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Magic Arms from a 3D Printer

Dec, 12, 2012

When asked where the plastic parts in a computer come from, most people will answer correctly: large factories.  But factory-made plastic is becoming less universal.  With the advent of 3D printing, companies like Stratasys are building tools that allow us to create plastic parts without leaving our desk.  As 3D printers become more affordable, their […]

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Blind Photographers

Nov, 11, 2012

Visually impaired people have been taking photographs since the advent of cameras, and many have created art that would seem impossible.  We recommend watching the documentary “The Dark Light – The Art of Blind Photographers” for an in-depth exploration. BlindSighted contains a series of descriptions from visually impaired photographers of their individual processes for capturing images. Pete […]

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Good Vibrations – Touching Sound

Nov, 11, 2012

Touch the Sound, a German documentary about deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie, explores and expands our conventional thoughts on sound and hearing.  Most people don’t question how they hear, it’s taken as a given that this occurs through the ears. Glennie’s story illustrates some basic principles of sound, and deepens our understanding of other properties of sound.  […]

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How to Build a Language, Part 1

Oct, 10, 2012

A phoneme is a distinct type of sound that forms a building block of a language. An example in English is the phoneme /k/, which occurs in words such as cow, krill, school, and skid. Each language has its own phonemes, and a unique system of rules to explain how various phonemes are allowed to […]

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It’s How You Say It That Counts

Oct, 10, 2012

Designing good speech recognition software is no easy task. Nuance Communications should know. The company has succeeded in creating a product that amazes most users: Apple’s Siri. But this product, like the human speech it’s programmed to recognize, is imperfect. Most owners of an iPhone can share stories about Siri’s often humorous misunderstandings of their […]

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How Accessibility Makes Your Site Stand Out in a Pixel-Dense Age

Sep, 9, 2012

“What comes after HD?” The most likely answer to this question is something called Quad-XGA, which boasts a resolution of 2560 x 1440. High-definition displays, by comparison, are typically 1920 x 1080. Such a pixel-dense display is exciting for A/V enthusiasts to contemplate. But the rapid proliferation of pixel-dense displays is far less exciting for […]

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Tiny Fonts Don’t Rock the Vote

Sep, 9, 2012

The New York Times reports that a recent local election frustrated many citizens by printing information on the ballot in a nearly illegible 7pt font. There is no New York state law that governs the proper sizing of text used on ballots, but now people are asking whether there should be. The polling locations do […]

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Xbox, Listen to Me!

Sep, 9, 2012

Dance Central is one of the most successful game franchises for the Xbox Kinect. In the games, you learn and perform choreographed dance moves to popular songs. The Xbox Kinect console recognizes your movements and indicates whether your body placement matches the pose of the avatar on the screen. Many of the songs in Dance […]