A new automated system might help track kids' speech development. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
A new automated system might help track kids' speech development. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)Children struggling with speech development currently rely on in-person evaluation sessions with speech-language pathologists to track progress and identify impairments, but U.S. researchers have invented a more efficient, automated method of monitoring speech through digital platforms based on a new machine-learning algorithm.

A new transistor gets computers closer to thinking like humans. (Northwestern University)
A new transistor gets computers closer to thinking like humans. (Northwestern University)Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Hong Kong have created an electrochemical transistor that mimics brain synapse functions to form a circuit made of soft plastic, ultimately producing a novel device capable of learning by association in much the same way as our brains.

Robot grip is becoming more human all the time. (Lilian Hsiao)
Robot grip is becoming more human all the time. (Lilian Hsiao)Algorithms are required to give traits to robots — they're computers that lack intuition, after all — and newly released formulas represent a specific type of friction intrinsic to human grip that takes into account fingerprints, sweat and dexterity.

Lighthouses have helped ships navigate for centuries. Now acoustic ones might help birds avoid hazards. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Lighthouses have helped ships navigate for centuries. Now acoustic ones might help birds avoid hazards. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)Projecting targeted sound into the airspace surrounding buildings, communication towers and wind turbines could give birds a heads-up before they fatally strike such obstacles, researchers say.

One of the many effects of Parkinson's disease is that some patients see "ghosts." Now we might know why. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
One of the many effects of Parkinson's disease is that some patients see "ghosts." Now we might know why. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)Using robotics and brain imaging, researchers have discovered an abnormality in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease that may explain why some experience "presence hallucinations," sensing the shadowy presence of another person when nobody is there.

New technology is bringing better images and greater insight into the lives of a creature of legend. (Edith Widder)
New technology is bringing better images and greater insight into the lives of a creature of legend. (Edith Widder)Only recently have scientists shown us video evidence of the giant squid in its deep sea habitat, and both of the landmark recordings were captured with a stealthy undersea camera that researchers say could be adapted to get a better view of the iconic creature.

New capsules might replace the scratch-and-sniff test currently used for COVID-19 diagnosis. (Unsplash/Kate Hliznitsova)
New capsules might replace the scratch-and-sniff test currently used for COVID-19 diagnosis. (Unsplash/Kate Hliznitsova)A new smell testing device developed by U.K. researchers, which uses breakable capsules filled with scented oils, has the potential to replace the "gold standard" scratch-and-sniff tests and help diagnose both chronic neurological conditions and acute respiratory infections that involve an impaired sense of smell, including COVID-19.

It turns out we can add "watching dolphins" to the list of things drones are really good for. (Stephanie Stack/Pacific Whale Foundation)
It turns out we can add "watching dolphins" to the list of things drones are really good for. (Stephanie Stack/Pacific Whale Foundation)Marine scientists have discovered that using drones to monitor the physical condition of dolphins is nearly as accurate as examining a dolphin in person — but much easier to practice.

A new technique allows drug researchers to see the action of RNA viruses much more clearly. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A new technique allows drug researchers to see the action of RNA viruses much more clearly. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)A recently developed platform lets researchers watch any RNA virus — including the one that causes COVID-19 — in real time, quickly learn its behavior and fast-track screening of antiviral compounds for possible repurposing.

An octopus-inspired grabber might help astronauts work on satellites. (Pixabay/PIRO4D)
An octopus-inspired grabber might help astronauts work on satellites. (Pixabay/PIRO4D)Researchers have invented a new soft robotic device with eight tentacle arms that allows astronauts to grasp and service objects in space at a low cost and low risk.

VR can make even a painful experience feel more real than watching it in regular 2D. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
VR can make even a painful experience feel more real than watching it in regular 2D. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)Researchers have found that participants who watched a person recall a painful experience through a virtual reality headset showed greater facial synchrony and social presence than people who viewed the monologue on a traditional screen, furthering the case that VR may bolster compassion.

A new system could help human operators track down incidents of elder abuse. (AP Photo/Cody Jackson)
A new system could help human operators track down incidents of elder abuse. (AP Photo/Cody Jackson)Researchers at the University of Iowa have invented a way to autonomously detect on-camera violence that could someday flag or even prevent the abuse of seniors and other vulnerable people.