Beam me up to the video conference

When science fiction heroes communicate, they don‘t use landlines or cell phones. The caller simply appears in virtual form in the middle of the room; full sized and three dimensional. This vision is already within reach, say researchers.

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Computer simulation to spare children from heart surgery

Children with congenital heart defects often undergo a battery of strenuous examinations and interventions. Now, researchers have developed software to simulate certain interventions in advance. Preliminary results point to a reduced need to perform numerous interventions.

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Virtually reality simplifies early diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease

Scientists are developing an early diagnosis system for neurodegenerative disorders. The system is intended to such diseases as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and others. The diagnosis system is based on virtual reality (VR) – a person is immersed in a virtual environment to carry out some functional tests. Researchers vary the parameters of the virtual environment and record changes in the person’s movements.

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A virtual flight through a catalyst particle finds evidence of poisoning

Merging two powerful 3-D X-ray techniques, a team of researchers have revealed new details of a process known as metal poisoning that clogs the pores of catalyst particles used in gasoline production, causing them to lose effectiveness.

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Paraplegics regain some feeling, movement after using brain-machine interfaces

Eight people who have spent years paralyzed from spinal cord injuries have regained partial sensation and muscle control in their lower limbs after training with brain-controlled robotics, according to a new study.

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Reach in and touch objects in videos

A new technique called Interactive Dynamic Video (IDV) lets you reach in and ‘touch’ objects in videos. IDV has many possible uses, from filmmakers producing new kinds of visual effects to architects determining if buildings are structurally sound.

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Virtual rocks: A new spin on virtual geology

Over the past decade, the number of virtual field trips created to simulate in-person field excursions has grown, but one aspect of physical fieldwork is not commonly replicated: Virtual explorers do not often return to their desks with collections of virtual rocks. Three-dimensional virtual samples can enhance just about any geoscience activity, from online college courses to remote research collaboration.

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Computer scientists find way to make all that glitters more realistic in computer graphics

Iron Man’s suit. Captain America’s shield. The Batmobile. These all could look a lot more realistic thanks to a new algorithm developed by a team of computer graphics experts. The researchers has created a method to improve how computer graphics software reproduces the way light interacts with extremely small details, called glints, on the surface of a wide range of materials.

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A chair for getting fit and trim

Getting fit and athletic — while sitting? Researchers are developing an active chair. At first glance, the chair looks just like another other reclining chair with a footrest you would find in a living room in front of the TV. But upon closer inspection, the chair is actually connected to a virtual avatar and has all manner of technical refinements.

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The birth of quantum holography: Making holograms of single light particles!

Until quite recently, creating a hologram of a single photon was believed to be impossible due to fundamental laws of physics. However, scientists have now successfully applied concepts of classical holography to the world of quantum phenomena. A new measurement technique has enabled them to register the first ever hologram of a single light particle, thereby shedding new light on the foundations of quantum mechanics.

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Better quality control with digital assistance systems

Errors can be spotted early and resources can be saved when many individuals share knowledge in a company. This is the case with a honing machine used to hone crankcases at VW’s engine plant in Salzgitter: a new digital assistance system will enable significantly more workers to ensure the quality of honing in the future than now.

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Vision through the clouds

Poor weather can often make the operation of rescue helicopters a highly risky business, and sometimes even impossible. A new helmet-mounted display may in the future be able to help pilots detect hazards at an early stage, even when their visibility is severely impaired: the information required to do this is created in an on-board computer and imported into digital eye glasses.

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