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FDA clears first autonomous telemedicine robot for hospitals

Now doctors can provide patient care from anywhere in the world via a telemedicine solution. But what happens to nursing jobs, and how will patients react to a giant robotic machine?
January 28, 2013


iRobot Corp., a leader in delivering robotic solutions, has announced that its RP-VITA Remote Presence Robot has received 510(k) clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in hospitals. RP-VITA is the first autonomous navigation remote presence robot to receive FDA clearance.

RP-VITA is a joint effort between iRobot and InTouch Health. The robot combines the latest in autonomous navigation and mobility… read more

Big medical data

At the intersection of medicine and computer science, researchers look for clinically useful correlations amid mountains of information
January 28, 2013

If the relationships between data can be thought of as lines connecting points — or “graphs” — then machine learning is a matter of inferring the lines from the points. MIT researchers have shown that graphs shaped like stars and chains establish, respectively, the worst- and best-case scenarios for computers doing pattern recognition. (Credit: Christine Daniloff)

Recent new research has the potential to reshape medicine and health care through new scientific knowledge, novel treatments and products, better management of medical data, and improvements in health-care delivery.

At the end of 2012, the National Public Radio show “Fresh Air” featured a segment in which its linguistics commentator argued that “big data” should be the word of the year.

The term refers not only… read more

‘Big data’ and cloud computing empower smart machines to do human work, take human jobs

January 28, 2013

The "bookBots" in the Hunt Library on Centennial Campus at NC State University will house over 2 million volumes of books. The Hunt Library will be one of the most high-tech, innovative libraries around the world. (Credit: NC State - College of Design)

From giant corporations to university libraries to start-up businesses, employers are using rapidly improving technology to do tasks that humans used to do.

That means millions of workers are caught in a competition they can’t win against machines that keep getting more powerful, cheaper and easier to use, the Washington Post reports.

To better understand the impact of technology on jobs, The Associated Press analyzed employment… read more

DARPA’s plan to recruit military dogs: scan their brains

January 28, 2013

Military Working Dogs

According to a new research solicitation from DARPA, the FIDOS (Functional Imaging to Develop Outstanding Service-Dogs) project touts the idea of using magnetic image resonators (MRIs) to “optimize the selection of ideal service dogs” by scanning their brains to find the smartest candidates, Wired Danger Room reports.

Last year, Emory University neuroscientist Greg Berns and his colleagues trained dogs to sit unrestrained inside an MRI machine,… read more

A Star Trek ‘tractor’ beam for microscopic objects

January 28, 2013

In the experimental system, a light beam is converted into a pulling device that gathers microscopic polystyrene spheres just like when using a chain (credit: University of St Andrews)

A miniature “tractor” beam that allows a beam of light to attract objects (as featured in Star Trek movies) has been created by researchers from the University of St Andrews and the Institute of Scientific Instruments (ISI) in the Czech Republic.

This is the first time a light beam has been used to draw objects towards a light source. It generates a special optical field… read more

Print your own life-size robot for under $1,000

January 28, 2013


Gael Langevin, a French sculptor and model-maker, has created a life-size, 3D-printed robot.called InMoov, CNN reports.

Langevin’s animatronic creation can be made by anyone with access to little more than a basic 3D printer, a few motors, a cheap circuit board, and about $800.

A work in progress, the robot boasts a head, arms, and hands — the torso is not far off. On… read more

iRobot files patent application for autonomous all-in-one 3D printing, milling, drilling and finishing robot

January 28, 2013


Well, just when you thought 3D printing was finally putting you back in charge of creating your own stuff, along comes iRobot Corporation with a U.S. patent application for a “Robotic Fabricator.”

It’s conceived as a completely autonomous all-in-one product fabrication robot that handles manufacturing (including 3D printing) and all the post-printing work, from seed component to mature product, 3Ders reports.

A… read more

Mutant H5N1 ‘bird flu’ research set to resume

January 25, 2013

A(H5N1) virus

One year after public uproar forced them to pause, researchers who study H5N1 avian influenza by designing new, extra-virulent strains are set to resume their work, Wired Science reports.

In a letter published Jan. 23 in the journals Nature and Science, 40 virologists, including leaders of the most high-profile experiments, declared that their voluntary moratorium is now over.

Other experts say concerns about the… read more

Unplugged? Sue your ISP (at least in Germany)

January 25, 2013


Can you force your ISP to pay for loss of access to an Internet connection?

Apparently yes, at least in Germany, where a Federal Court of Justice awarded a plaintiff €50 ($65) per day for the period his was unable to use his DSL, fax over IP and VoIP services, Computerworld UK reports.

The rationale: the Internet has been a crucial part of people’s economic living… read more

Just add water: a portable hydrogen fuel cell

January 25, 2013

A close-up of spherical silicon nanoparticles about 10 nanometers in diameter. In Nano Letters, UB scientists report that these particles could form the basis of new technologies that generate hydrogen for portable power applications. (Credit: Swihart Research Group/University at Buffalo)

Battery dead in the middle of a phone call and you left your charger home, or worse, you’re on a camping trip. Sound familiar?

No prob, just grab some nanosilicon powder, mix with water, and zap: instant hydrogen fuel to generate recharge current — thanks to University at Buffalo researchers, who have discovered that super-small particles of silicon react with water to produce hydrogenread more

Patients and handicapped users test new mind-controlled tech

January 25, 2013

Brain-computer interface allows patient to move his paralyzed arm with his mind (credit: )

More than 100 patients or handicapped users have voluntarily participated in the development of non-invasive brain-machine interfaces developed by researchers  in the European TOBI (Tools for brain-computer interaction) research program.

The technologies include:

Functional electrical stimulation

Voluntarily control movement of a paralyzed limb, using a brain-computer interface.

From EEG signals, the computer senses the desired movement and sends electrical signals to the correspo9nding… read more

Self-healing, stretchable wires using liquid metal

January 25, 2013

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed elastic, self-healing electrical wires.

“Because we’re using liquid metal, these wires have excellent conductive properties,” says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work.

“And because the wires are also elastic and self-healing, they have a lot of potential for use …… read more

Storing data in individual molecules near room temperature

January 24, 2013


An experimental technology called molecular memory could store data in individual molecules has been developed by an international team of researchers led by Jagadeesh Moodera, a senior research scientist in the MIT Department of Physics and at MIT’s Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory,

The technology promises a 1,000-fold increase in storage density over hard disks, which are approaching a million megabytes of… read more

How to store the world’s data on DNA

January 24, 2013

Storage cost for DNA v. tape

Researchers at the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) have created a way to store data in the form of DNA — a material that lasts for tens of thousands of years.

The new method, published in the journal Nature, makes it possible to store at least 100 million hours of high-definition video in about a cup of DNA.

There is a lot of digital information… read more

A free database of the entire Web may spawn the next Google

January 24, 2013


A nonprofit called Common Crawl is now using its own Web crawler and making a giant copy of the Web that it makes accessible to anyone.

The organization offers up over five billion Web pages, available for free so that researchers and entrepreneurs can try things otherwise possible only for those with access to resources on the scale of Google’s, MIT Technology Review reports.… read more

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