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Final four teams qualify to participate in DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials

December 11, 2013

Team KAIST (Daejeon, South Korea)

Four teams that built full robot hardware and software systems using their own funds have qualified to join 13 other teams to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials.

The event will take place Dec. 20 and 21 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., where spectators can observe as the robots are tested on the capabilities… read more

Neural prosthesis restores normal behavior after brain injury

December 11, 2013

Rat with prostheses

Scientists from Case Western Reserve University and University of Kansas Medical Center have restored behavior — in this case, the ability to reach through a narrow opening and grasp food — using a neural prosthesis in a brain-injured rat.

Ultimately, the team hopes to develop a device that rapidly and substantially improves function after brain injury in humans.

There is no such commercial treatment for the… read more

A new way to make solar cells thin, efficient and flexible

December 11, 2013


Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Central Florida may be one step closer to making solar cells that operate efficiently on a large scale.

The team found a way to create large sheets of nanotextured silicon micro-cell arrays that hold the promise of making solar cells lightweight, more efficient, bendable, and easy to mass produce.


The team used… read more

Detecting objects as small as protein molecules using multispectral imaging

December 10, 2013

Die encapsulated in carbon nanotube improves detection by

Richard Martel and his research team at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Montreal have discovered a method to improve detection of the “infinitely small” by encapsulating a dye inside carbon nanotubes for multispectral imaging.

Raman scattering provides information on the ways molecules vibrate, which is equivalent to taking their fingerprint. It’s a bit like a bar code,” said Martel. “Raman signals are… read more

Using 3D printing to explain theoretical physics

December 10, 2013


Students may soon be able to reach out and touch some of the theoretical concepts they are taught in their physics classes thanks to a novel idea devised by a group of researchers from Imperial College London.

In new study published December 9 in the journal EPL, the researchers successfully demonstrated how complex theoretical physics can be transformed into a physical object using a 3D printer.… read more

How to produce enough hydrogen to meet global energy needs (in 50 years)

December 10, 2013


Scientists in Lyon, France have discovered how to create copious amount of the hydrogen that propels rockets and energizes fuel cells.

In a few decades, it could even help the world meet key energy needs.

Here’s the recipe, according to University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 researchers:

1. In a microscopic high-pressure cooker called a diamond anvil cell (within a tiny space about as wide as a pencil… read more

Apple’s iBeacon will put the ‘internet of things’ in your pocket

December 10, 2013

This undated photo provided by Apple shows the screen on an iPhone using Apple's iBeacon, offering precise location technology. On Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, Apple Inc. will begin using iBeacon, a part of its iOS 7 mobile software, to send shoppers inside its U.S. stores messages about products, events and other information based where they are in the store. (Credit: Apple)

Apple switched on “iBeacons” across its 254 U.S. stores Friday, using low-power Bluetooth transmitters to offer tips to customers.

Here’s how it works, according to GigaOm:

“Using Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE), iBeacon opens up a new whole dimension by creating a beacon around regions so your app can be alerted when users enter them. Beacons are a small wireless sensors placed inside any physical space… read more

Infrared vision sees through multiple layers of graphene

Could lead to new optical devices using graphene for communications, imaging, and signal processing
December 9, 2013


A University at Buffalo-led research team has developed a technique for “seeing through” a stack of graphene sheets to identify and describe the electronic properties of each individual sheet — even when the sheets are covering each other up.

The method involves shooting a beam of infrared light at the stack, and measuring how the light wave’s direction of oscillation changes as it bounces off the layers… read more

Nanodiamond quantum sensors pave way to MRI for living cells

December 9, 2013


By exploiting flaws in nanoscale diamond fragments, researchers say they have created precise quantum sensors in a biocompatible material.

Nanoscopic thermal and magnetic field detectors that could be inserted into living cells could enhance our understanding of everything from chemical reactions within single cells to signaling in neural networks and the origin of magnetism in novel materials.

Atomic impurities in natural diamond structure give rise to the color… read more

Ten times more throughput on optic fibers

December 9, 2013


EPFL scientists have shown how to achieve a dramatic increase in the capacity of optical fibers by reducing the amount of space required between the pulses of light that transport data.

Optical fibers carry data in the form of pulses of light over distances of thousands of miles at high speeds. But their capacity is limited, because the pulses of light need to be lined up one… read more

An electronic diagnostic pill for detecting early-stage gastric cancer

December 9, 2013

GOB featured

Researchers at Chongqing University in China have adapted capsule endoscopy to allow for detecting tiny quantities of “occult” blood for screening of early-stage gastric cancer.

The data is automatically transmitted to an external monitoring device in real time for diagnosis by a physician.

The non-invasive Gastric Occult Blood (GOB) capsule, which carries inside a detector, power supply, and wireless transmitter, is encased in non-toxic, acid-safe polycarbonate. The device has a… read more

New algorithm finds you, even in untagged photos

December 6, 2013

The location of tags in a images tells us a story. From them, we can extract a tag relativity graph. The graph enables social search by understanding tag relationships. (Credit: University of Toronto)

A new algorithm designed at the University of Toronto could change the way we find photos among the billions on social media sites such as Facebook and Flickr.

Developed by Parham Aarabi, a professor in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and his former Master’s student Ron Appel, the search tool uses the locations of tagged persons to quantify relationships between them,… read more

Soft microrobots that simulate unicellular water microorganisms

December 6, 2013


Miniaturized robots that could one day function medically inside the human body are being designed by researchers in Trieste and Catalonia.

The robots of the future will be increasingly like biological organisms, with the same “softness” and flexibility as biological tissues, according to Antonio De Simone from SISSA (the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste) and Marino Arroyo from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, who have… read more

A 1km-high inflatable solar-energy chimney

December 6, 2013


Per Lindstrand, the engineer who broke numerous ballooning records with Richard Branson, is hoping to develop a 1km-tall inflatable chimney that can capture energy from the sun, The Engineer reports.

The tower uses rising air heated by the sun to drive turbines. It could provide an alternative to photovoltaic generation in remote areas of seismic activity where maintenance of power lines or solar panels would be difficult.… read more

How to use mind-controlled robots in manufacturing, medicine

December 6, 2013

robot control via bci

University at Buffalo researchers are developing brain-computer interface (BCI) devices to mentally control robots.

“The technology has practical applications that we’re only beginning to explore,” said Thenkurussi “Kesh” Kesavadas, PhD, UB professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of UB’s Virtual Reality Laboratory. “For example, it could help paraplegic patients to control assistive devices, or it could help factory workers perform advanced… read more

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