Alessondra SpringmannContributor, PCWorld

Alessondra Springmann is a writer by night and an astrophysicist by day. She enjoys zapping asteroids with a 20 terawatt transmitter, using the active voice, and running around the largest radio telescope in the world.

Free Downloads of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'? It's Not Magic, It's Fraud

In all the excitement over the upcoming release of the latest Harry Potter movie, numerous online crooks are trying to cash in on Potter mania. Don’t fall for one of these schemes!

Build Your Own Vacuum Bot out of LEGO Mindstorms and Sensors

Meet Pulito, a DIY robot built out of LEGO bricks that can vacuum your floors. House cleaning has never been so much fun!


Send In the Drones! Small Flying Robots are Getting Cheaper, Lighter, Smarter

Ever want your own flying drone but don’t want to deal with building your own quadrotor? iPhone-controlled quadrotors and half-ounce planes are coming soon to an airport--err, living room--near you.


Zombie Virus Infecting Phones in China Costs You $300,000 a Day

Over a million mobile phones in China have been infected by a zombie spamming virus, which sends countless spam text messages without the phone owner knowing.

Grow Your Own Brain: Robot Powered by Rat Neurons Learns to Avoid Walls

Kevin Warwick, known for implanting electrode arrays into his arm so he can control robots on other continents, has been growing rat neurons to control a simple robot with two wheels and a sonar sensor. How big can these rat-brained robots grow?


Move a Mouse Cursor With Your Brain

Researchers at UCLA and Caltech looking into how we control individual neurons in our brains have developed a way for patients who've had electrodes implanted in their skulls to control a computer mouse.


Four Driverless Robotic Vans Cross Asia--and Even Pick up Hitchhikers

On long car trips, do you ever wish you could sit back, relax, and let... a computer do the driving? As part of the Intercontinental Challenge, four vans driven robotically crossed 8,000 miles from Italy to Singapore. And almost got a ticket!


Hack-o-Lantern: The Pumpkin With an LED Matrix

We’ve seen some great costumes in preparation for All Hallows’ Eve on Sunday, but how about some wired-up pumpkins? Here’s one with an LED display embedded into everyone's favorite orange squash.


Robot Hands: Now With a Softer, Gentler Touch?

Ever wanted a robotic hand that could grab all sorts of things---keys, screwdrivers, even the phone? A researcher at Yale University has built a versatile and inexpensive robot hand with a soft touch, that's also apparently easy to make.


Physicists Find Mass Created 'Inside' Graphene

Graphene: what can’t it do? Those atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms packed honeycomb-shaped crystal lattices can act as zero-gap semiconductors, biodevices, transistors, and now can perhaps create mass, simply by rolling up atom-thick sheets of this material.


The DIY SLR: Machine Your Own Film camera

If you’ve ever wanted to make your own film camera from scratch, a French hacker demonstrates it's entirely possible, from machining the gear teeth on the spools, the plane shutters, and the mirror assembly.


Apps Going Viral: When Your Smartphone Gets Hacked

With sales of smartphones out to pass those of laptops, desktops, and netbooks in the next few years, will hackers start writing viruses and malicious code meant for attacking mobile devices?

President Obama to Appear on Mythbusters

What do President Obama, the ancient Greek scientist Archimedes, and Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage have in common? They’ll all be featured prominently in an upcoming episode of MythBusters to promote science education.


Tech Lets Body Organs Send Updates to Your Phone; Tweeting Lungs Next?

Body organs might soon get implanted wireless-enabled sensors. But do you really want your heart and liver sending Tweets to all your friends if they’re failing?


Homebrew Walking Robot Powered by Chumby

How do you teach a $120 Internet portal to walk? With a sensor board and the Robot Vision Toolkit, you can power a walking robot with a Chumby.