This ornately detailed figure, which brings to mind the beauty of a coral reef, is actually a 3-D computer rendering of a mathematical equation. It’s an example of a fractal, which breaks the rules of traditional geometry because its area and perimeter are incalculable. Fractals defy number crunching, because no matter how closely you zoom in, the features look like ever-smaller copies of the entire figure.
Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images
We’re tantalizingly close to having robotic household servants. Mahru-Z [right, with “older sibling” Mahru-M], an automaton developed by researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, can clean, put your dirty clothes in the washer, pop your snack into the microwave, and bring it to you. The 1.5-meter-tall domestic is the result of a two-year project.
Yes, there’s a hand sticking out of this guy’s shirt…well, no, not really. It’s actually an optical illusion generated by software that aligns the computer-created arm with the window in the shirt (sent to subscribers to T-Post magazine). A webcam allows wearers to see themselves and the hand on screen and play the classic kids’ game Rock, Paper, Scissors. Remember: Rock beats scissors.
Photo: Imaginechina/AP Photo
From 7:00 to 9:30 each night through 18 March, visitors to Xuanwu Lake Park in Nanjing, China, will be able to see a breathtaking display of electronic art. The Italian International Light Sculpture Festival, timed to coincide with the Chinese New Year, will feature 75 exquisitely detailed replicas of Italian landmarks, together comprising 560 000 LEDs.
Photo: Ingo Wagner/dpa/Landov
Engineers at the Institute for Automatic Control Engineering at the University of Bremen, in Germany, have developed a set of robot arms that can be attached to a disabled person’s wheelchair. The extra set of hands could aid patients whose hands are paralyzed or extend their reach, allowing people to grab things from high shelves or off the floor.
Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images
What better way to observe primates’ natural behavior than by giving them a new toy that doubles as a monitoring device? Researcher Betsy Herrelko of the University of Stirling, in Scotland, got a wealth of footage showing the inner workings of chimp society when she left a chimp-proof video camera in an enclosure at the Edinburgh Zoo. The animals gave Herrelko an unprecedented chimp’s-eye view of the world.
Photo: Shiho Fukada/The New York Times/Redux
Green power begins with a protective coating of what will eventually be part of a 44-meter-long blade on a wind turbine. The workers are employed by Vestas Wind Systems, a Danish company whose Chinese subsidiary has sold more than 1000 utility-grade wind turbines in China.