iCandy: Bionics

Web-enabled electromechanical hands and specially tailored pet paws

0 min read
iCandy: Bionics
Photo: Toby Melville/ Reuters

Photo: Toby Melville/ Reuters
Swiss social psychologist Bertolt Mayer takes a close look at his man-made doppelgänger in February at the Science Museum, in London. “Rex,” the bionic man modeled after Mayer, has fully functioning mechanical limbs, artificial organs, and fake blood flowing through its body. Mayer has good reason for his strong interest in replicating human organs: He was born without a left hand and has continually searched for prostheses that provide better functionality.

   

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
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Photo: Rami Shlush
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Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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