedophiles
From ACM TechNews

'virtual Lolita' Aims to Trap Chatroom Pedophiles

Negobot, a "virtual Lolita" robot, poses as a 14-year-old girl and tries to identify pedophiles in online chatrooms. 

3D Printing Powered By Thought
From ACM News

3D Printing Powered By Thought

It's definitely not a bird. Nor is it a plane. The garish orange piece of plastic, small enough to hold in the palm of a hand, could pass for a missing limb of...

German Railways to Test Anti-Graffiti Drones
From ACM News

German Railways to Test Anti-Graffiti Drones

The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras to collect evidence, which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night.

Robot Truck Platoons Roll Forward
From ACM News

Robot Truck Platoons Roll Forward

Imagine cruising down a three-lane highway and rounding a bend to find four trucks rolling along in single-file. They are all traveling close together—perhaps too...

Will We Ever… Communicate Telepathically?
From ACM News

Will We Ever… Communicate Telepathically?

In a lab at Harvard Medical School, a man is using his mind to wag a rat's tail.

Internet of Things: Trash Talk Signals Mobile Future
From ACM News

Internet of Things: Trash Talk Signals Mobile Future

Wander through the historic streets of the Roman city of Bath in the U.K., and you might sense that they are smarter than average. And you would be right.

Raspberry Pi Heads For the Open Ocean
From ACM News

Raspberry Pi Heads For the Open Ocean

Confronted with that tiny device, some have seen a way to play old arcade games, as a media server or to monitor their sleeping children. There are some that have...

10 Extraordinary Pentagon Mind Experiments
From ACM News

10 Extraordinary Pentagon Mind Experiments

It’s been 30 years since the first message was sent over initial nodes of the Arpanet, the Pentagon-sponsored precursor to the internet. But this month, researchers...

Web-Based 'brain' For Robots Goes Live
From ACM News

Web-Based 'brain' For Robots Goes Live

Robots confused about what they encounter in the world of humans can now get help online.

Will We Ever Simulate the Human Brain?
From ACM News

Will We Ever Simulate the Human Brain?

For years, Henry Markram has claimed that he can simulate the human brain in a computer within a decade. On 23 January 2013, the European Commission told him to...

NASA's 'Crazy' Robot Lab
From ACM Careers

NASA's 'Crazy' Robot Lab

It's three in the afternoon, and in their NASA lab in Silicon Valley, California, two engineers are playing with a toy designed for toddlers.

Ticketmaster Dumps 'hated' Captcha Verification System
From ACM News

Ticketmaster Dumps 'hated' Captcha Verification System

The world's largest online ticket retailer is to stop requiring users to enter hard-to-read words in order to prove they are human.

Robots Ride the Ocean Blue
From ACM News

Robots Ride the Ocean Blue

When superstorm Sandy was rampaging across the Caribbean and mid-Atlantic, heralded by gale force winds, torrential rain, and surging tides, people rushed to get...

Risk of Robot ­prising Wiping Out Human Race to Be Studied
From ACM News

Risk of Robot ­prising Wiping Out Human Race to Be Studied

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk will study dangers posed by biotechnology, artificial life, nanotechnology, and climate change.

X-37b: Secrets of the ­.s. Military Spaceplane
From ACM News

X-37b: Secrets of the ­.s. Military Spaceplane

In the early morning of 16 June, 2012, a top-secret spaceplane made a picture-perfect landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Almost Being There: Why the Future of Space Exploration Is Not What You Think
From ACM News

Almost Being There: Why the Future of Space Exploration Is Not What You Think

Mocup is a tiny, adorable remote-controlled robot built from a Lego Mindstorms set with an off-the-shelf Beagleboard computer for a brain and a webcam for an eye...

Controlling Curiosity: How Do You Drive a Mars Rover?
From ACM News

Controlling Curiosity: How Do You Drive a Mars Rover?

Engineers at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, have the ultimate iPhone app.

Bae's Striker Helmet Gives Fighter Pilots 'x-Ray Vision'
From ACM News

Bae's Striker Helmet Gives Fighter Pilots 'x-Ray Vision'

When a pilot in a Eurofighter Typhoon jet glances down, he doesn't see a steel-grey floor. Instead he sees clouds, and maybe sheep and cows in green fields below...
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