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Researchers track facial expressions to improve teaching software

July 1, 2013


Research from North Carolina State University shows that software which tracks facial expressions can accurately assess the emotions of students engaged in interactive online learning and predict the effectiveness of online tutoring sessions.

“This work is part of a larger effort to develop artificial intelligence software to teach students computer science,” says Dr. Kristy Boyer, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State and… read more

Transistors without semiconductors

Breakthrough transistor design uses quantum tunneling at room temperature, solving the heat problem with existing FET transistor designs
June 29, 2013

gold quantum_dots_on_boron_nitride_nanotubes

Michigan Technological University scientists led by professor of physics Yoke Khin Yap have created a quantum tunneling device that acts like like an FET transistor and works at room temperature — without using semiconducting materials.

The trick was to use boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) with quantum dots made from gold.

When sufficient voltage is applied to the device, it switches from insulator to a conducting… read more

First robot fish with autonomous 3D movement

June 28, 2013


Researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering have developed a robot fish that mimics the movements of a carp.

This robot — essentially an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) — is ready for applications and can be programmed to perform specific functions, such as underwater archaeology, exploring nooks and corners of wreckage or a sunken city. These are difficult… read more

Microscopy technique could help develop 3D chips

June 28, 2013

These three-dimensional tri-gate (FinFET) transistors are among the 3-D microchip structures that could be measured using through-focus scanning optical microscopy (TSOM) (credit: Intel Corporation)

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists have applied a microscopy technique for viewing nanoscale objects to monitoring the next generation of 3D computer chip circuit components, potentially providing the semiconductor industry with a crucial tool for improving chips for the next decade or more.

The scientists showed that the technique, called Through-Focus Scanning Optical Microscopy (TSOM), can detect nanoscale differences in the three-dimensional… read more

Virus brain-mapping technique uncovers circuits involved in Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease

June 28, 2013

Basal ganglia (credit: Wikimedia Commons)


Gladstone Institutes and Salk Institute researchers have assembled brain-wide maps of neurons that connect with the basal ganglia, a region of the brain involved in movement and decision-making.

Developing a better understanding of this region is important as it could inform research into disorders causing basal ganglia dysfunction, including Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Team leaders Gladstone Investigator… read more

An ultrasensitive molybdenum-based image sensor

June 28, 2013


An EPFL team has built a prototype image sensor based on the semiconducting properties of molybdenite (molybdenum disulfide, MoS2). It could one day result in cameras that are five times more light-sensitive than current technology.

This level of sensitivity would open up the huge area of low-light or night photography, without resorting to “noise”-generating amplification techniques or high-ISO settings, slowing down the shutter speed, using… read more

Neurala to turn robots into ‘adaptive, learning beings’

June 27, 2013


Cambridge startup Neurala expects that its software for giving intelligence and autonomy to robots will part of commercial products by the end of the year, CEO and co-founder Max Versace said in an interview with Boston Business Journal.

The software aims to allow humans to control robots by telling them what to do, instead of operating them using remote control or programming for a specific… read more

Extreme-ultraviolet microscope goes online at Berkeley Lab

Will help drive chip making to new levels of miniaturization and complexity
June 27, 2013

Created by the Center for X-Ray Optics at Berkeley Lab, SHARP gives researchers from the world's leading semiconductor companies a window into the future of computer-chip fabrication.

The world’s most advanced extreme-ultraviolet microscope is about to go online at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and the queue of semiconductor companies waiting to use it already stretches out the door.

The much-anticipated SHARP microscope (SEMATECH High-NA Actinic Recticle review Project) was conceived and built by scientists at Berkeley Lab’s Center for X-ray Optics (CXRO) and will provideread more

The ‘Internet of cars’ is approaching a crossroads

June 27, 2013


Wireless vehicle networks could make driving safer, more efficient, and less polluting, but the cost of deployment will be significant, MIT Technology Review reports.

This week, officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC, will see the technology in action, in a demonstration organized by experts from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and various communications equipment and car manufacturers.… read more

Siri’s creators demonstrate predictive assistant for office workers

June 27, 2013


SRI, is developing Bright, an intelligent assistant that could someday know what information you need before you even ask, MIT Technology Review reports.

Initially, Bright is meant to cut down on the cognitive overload faced by workers in high-stress, data-intensive jobs like emergency response and network security.

But it could eventually trickle down to laptops and smartphones as a “cognitive desktop” and… read more

Solar-power materials head in a new direction: thinner

Atom-thick photovoltaic sheets could pack hundreds of times more power per weight than conventional solar cells
June 27, 2013

The MIT team found that an effective solar cell could be made from a stack of two one-molecule-thick materials: Graphene (a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, shown at bottom in blue) and molybdenum disulfide (above, with molybdenum atoms shown in red and sulfur in yellow). The two sheets together are thousands of times thinner than conventional silicon solar cells.<br />

MIT researchers are opening a new avenue for improving solar cells, aiming to produce the thinnest and most lightweight solar panels possible.

Such panels, which have the potential to surpass any substance other than reactor-grade uranium in terms of energy produced per pound of material, could be made from stacked sheets of one-molecule-thick materials such as graphene or molybdenum disulfide.

Jeffrey Grossman,… read more

New laser remotely detects what substances are made of

Could be new eyes for military, TSA
June 27, 2013


A new laser that can show what objects are made of could help military aircraft identify hidden dangers such as weapons arsenals far below.

“For the defense and intelligence communities, this could add a new set of eyes,” said Mohammed Islam, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan.

The system, which is made… read more

Dr. James Martin 1933 – 2013

June 26, 2013

James Martin

Statement by Oxford Martin School

It is with great sadness that the Oxford Martin School has learned of the death of our Founder, Dr James Martin.

James Martin was an inspiration to millions — an extraordinary intellect, with wide-ranging interests, boundless energy and an unwavering commitment to addressing the greatest challenges facing humanity. For 25 years Martin was the highest-selling author of books on computing and… read more

A quantum computing solution for unstructured search

June 26, 2013

Bose-Einstein condensate

Tom Wong, a graduate student in physics and David Meyer, professor of mathematics at the University of California, San Diego, have proposed a new algorithm for quantum computing, that will speed up unstructured search.

The goal is to locate a particular item within an unsorted pile of data. Solving this problem on a classical computer, which uses 1s and 0s stored on magnetic media, is… read more

A molecular database for developing organic solar cells

June 26, 2013


Harvard researchers have released a massive database of more than 2 million molecules that might be useful in the construction of solar cells that rely on organic compounds for construction of organic solar cells for the production of renewable energy.

Developed as part of the Materials Genome Initiative launched by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) the goal of… read more

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