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A Life in Darkness

Having to hurry home at sunset because his family’s farm lacked electricity inspired Ahmed Almansour to study electrical engineering. Read the University of British Columbia student’s story.

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Thinking Cap May Cut Practice Time

Special Feature by Guy Wilkins

Hate playing scales or doing fitness drills? In the not-so-distant future, the hours of repetitive practice necessary to learn a musical instrument, new sport, or dance may be a relic of the past. Lara Boyd, a researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, believes a promising new technology called magnetic brain stimulation could cut the practice time required to learn a new motor skill.

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Talk to the Hand

voice synthesizerWhat’s in a voice? A new gesture-to-speech synthesizer developed by researchers at the University of British Columbia adds emotion to words that text-to-speech technologies now voice only in a monotone. It also translates gestures into music.

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National Robotics Week 2013

FIRST Robotics competitions, Botball tournaments, Mars rover demonstrations, fun events at colleges… How will you celebrate National Robotics Week this year?

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Smart Jammies


Sudden infant death syndrome, or crib death, is responsible in the United States for around 2,225 deaths a year of children from birth to 12 months. But German researchers have developed a stretchable, printed circuit board that could be fitted into a one-piece sleeper and would signal an alarm if a baby stops breathing. Investigators at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin have figured out how to make the flexible, wearable circuit board from polyurethane, a plastic often used as a sealant. They fitted it with sensors that monitor breathing in the chest and stomach areas, and ironed it onto baby-size PJs.

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