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Bitcoin network speed 8 times faster than top 500 supercomputers combined

May 13, 2013


The mining speed of the bitcoin network on passed 1 exaFLOPS (1,000 petaFLOPS) this week — more than 8* times the combined speed of the Top 500 supercomputers, according to The Genesis Block.

(FLOPS stands for FLoating-point Operations Per Second, and is frequently used as a standard to measure computer speed.)

However, that calculation was based on 2011 supercomputer data and it’s not… read more

Creating a sense of touch in a prosthetic hand

May 13, 2013

prosthetic sensing

Scientists have made tremendous advances toward building lifelike prosthetic limbs that move and function like the real thing.

But what’s missing is a sense of touch, so a patient knows how hard he or she is actually squeezing something, or exactly where the object is positioned relative to his or her hand.

“If you lose your somatosensory [body senses] system, it almost looks like your motor system is… read more

Can bonding with your virtual self alter your perceptions?

May 12, 2013


If you create and modify your own virtual reality avatars, could what happens to these alter egos influence how you perceive virtual environments?

Penn State researchers found this question relevant to designing more realistic and immersive virtual reality exercises and games. They assigned random avatars to one group of participants, but allowed another group to customize their own avatars.

When placed in a virtual environment with three hills… read more

Amazon is developing smartphone with 3D screen

May 10, 2013

emporer Inc. is developing a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for three-dimensional images without glasses, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, and users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, according to sources,

With smartphones, Amazon could collect new… read more

First biological signature of a supernova

May 10, 2013


Researchers at the Technical University of Munich have found a radioactive iron isotope in bacteria microfossils.that they trace back to a supernova in our cosmic neighborhood.

This is the first proven biological signature of a starburst on our earth. The age determination of the deep-drill core from the Pacific Ocean showed that the supernova explosion must have occurred about 2.2 million years ago, roughly around the… read more

US State Dept. orders removal of 3D-printed gun designs

May 10, 2013


The U.S. State Department has demanded designs by Defense Distributed for a 3D-printed gun be taken offline because publishing them online may breach arms-control regulations, Forbes reports.

The order to remove the blueprints for the plastic gun comes after they were downloaded more than 100,000 times.

However, the files were actually being served by Mega, the New Zealand-based storage service created by ex-hacker entrepreneur Kim… read more

Real-time brain feedback can help people overcome anxiety

May 10, 2013

This image from the study shows changes in degree of connectivity in the feedback group. Increases are shown in red/yellow and decreases in blue/purple. Decreases in connectivity are seen in limbic areas, and increases are seen in prefrontal regions. (Credit: Yale University)

People provided with a real-time readout of activity in specific regions of their brains can learn to control that activity and lessen their anxiety, say Yale researchers.

They used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to display the activity of the orbitofrontal cortex (a brain region just above the eyes) to subjects while they lay in a brain scanner.

Through a process of trial and… read more

78,000 sign up for one-way mission to Mars

May 10, 2013

Mars One

Mars One says it has received applications from more than 78,000 people in more than 120 countries for the Mars One astronaut selection program, in hopes of becoming a Mars settler in 2023.

Most applications come from the U.S. (17324), followed by China (10241), United Kingdom (3581), Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Argentina and India.

The most popular candidate (for site visitors) so far is Andersread more

Robots with sensitive arms for delicate assistive tasks

May 9, 2013

With the new control method, Kemp’s robots have performed numerous tasks, such as reaching through dense artificial foliage and a cinder block representative of environments that search-and-rescue robots can encounter.

For safety reasons, robot makers have avoided contact between the robot’s arm and the world.

Now Georgia Tech and Meka Robotics researchers have developed a control method that enables a robot’s arm to make contact with objects, people, and the rest of the robot while keeping forces low.

The method  works with compliant robotic joints and whole-arm tactile sensing, and keeps the robot’s arm flexible,… read more

Google’s chief Internet evangelist on creating the Interplanetary Internet

May 9, 2013

Interplanetary Internet (credit: NASA/JPL)

In his role as Google’s chief internet evangelist, Cerf has spent much of his time thinking about the future of the computer networks that connect us all.

Working with NASA and JPL, Cerf has helped develop a new set of protocols that can stand up to the unique environment of space, where orbital mechanics and the speed of light make traditional networking extremely difficult. Though this space-based… read more

The man behind the Google brain: Andrew Ng and the quest for the new AI

May 9, 2013


There’s a theory that human intelligence stems from a single algorithm.

The idea arises from experiments suggesting that the portion of your brain dedicated to processing sound from your ears could also handle sight for your eyes. This is possible only while your brain is in the earliest stages of development, but it implies that the brain is — at its core — a general-purpose machine that can be tuned… read more

Highlights of NeuroGaming 2013

May 9, 2013

Mindo headsets at NeuroGaming 2013 (credit: Mindo)

Neuro Gadget has compiled a summary of the recent NeuroGaming 2013 Conference, featuring applications of brain-computer-interface devices, for example. such as making a toy helicopter fly, composing a brain-wave inspired piece of music, and training attention.

The event also included games and software for biofeedback training, physical and psychological rehabilitation (for example, a noninvasive device that enables the wearer to open and close their hand… read more

A robotic insect makes first controlled test flight

May 9, 2013


Harvard roboticists have created a robotic insect the size of a paper clip and successfully test-flown it.

Inspired by the biology of a fly, the intricate design is the culmination of 12 years of painstaking work by researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.

The device represents… read more

Inquisitive robot uses arms, location and more to discover objects

May 8, 2013

HERB can use its arms to gain information that it can use to discover objects and determine how it can pick up or manipulate that object. By using all of the information available to it, visual or otherwise, HERB is able to continually discover objects on its own and refine its understanding of those objects as it gains experience. Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

HERB (Home-Exploring Robot Butler) is new class of  robot developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University‘s Robotics Institute that can discover objects in its surroundings by using more than just computer vision.

The Lifelong Robotic Object Discovery (LROD) process developed by the research team enabled HERB, a two-armed, mobile robot, to use color video, a Kinect depth camera, and non-visual information to discover more than 100… read more

Personalized bone substitutes created from skin cells

May 8, 2013

Actual image of the bone after it was in vivo (credit: Giuseppe Maria de Peppo/The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute)

Patient-specific bone substitutes from skin cells for repair of large bone defects are now possible, thanks to research by a team of New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute scientists.

The study represents a major advance in personalized reconstructive treatments for patients with bone defects resulting from disease or trauma. It promises to lead to customizable, three-dimensional bone grafts on-demand, matched to fit the exact… read more

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