Electron Microscopes Can Reveal Filed-Off Serial Numbers

To make it difficult for law enforcement to trace stolen cars or weapons, thieves will usually grind off their metal vehicle identification numbers or serial numbers. And while techniques for trying to recover those numbers do exist, they're not as accurate as a new method developed by researchers at the National… » 2/23/15 2:30pm 2/23/15 2:30pm

Google's Real-Life Babelfish Will Translate the World

The tough thing about translation: You need someone who actually speaks both languages. Easy for Spanish to English, not so much for Swahili to Inuktitut. In the Plex by Steven Levy illustrates how Google's machine translations will revolutionize human communication. » 5/12/11 2:16pm 5/12/11 2:16pm

France's Kilogram Standard is No Good For Americans

France holds the world's standard for the kilogram weight. It's a cylinder-shaped object that has dictated all other kilogram weights for 130 years now. As it's made from platinum-iridium though, the US is concerned it's no longer accurate. Whoops? » 10/29/10 5:00am 10/29/10 5:00am

Buried Corpses Won't Rest Long Thanks to New Body-Detecting Invention

Up until now, crime scene investigators have relied mainly on sniffing-dogs to discover buried bodies, but a probe with the thickness of a human hair could send the doggies off to early retirement if scientists have their way. » 8/03/10 8:20am 8/03/10 8:20am

Scientists Make Breakthrough With First Programmable Quantum Processor

In the future, quantum computers will accomplish in seconds what would take years with our best computers today. Physicists at NIST have made a significant leap towards this goal by demonstrating the first "universal" programmable quantum information processor. » 11/18/09 11:44am 11/18/09 11:44am

RoboCup Rescue: A Rubble Hellscape With Screaming, Wriggling Dolls

The RoboCup soccer tourney gets all the publicity, but the RoboCup Rescue competition kicking off this week in Germany is thrilling in a more macabre way: Each year the rubble-strewn maze gets more and more complicated, as robots use AI and all their mechanical faculties to locate (though not necessarily recover)… » 4/22/08 1:00pm 4/22/08 1:00pm