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MRI Powered Pill-Sized Robot Swims Through Intestines 98

kkleiner writes "Researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston have collaborated to create a robot that can swim through the intestines. The size of a large pill, the 'microswimmer' is powered by the strong magnetic fields generated by an MRI machine. A tail measuring 20mm x 5mm made of copper and flexible polymer vibrates due to the magnets and propels the little microrobot through the gut."

Upscaling Retro 8-Bit Pixel Art To Vector Graphics 325

An anonymous reader writes "Two researchers — Johannes Kopf from Microsoft, and Dani Lischinski from The Hebrew University — have successfully created an algorithm that depixelizes and upscales low-resolution 8-bit 'pixel art' into lush vector graphics. The algorithm identifies pixel-level details (original paper — PDF) to accurately shade the new image — but more importantly, the algorithm can create smooth, curved contour lines from only-connected-on-the-diagonal single pixels. At long last, we might be able to play Super Mario Bros. on a big screen without stretching our beloved plumber's pixels to breaking point. You really must look at the sample images." Scroll down in the paper to see how their technique stacks up against some others, including Adobe's Live Trace.

Facebook Acquires Feature Phone App Maker Snaptu 62

Krystalo writes "Facebook has agreed to acquire Snaptu, an Israeli startup that makes Java-based feature phone apps, for an estimated $70 million. The acquisition, for which neither company would reveal financial details, is expected to close within a few weeks. Earlier this year, Facebook worked with the mobile development firm to build a feature phone app that is accessible free of data charges in various overseas markets. The company says the Facebook for Feature Phones app currently works on more than 2,500 devices."

Israeli Company Trains Security Mice Screenshot-sm 96

Israeli scientists have created an explosive detector using specially trained mice. Researchers claim the mice are more accurate than dogs or x-ray machines and best of all, they work for peanuts. From the article: "The device was tested last year on 1,000 shoppers in a Tel Aviv shopping mall when the mice successfully picked out 22 people carrying mock explosives."

Scientists Find Tears Are the Anti-Viagra Screenshot-sm 207

An anonymous reader writes "The male test subjects didn't know what they were smelling, they were just given little vials of clear liquid and told to sniff. But when those vials contained a woman's tears (collected while she watched a sad movie), the men rated pictures of women's faces as less sexually attractive, and their saliva contained less testosterone. Is this proof that humans make and respond to pheromones? The researcher behind the study doesn't use that controversial word, but he says his findings do prove that tears contain meaningful chemical messages."

Potato-Powered Batteries Debut 284

MojoKid writes "Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has just introduced what it's calling 'solid organic electric battery based upon treated potatoes.' In short, it's a potato-powered battery, and it's as real as you're hoping it is. The simple, sustainable, robust device can potentially provide an immediate inexpensive solution to electricity needs in parts of the world lacking electrical infrastructure. Researchers at the Hebrew University discovered that the enhanced salt bridge capability of treated potato tubers can generate electricity through means readily available in developing nations."

Software Recognizes Sarcastic Tweets 168

An anonymous reader writes "Even humans sometimes fail to recognize sarcasm and irony; can machines do better? An algorithm that identifies sarcastic tweets (PDF) on Twitter and sarcastic sentences in product reviews on Amazon will be presented next week in the International Conference for Weblogs and Social Media in Washington, DC, and in the Computational Natural Language Learning in Sweden in July. A team from the Hebrew University, Israel, has developed an algorithm that identifies sarcastic sentences by using a machine learning technique in which a small number of sarcastic sentences act as seeds for the software to learn and generalize upon. The algorithm can then identify sarcastic sentences that are nothing like the examples. The variety of recognized sarcastic sentences is impressive, though the results are not perfect. But again, we don't do it so well ourselves, do we?"

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing