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First robot that mimics the water striders' jumping abilities

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TechAndComputer (July 26, 2012) — The first bio-inspired microrobot capable of not just walking on water like the water strider -- but continuously jumping up and down like a real water strider -- now is a reality. Scientists reported development of the agile microrobot, which could use its jumping ability to avoid obstacles on reconnaissance or other missions, in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Qinmin Pan and colleagues explain that scientists have reported a number of advances toward tiny robots that can walk on water. Such robots could skim across lakes and other bodies of water to monitor water quality or act as tiny spies. However, even the most advanced designs -- including one from Pan's team last year -- can...

'Control-Alt-Hack' game lets players try their hand at computer security

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TechAndComputer (July 24, 2012) — Do you have what it takes to be an ethical hacker? Can you step into the shoes of a professional paid to outsmart supposedly locked-down systems?

Now you can at least try, no matter what your background, with a new card game developed by University of Washington computer scientists.

"Control-Alt-Hack" gives teenage and young-adult players a taste of what it means to be a computer-security professional defending against an ever-expanding...

Frog calls inspire a new algorithm for wireless networks

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TechAndComputer (July 17, 2012) — Males of the Japanese tree frog have learnt not to use their calls at the same time so that the females can distinguish between them. Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia have used this form of calling behaviour to create an algorithm that assigns colours to network nodes -- an operation that can be applied to developing efficient wireless networks.

How can network nodes be coloured with the least possible number of colours...

Autonomous robot maps ship hulls for mines

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TechAndComputer (July 17, 2012) — For years, the U.S. Navy has employed human divers, equipped with sonar cameras, to search for underwater mines attached to ship hulls. The Navy has also trained dolphins and sea lions to search for bombs on and around vessels. While animals can cover a large area in a short amount of time, they are costly to train and care for, and don't always perform as expected.

In the last few years, Navy scientists, along with research institutions around...

Controlling your computer with your eyes

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TechAndComputer (July 12, 2012) — Millions of people suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries or amputees could soon interact with their computers and surroundings using just their eyes, thanks to a new device that costs less than £40.

Composed from off-the-shelf materials, the new device can work out exactly where a person is looking by tracking their eye movements, allowing them to control a cursor on a screen just like a normal...