September 06, 2012, 3:09 PM — University labs, fueled with millions of dollars in funding and some of the biggest brains around, are bursting with new research into computer and networking technologies.
Wireless networks, computer security and a general focus on shrinking things and making them faster are among the hottest areas, with some advances already making their way into the market. Here's a roundup of 25 such projects that caught our eyes:
This free website, Duolingo, from a pair of Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists serves double duty: It helps people learn new languages while also translating the text on Web pages into different languages.
CMU's Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker have attracted more than 100,000 people in a beta test of the system, which initially offered free language lessons in English, Spanish, French and German, with the computer offering advice and guidance on unknown words. Using the system could go a long way toward translating the Web, many of whose pages are unreadable by those whose language skills are narrow.
Von Ahn is a veteran of such crowdsourcing technologies, having created online reCAPTCHA puzzles to cut down on spam while simultaneously digitizing old books and periodicals. Von Ahn's spinoff company, reCAPTCHA, was acquired by Google in 2009. Duolingo, spun off in November to offer commercial and free translation services, received $3.3 million in funding from Union Square Ventures, actor Ashton Kutcher and others.