Think you've had a rough week? At least you didn't get watch your life's work get flushed down the crapper and your reputation used as the plunger.
Japanese media sources today are reporting that an investigative committee at the University of Tokyo have come to a grim conclusion: 43 scientific papers published by staff at the University will have to be retracted due to falsifications and fabrications of data by researcher Shigeaki Kato.
Pilot whales dive in teams and keep their partners close at fin. So close, in fact, that dives are regularly hand-holding sessions for the cetaceans.
The buddy system isn't just a good way to keep fourth-graders from wandering off on field trips to the zoo. A recent study found that pilot whales take a buddy when they dive into the dark reaches of the ocean where light doesn't penetrate and the animals' vision is limited. On these deep dark dives, University of Tokyo researchers found that long-finned pilot whales -- which are actually a species of dolphin -- keep in fin-to-fin contact with their diving buddies, turning every deep dive into a perpetual cuddle session for the aquatic mammals. Also, there is some high-fiving.
One of the toughest hurdles to clear for the next generation of robotics is trying to teach robots the senses that we use everyday, or at least develop accurate analogs for them. Researchers at the University of Tokyo
are tackling the problem of teaching robots to smell
with a little help from the humble silk moth. They've put a male moth in the driver's seat of a small, two-wheeled robot, letting the moth's powerful attraction to the scent of female silk moth pheromones help it guide the robot across a chamber. As the moth drives, the robot takes lessons from it in tracking down and following scent trails
, and also in moth courtship, a skill that will probably come in less handy. Keep reading to see the world's smallest mech pilot it in action below.
Anyone who passed high school biology knows cells divide through mitosis, but new research has measured the strength of the forces at work when cells divide. A pair of scientists at the University of Tokyo in Japan looked at how slime mold Dictyostelium divides, and how it musters the strength to rip itself in half. Slime mold is a lot of things, but it turns out it's not very strong. It's downright weak. We're not afraid of you, slime mold.
As if getting into a good school, paying off your student loans, and learning proper hygiene procedures weren't enough troubles, college students are about to have another concern on their hands in the form of competition from robots. Japanese researchers at Fujitsu are working on an artificial intelligence program that is smart enough to get into the prestigious University of Tokyo
. The hardest part, oddly enough, is getting the AI, affectionately known as Todai Robot,
to pass the math portion of the entrance exam. While computers are generally very good at math, that's only half the battle here. The calculations come easily to Todai Robot, understanding the questions is another matter.
Normally when we bring you a story from DigInfo, it's a crazy Japanese project to bring you something no sane person would want
. This research project to place enormous retractable metal sails
on large merchant ships, however, is actually quite a good idea. The supporters of the project say that a hybrid ship
, using both wind and conventional engine power, could reduce fuel consumption by 25%
So you want to play guitar like Jimmi Hendrix or Carlos Santana, but you just don't have the skills? Don't worry, the Japanese have a solution for you. PossessedHand
, is a device being developed by the University of Tokyo
, and Sony Computer Science Laboratories
, that can move your fingers into the proper positions to play musical instruments. The device electrically stimulates the muscles in the forearm that play a role in moving the fingers, without the users mind instructing the hand to move.
PossessedHand consists of a belt, worn around the user's arm that contains 28 electrode pads. These electrodes flex the joints in the hand, including the joints that enable the fingers, thumb and wrist to bend. Though information about the exact mechanism is spare, it seems as though electrical impulses stimulate the muscles in the forearm, which power the movement of the connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) that allow the joints in the hand to bend.
User's are aware that their hand is moving, however they do not have control over how it moves. Unlike other devices that use electrodes to control hand movements, PossessedHand is non-invasive and doesn't require the electrodes to be embedded in the skin.