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Communications of the ACM

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The news archive provides access to past news stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

December 2014


From ACM News

Detecting Gases Wirelessly and Cheaply

Detecting Gases Wirelessly and Cheaply

MIT chemists have devised a new way to wirelessly detect hazardous gases and environmental pollutants, using a simple sensor that can be read by a smartphone.


From ACM News

Saturn's Moons: What a Difference a Decade Makes

Saturn's Moons: What a Difference a Decade Makes

Almost immediately after NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft made their brief visits to Saturn in the early 1980s, scientists were hungry for more.


From ACM TechNews

Uncrackable Encryption Could Secure More Than Weapons

Uncrackable Encryption Could Secure More Than Weapons

A scientist working on a novel approach to encrypting nuclear weapons says the concept also could offer security in areas such as communications and the IT supply chain. 


From ACM TechNews

Bridging Sensory Gap Between Artificial and Real Skin

Bridging Sensory Gap Between Artificial and Real Skin

An international team of researchers have developed a polymer designed to mimic the elastic and high-resolution sensory capabilities of real skin. 


From ACM TechNews

Fujitsu Develops Compact Rfid For Wearables, Metal

Fujitsu Develops Compact Rfid For Wearables, Metal

Fujitsu says its new radio frequency identification tag technology can work on surfaces such as metal, which can otherwise impede radio waves. 


From ACM TechNews

Toshiba Android Will Take You For a Trip Down the ­ncanny Valley

Toshiba Android Will Take You For a Trip Down the ­ncanny Valley

Researchers have developed Aiko Chihiro, a lifelike communication android. 


From ACM News

STEM Cells: The Black Box of Reprogramming

STEM Cells: The Black Box of Reprogramming

Eggs and sperm do it when they combine to make an embryo.


From ACM News

Apps Change the Face of Computing

Apps Change the Face of Computing

As computing evolves and becomes increasingly mobile, apps are fundamentally changing actions…and interactions.


From ACM News

Rosetta Fuels Debate on Origin of Earth's Oceans

Rosetta Fuels Debate on Origin of Earth's Oceans

ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth.


From ACM Opinion

Tech's Lost Chapter: An Oral History of Boston's Rise and Fall

Tech's Lost Chapter: An Oral History of Boston's Rise and Fall

In the popular telling, the dawn of personal computing begins in the summer of 1976, when Steve Wozniak showed off the Apple I at a meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in Silicon Valley.


From ACM News

Print Thyself

Print Thyself

In February of 2012, a medical team at the University of Michigan's C. S. Mott Children's Hospital, in Ann Arbor, carried out an unusual operation on a three-month-old boy.


From ACM TechNews

How 'hour of Code' Sparked a Movement That Could Teach 100 Million People to Code

How 'hour of Code' Sparked a Movement That Could Teach 100 Million People to Code

This week is Computer Science Education Week and Code.org hopes unprecedented numbers of students and ordinary people take part in its Hour of Code event.


From ACM News

The Sun and Jupiter Could Reveal Space-Time Ripples

The Sun and Jupiter Could Reveal Space-Time Ripples

Ripples in space-time could squeeze and stretch the sun and Jupiter, forming a gigantic gravitational-wave detector in our own celestial backyard.


From ACM TechNews

Tiny Motions Bring Digital Doubles to Life

Tiny Motions Bring Digital Doubles to Life

New technology is helping animators convert moving dots into detailed body shapes that move like real humans. 


From ACM TechNews

Researchers Develop Clothes That Can Monitor and Transmit Biomedical Info on Wearers

Researchers Develop Clothes That Can Monitor and Transmit Biomedical Info on Wearers

Smart textiles developed at Laval University in Canada could benefit people suffering from chronic diseases and the elderly, as well as first responders. 


From ACM TechNews

Poseidon: Information Technology For People With Down’s Syndrome

Poseidon: Information Technology For People With Down’s Syndrome

The POSEIDON project will use information technology to help people with Down's syndrome achieve a greater level of independence in their lives.


