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Nanowire transistors could keep Moore’s Law alive

April 30, 2013

Diagram of a 3D nano-transistor showing the gate (red) surrounding the vertical nanowires (green) and separating the contacts at the ends of each nanowire (beige) (credit: X-L Han and G. Larrieu/CNRS)

Two researchers working in France report the creation of a nanowire transistor that could be scaled down to to power the microprocessors of the 2020s, IEEE Spectrum reports.

It consists of an array of 225 doped-silicon nanowires, each 30 nm wide and 200 nm tall, vertically linking the two platinum contact planes that form the source and drain of the transistor. Besides their narrowness, what’s… read more

Brain-computer interfaces inch closer to mainstream, raising questions

April 30, 2013


Soon, we might interact with our smartphones and computers simply by using our minds, suggests The New York Times.

“Some crude brain-reading products already exist, letting people play easy games or move a mouse around a screen.

“But the products commercially available today will soon look archaic. ‘To really be able to understand what is going on with the brain today you need to surgically implant… read more

A new spin on origins of evolvability: survival of the evolvable

Diversity trumps competition
April 30, 2013


Scientists have long observed that species seem to have become increasingly capable of evolving in response to changes in the environment.

But computer science researchers now say that the popular explanation of competition to survive in nature may not actually be necessary for evolvability to increase.

In a paper published this week in open-access PLOS ONE, the researchers report that evolvability… read more

Shape-shifting mobile devices

April 30, 2013

The phone screen can bend to provide privacy when needed (credit: University of Bristol)

Prototype mobile devices that can change shape on-demand and lead to high “shape resolution” devices of the future.were presented on Monday at the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris.

In the presentation, Dr. Anne Roudaut and Professor Sriram Subramanian, from the University of Bristol‘s Department of Computer Science used shape resolution to… read more

Pressure-controlled tactile pixels (‘taxels’) convert motion to electronic signals for imaging

April 30, 2013

Georgia Tech researcher Wenzhuo Wu holds an array of piezotronic transistors capable of converting mechanical motion directly into electronic controlling signals. The arrays are fabricated on flexible substrates. (Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek)

KurzweilAI has covered a number of recent developments aimed at giving robots a better sense of touch and humans better control of devices, such as TakkTile (Robot hands gain a gentler touch), allowing a robot to pick up a balloon without popping it (see “Related” below for other examples).

Now Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have taken it to a whole new level.… read more

Further proof for controversial quantum computer

April 29, 2013


Is the world’s only commercial quantum computer really a quantum device, or a just regular computer in disguise? Controversy has long swirled around the computer produced by D-Wave, a company based near Vancouver, Canada.

Now a paper published on the arXiv preprint server takes a step forward in showing that it really does operate on a quantum level, Nature News Blog reports.
In… read more

Scientists discover why a specific cancer drug is so effective

April 29, 2013


Scientists from the Manchester Collaborative Center for Inflammation Research (MCCIR) have discovered why a particular cancer drug is so effective at killing cells. Their findings could be used to aid the design of future cancer treatments.

Professor Daniel Davis and his team used high quality video imaging to investigate why the drug rituximab is so effective at killing cancerous B cells. It is widely used… read more

Imaging nanoparticles in action, scientists discover nanoscale tidal waves

The hidden effects of nanoparticles on human health seen at unprecedented atomic resolution
April 29, 2013

EM image of gold nanorods in liquid indicate the presence of high-resolution features. The gold lattice spacing of 2 Angstroms (.2 nm) can be identified in the image. Scale bar, 7 nm. (Credit: Madeline J. Dukes et al./Chemical Communications)

The macroscopic effects of certain nanoparticles on human health have long been clear to the naked eye. What scientists have lacked is the ability to see the detailed movements of individual particles that give rise to those effects.

Now, scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have invented a technique for imaging nanoparticle dynamics with atomic resolution as these dynamics occur in a liquid… read more

Harnessing the energy of 2,000 suns

April 29, 2013


The Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation has awarded scientists a $2.4 million (2.25 million CHF) grant to develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable of concentrating solar radiation 2,000 times and converting 80 percent of the incoming radiation into useful energy.*

The system would also provide desalinated water and cool air in sunny, remote locations where they are often in short supply.

The prototype HCPVT system… read more

E-tattoo monitors brainwaves and baby bump

April 29, 2013


In February, KurzweilAI introduced “temporary electronic tattoos,” which are foldable, stretchable electrode arrays that can non-invasively measure neural (EEG) signals. Now. researchers led by Todd Coleman at the University of California, San Diego, have now optimized the placement of the electrodes to pick up more complex brainwaves, New Scientist reports.

The researchers demonstrated this by monitoring P300 signals in the forebrain. These appear when… read more

New imaging technology could reveal cellular secrets

Georgia Tech researchers have combined two biological imaging technologies (AFM and NMR) to learn how good cells go bad
April 29, 2013

This image illustrates the concept for a new type of technology that combines two biological imaging methods - atomic force microscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance - to create a new way to study cancer-cell metastasis and other disease-related processes (credit: Xin Xu/Purdue University)

What causes a cell to metastasize into a cancerous tumor? To find out, Corey Neu, an assistant professor in Purdue University‘s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, and colleagues have combined an atomic force microscope (AFM) and a nuclear magnetic resonance system.

An AFM uses a tiny vibrating probe called a cantilever with a tip that travels over the surface of a… read more

Alzheimer’s researchers creating ‘designer tracker’ to quantify elusive brain protein, provide earlier diagnosis

April 26, 2013

Dual channel fluoresecence microscopy of Alzheimer’s disease brain reveals presence of extracellular Abeta- (red) and intracellular tau- (green) bearing lesions.  Figure courtesy of Kristen E Funk, PhD.

By using computer-aided drug discovery, an Ohio State University molecular biochemist and molecular imaging chemist are collaborating to create an imaging chemical that attaches predominantly to tau-bearing lesions in living brain.

Their hope is that the “designer” tracer will open the door for earlier diagnosis — and better treatments for Alzheimer’s, frontal temporal dementia and traumatic brain injuries like those suffered by professional athletes, all… read more

A noninvasive avenue for Parkinson’s disease gene therapy

Nanoparticles bypass the blood-brain barrier to treat Parkinson's disease
April 26, 2013

Glial cell derived neurotrophic factor structure (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers at Northeastern University in Boston have developed a gene therapy approach that may one day stop Parkinson’s disease (PD) in it tracks, preventing disease progression and reversing its symptoms.

The novelty of the approach lies in the nasal route of administration and nanoparticles containing a gene capable of rescuing dying neurons in the brain.

Parkinson’s is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder caused… read more

Researchers bypass the blood-brain barrier, widening treatment options for neurodegenerative and central nervous system disease

April 26, 2013


The first known method to permanently bypass the blood-brain barrier*, using mucosa, or the lining of the nose, has been demonstrated by researchers in the department of Otology and Laryngology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School and the Biomedical Engineering Department of Boston University.

The method opens the door to new treatment options for those with neurodegenerative and CNS disease.… read more

Discovery yields supertough, strong nanofibers

April 26, 2013


University of Nebraska-Lincoln materials engineers have developed a structural nanofiber that is both strong and tough, a discovery that could transform everything from airplanes and bridges to body armor and bicycles.

“Whatever is made of composites can benefit from our nanofibers,” said the team’s leader, Yuris Dzenis, McBroom Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and a member of UNL’s Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience.… read more

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