Technology News

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1. The Vanderbilt University has created a prosthetic leg that is supposed to be of great help for the people that have lost one leg in a shark attack, for example. The prosthetic leg is fully robotic, and it will prove to be very efficient for the persons that have had their leg amputated above the knee.

The bionic leg uses several sensors which try to copy the movements of the muscles and joints which can be found in any healthy leg. Due to this new invention, its users will have the possibility of making moves they could not do until now. As an example, the persons wearing such a leg will be able to run or go up and down the stairs.


2. Nissan has announced that its first self-driving car will be present on the streets starting with 2020. The car manufacturer has stated that they feel the pressure of the competition, because other big car manufacturers are also working at their own models of self driving cars. During the Frankfurt Auto Show, many people were invited to see a demonstration of the prototype.

An existing Nissan Leaf vehicle was modified, managing to drive around on its own, due to several sensors, five cameras and several state of the art CPUs, which, according to the Nissan representatives, did the most difficult part of the job. A man has been present in the driver’s seat, as requested by law, but he did not have to touch the steering wheel at all during the demonstration.


3. A virtual head was used by a team of researchers from the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in Hong Kong in order to better understand and prevent injuries caused by the softball ball hits. The most severe of the injuries that usually happen while playing softball has to do with players getting hit by the actual ball; often times, this can lead to bone fractures.

Researchers have been trying to understand the way in which the different properties of the balls used in the games can affect the safety of the players. They have used human models in order to understand the process, but they have not used a virtual head until now.

Thums is a computerized skeletal model of a head that was created by Toyota and has been used for crash tests. Thums replicates the characteristics of the skull in great detail, having parietal bones, facial muscles, and so on. During the test, it has been hit many times with several softballs, with speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.

The results of the tests have showed that one of the two softball models used regularly for the games can produce major damages, due to its particular properties. The virtual head was terribly injured after it has been hit with that specific ball. Researchers will continue their study, and hopefully they will learn how to create balls that have much less devastating effects.


4. Facebook is known in almost every corner of the world, and right now there are close to 1.5 billion persons using it. Natalia Rojas from Spain wanted to gather all the profile photos on a single page and she actually managed to do it. The photos were added in a chronological order, and all users can sign into their Facebook accounts, trying to find their personal picture and determine where it is placed in comparison with their personal friends’ pictures.

The huge image can be zoomed in, of course, and once you click on a photo you can actually visit the Facebook page of that person. The creator of this huge image has declared that she has not broken the security or privacy rules of Facebook.

When asked about the goal of her project, Rojas said that everything was put together because of her desire of combining the best photos of the persons that have Facebook accounts, and thus send a positive message worldwide.