From ACM TechNews

Football Robot Promises to Get Rid of the Boring Bits

Football Robot Promises to Get Rid of the Boring Bits

BBC NewsPolytechnic University of Catalonia researchers have developed software that can identify the important parts of a soccer match and edit them together to make a short summary of the game. The program looks for moments…


From ACM News

Artificial Skin That Senses, and Stretches, Like the Real Thing

Artificial Skin That Senses, and Stretches, Like the Real Thing

Some high-tech prosthetic limbs can be controlled by their owners, using nerves, muscles, or even the brain. However, there's no way for the wearer to tell if an object is scalding hot, or about to slip out of the appendage's…


From ACM TechNews

New Research Will Help Robots Know Their Limits

New Research Will Help Robots Know Their Limits

Three U.K. universities are teaming up to ensure future autonomous robots and systems will be safer, and capable of making decisions based on laws and ethics. 


From ACM News

That’s Traffic; ­p Next, Weather

That’s Traffic; ­p Next, Weather

Smartphone apps emerge to support better weather forecasting.


From ACM News

Nasa's Curiosity Rover Finds Clues to How Water Helped Shape Martian Landscape

Nasa's Curiosity Rover Finds Clues to How Water Helped Shape Martian Landscape

Observations by NASA's Curiosity Rover indicate Mars' Mount Sharp was built by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years.


From ACM News

Titan's Giant Dunes Track Ancient Climate

Titan's Giant Dunes Track Ancient Climate

Long sand dunes that ripple across Saturn's moon Titan may have been there for thousands of years, results from NASA's Cassini spacecraft suggest.


From ACM TechNews

Engineer Applies Robot Control Theory to Improve Prosthetic Legs

Engineer Applies Robot Control Theory to Improve Prosthetic Legs

University of Texas at Dallas researchers have applied robot control theory to enable powered prosthetics to help amputees walk. 


From ACM TechNews

U. Michigan Fronts Effort to Push Https Net Security

U. Michigan Fronts Effort to Push Https Net Security

A University of Michigan research team is leading a project to provide free, automated, open, and ubiquitous website HTTPS Transport Layer Security encryption.


From ACM News

'nanobuds' Could Turn Almost Any Surface Into a Touch Sensor

'nanobuds' Could Turn Almost Any Surface Into a Touch Sensor

Transparent films containing carbon nanobuds—molecular tubes of carbon with ball-like appendages—could turn just about any surface, regardless of its shape, into a touch sensor.


From ACM TechNews

Google Says Bye Bye, Captchas, Well, Mostly

Google Says Bye Bye, Captchas, Well, Mostly

Google recently announced it has starting phasing out its CAPTCHAs in favor of using its reCAPTCHA service.


From ACM News

On Pluto’s Doorstep, NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Awakens for Encounter

On Pluto’s Doorstep, NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Awakens for Encounter

After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles—the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target—NASA's New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation Saturday for its long-awaited 2015…


From ACM News

Who Owns the Biggest Biotech Discovery of the Century?

Who Owns the Biggest Biotech Discovery of the Century?

Last month in Silicon Valley, biologists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier showed up in black gowns to receive the $3 million Breakthrough Prize, a glitzy award put on by Internet billionaires including Mark Zuckerberg…


From ACM Opinion

Baer's Odyssey: Meet the Serial Inventor Who Built the World's First Game Console

Baer's Odyssey: Meet the Serial Inventor Who Built the World's First Game Console

Even if you're a devoted fan of video games, there's a decent chance you're not familiar with the name Ralph H. Baer.


From ACM News

Dawn Snaps Its Best-Yet Image of Dwarf Planet Ceres

Dawn Snaps Its Best-Yet Image of Dwarf Planet Ceres

The Dawn spacecraft has delivered a glimpse of Ceres, the largest body in the main asteroid belt, in a new image taken 740,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from the dwarf planet.