Using Robots to Monitor Deep-Sea Ecosystems

Autosub6000 AUV

Autosub6000 AUV

Scientists at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) have used advanced photographic tools in an unmanned Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to make major advancements in estimating deep-sea ecosystem diversity at ‘landscape’ scales. Read More →

First Steps for Hector the Robot Stick Insect

Elastic joints and six legs that function like those of a stick insect: Hector is the only walking robot of its kind in the whole world. Photo: Bielefeld University

Elastic joints and six legs that function like those of a stick insect: Hector is the only walking robot of its kind in the whole world. Photo: Bielefeld University

A research team at Bielefeld University has succeeded in teaching the only robot of its kind in the world how to walk. Its first steps have been recorded in a video (see below). The robot is called Hector, and its construction is modelled on a stick insect. Inspired by the insect, Hector has passive elastic joints and an ultralight exoskeleton. What makes it unique is that it is also equipped with a great number of sensors and it functions according to a biologically inspired decentralized reactive control concept: the Walknet. Read More →

To See or Not to See


The brain is a complicated network of small units called neurons, all working to carry information from the outside world, create an internal model, and generate a response. Neurons sense a signal through branching dendrites, carry this signal to the cell body, and send it onwards through a long axon to signal the next neuron. However, neurons can function in many different ways; some of which researchers are still exploring. Read More →

Picotechnology: Beyond Nano-Scale Engineering


While it’s become quite popular to discuss nanotechnology for a number of years now, picotechnology is the science of the future. This type of engineering is on a scale three orders of magnitude smaller than that which nanotechnology deals with. It’s actually considerably smaller than most chemistry measurements. Read More →

Robots in the Workplace


Small, mobile robots will learn to take over the tasks in the automotive industry that have not yet been possible to automate. This challenge is part of a 47 million kroner EU funded research project aimed at making robots available to small and medium-sized companies without the need of robotics expertise. Read More →

Science App to Explore Human Consciousness


I was recently introduced to a new science-based initiative on Indiegogo that looks pretty exciting. Years of scientific laboratory work have gone into the project that the new app is based upon, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned thus far. The idea of collective consciousness states that there is a real measurable relationship between human consciousness and the tangible world that we live in. This relationship is generally referred to as mind-matter interaction. This new Collective Consciousness app is designed to help us further understand these ideas. Read More →

Finding Extraterrestrial Life on Europa

Jupiter Europa

Earlier this week, we learned during a NASA press conference that scientists have discovered huge active plumes containing water vapor being released from the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. This sensational find was made using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Joachim Saur, professor at the Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology of the University of Cologne was principal investigator of the Hubble observing campaign. Read More →

Human Brain vs. Supercomputer

Blue Gene:Q Sequoia

The Blue Gene/Q Sequoia. (Image via IBM)

Last November, IBM revealed that its lightning speed, Blue Gene/Q Sequoia supercomputer achieved a record simulation of more than 530 billion neurons. The Blue Gene/ Q Sequoia can perform over 16 quadrillion calculations per second, ranking as the second-fastest supercomputer in the world. (The number one spot is held by Cray’s Titan, built by the Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee.) Read More →

Synthetic Biology Research on the Rise


The number of private and public entities conducting research in synthetic biology worldwide grew significantly between 2009 and 2013, according to the latest version of an interactive map produced by the Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The map is available online at Read More →

EasyBib for Citing References [App Review]

Free App Download

In any given week, I may have multiple research papers that I’m working on for school/work. While I love the research/writing aspect, citing references has become the bane of my existence. Earlier this year, I found a service called EasyBib that has made my life much, much better. I thought I’d cover the company’s mobile app today. If you’re currently in college, I cannot recommend the service enough.

Easy Bib for the iPad

EasyBib is a great way to format citations, and it now comes in a format that’s perfect for iPad users. Of course, the original iPhone app is still supported. The app lets people scan the barcodes on printed material to instantly format citations. These citations can be emailed and exported to the EasyBib service.

This is perfect for anyone who is physically standing in a library while doing research. Those of you who take notes on their iOS mobile devices will be particularly pleased. It’s an easy way to go completely paperless with the research process. Some students like to take notes and make citations away from the classroom, and a large number of people don’t attend college in person any more.

Those using the EasyBib app can complete the entire process in the library, and return home with notes. You’ll be ready to write an essay, even if you are no longer able to access the materials you were using in the library. Reference materials are often unable to leave libraries, so researchers will certainly find this a valuable aid. Even if one is able to check out their books, using an iPad can speed up research. It can even save you from needing to use a notebook if you’re lucky.

The app also allows users to type in the names of books with the touch screen. That’s useful for anyone who is trying to cite older materials. Books printed before a certain date simply won’t carry barcodes. Typing in a title also works for those times when the code is obscured. While the app seems to be mostly focused on books for the time being, this shouldn’t be that much of a problem. A number of classes require the majority of citations to come from books, despite the fact that less and less professional research is being performed the old fashioned way.

The APA (American Psychological Association,) MLA (Modern Language Association, and Chicago styles are all supported. Most instructors except bibliography pages attached to academic research to be formatted in one of these three styles. A vast majority of students will find these options more than adequate for their needs.

Plenty of students already use the online version of EasyBib. Some of them might have paid accounts so that they can access a wider variety of citation types (I do because I typically use APA format). Regardless, you should certainly have a look at the site the next time you sit down at a desktop. The app is perfect for anyone who wants to format citations on the go. The barcode scanning function is something that most people wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Some users have had issues with the scanning function. I never have had an issue.