ROBO FOOD:

The Dalu Rebot Restaurant in China has 2 robot receptionists and a staff of 6 robo-waiters. The humans are consigned to the kitchen. Robots move around tracks in the floor serving drinks and food to the tables. There's even a robot greeter at the door. Welcome, overlords, etc. More at

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READ MARGE READ:

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Marge the British robot is an avid reader. The New York Times and BBC Online are two of her favourites. Her Optical Character Recognition software, spell-checker and dictionary allow her to find text in the environment and learn from it, even in poor lighting. Once she can read a menu she'll be able to go to Dalu Rebot and feel right at home. More at

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SMART CRIME SHOPPERS:

If you spot a suspicious or criminal activity in progress in Dallas grab your iWatchDallas smartphone app and send photos and text anonymously straight to the police. Or use the older methods of SMS or a phonecall. The system behind the app allows you to be updated on progress too. Watch the autocorrect though folks. More at

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CUTTING EDGE CAMERA:

Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark are firing infrared photons through a multilayered crystal of potassium titanium oxide phosphate and into a regular digital camera. The crystal converts the infrared into visible light the camera can record. Since tumours reflect a telltale pattern of infrared light, the technique could show surgeons whether they've completely removed a tumour during an operation. Every tiny advance is a good one. More at

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PUSHY LIGHT:

Solar sails, arcing elegantly through space, are being pushed by light, but steering's a problem. Researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York are adding steering. Since light bends when it moves from one medium to another they're exploring ways to make the sails change shape and transparency, and therefore direction. Then spacecraft could tack and turn just like sailing ships. Makes you wonder what an alien spacecraft could do with

a decent spotlight. More at

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- Miraz Jordan