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You belong in a zoo

So, you know those scientific studies that recruit participants through ads on the subway and on college bulletin boards? This one's sooooo much cooler:

SYDNEY (AFP)—An Australian zoo is putting humans on public display in its orangutang enclosure in a month-long scientific experiment that will also include a popularity contest.

Six humans have already taken up residence in the Adelaide Zoo pen for the experiment, dubbed "the human zoo."

Groups of humans will spend week-long shifts locked in the enclosure during the zoo's opening hours, with the public able to observe them through large perspex windows and live webcams.
Visitors are invited to vote for their favourite caged human, who will also be studied by animal behaviourists trying to work out ways of improving living conditions for captive great apes such as chimpanzees.

The project's website is here if you're interested in volunteering watching... although, hmm, one thought: Given the historical use of the term, should they really have called it the "human zoo?"

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Food
Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine
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iStock

You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

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