For days now Ubuntu's site has featured an ominous countdown and the words "So close, you can almost touch it." The countdown ended with the release of a virtual keynote by Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth touting a new mobile version of Ubuntu, and the "Ubuntu Phone." Shuttleworth says the new goal for Ubuntu is to create "one platform for all kinds of computing." The aim is have Ubuntu powering phones, computers, television, and the cloud.
Crocodile researchers have discovered an unexpected organ associated with the famously toothsome and heavily armored reptile -- one that makes the monstrous creature's jaws one of the most sensitive body parts in the animal kingdom. Crocodile's mouths are lined with tiny, dome-shaped structures that are packed with nerve endings, rendering the massive, powerful jaws as sensitive as human fingertips,
says a study published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
A flexible electronic sensor
mimics the structure of a beetle's wing
, locking two sheets of tiny polymer fibres together to create a surface that can detect pressures as low as 5 Pa
and, for the first time, distinguish between pressure, shear, and torsion
. Considering how important it is for an android to be able to distinguish between someone shaking their hand and someone trying to rip their arm out, I'd say this is some important stuff indeed.
Those that have congenital deafness have hearing loss present at birth. The majority of these cases are due to genetic issues, though it's possible for environmental factors to play their part in causing deafness. These are all fairly well-known and accepted facts in the scientific community, but what does comes as news is the fact that our touch sensitivity is linked directly by our genes to our ability to hear.
People who are born blind can become quite adept at identifying objects by touch alone, but scientists wanted to know if how they would fare if their sight was suddenly restored and their eyes became their primary sensory input. Simply put, could someone who has seen with their hands learn to see with their eyes? Thanks to modern medical science, this question is no longer an issue of navel-gazing and was recently investigated in a study published in Nature Neuroscience
The researchers worked with five children, ages 8 to 17, that had their sight restored as part of Project Prakash
, an organization that provides free medical care to curably blind children in rural India. Within 48 hours of undergoing surgery, the children were presented with an object and allowed to feel it with their hands and then asked to identify a similar object amongst a set of objects. As expected, the children handled the task easily.
Then the test subjects were given a different object to feel, and were then asked to identify that object from a group of objects by sight alone.
The miracle of convergence, where our physical and digital lives merge seamlessly and we'll be able to access Facebook on our noses or something, is still a long way off. But another convergence, that between mobile and desktop user experiences, is most assuredly upon us. Touch-based controls, which were birthed and perfected on mobile platforms, are becoming increasingly common on non-touch devices. Especially in two new innovations rolling out for the Gnome and Unity user interfaces (UIs) for Linux.