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This vitamin stops the aging process in organs, say Swiss researchers

A potential breakthrough for regenerative medicine, pending further studies
May 6, 2016

Improved muscle stem cell numbers and muscle function in NR-treated aged mice.<br />
Newly regenerated muscle fibers 7  days  after  muscle  damage  in  aged  mice (left: control group; right: fed NR) (Scale bar = 50 μm). (credit: Hongbo Zhang et al./Science)

EPFL researchers have restored the ability of mice organs to regenerate and extend life by simply administering nicotinamide riboside (NR) to them.

NR has been shown in previous studies to be effective in boosting metabolism and treating a number of degenerative diseases. Now, an article by PhD student Hongbo Zhang published in Science also describes the restorative effects of NR on the functioning of stem cells… read more

Electronic devices that melt in your brain

Bioresorbable devices promise to help eliminate the risks, cost, and discomfort associated with surgical extraction of current devices
May 6, 2016

Cartoon illustration of a four-channel bioresorbable electrode array implanted on the left hemisphere of the brain of a rat for chronic recordings. A flexible cable connects the array to a custom-built circular interface board fixed to the skull using dental cement. (credit: Ki Jun Yu et al./Nature Materials)

Two implantable devices developed by American and Chinese researchers are designed to dissolve in the brain over time and may eliminate several current problems with implants.

University of Pennsylvania researchers have developed an electrode and an electrode array, both made of layers of silicon and molybdenum that can measure physiological characteristics (like neuron signals) and dissolve at a known rate (determined by the material’s thickness). The team used the… read more

Bee model could be breakthrough for autonomous drone development

May 5, 2016

A visualization of the model taken at one time point while running. Each sphere represents a computational unit, with lines representing the connection between units. The colors represent the output of each unit. The left and right of the image are the inputs to the model and the center is the output, which is used to guide the virtual bee down a simulated corridor. (credit: The University of Sheffield)

A computer model of how bees use vision to avoid hitting walls could be a breakthrough in the development of autonomous drones.

Bees control their flight using the speed of motion (optic flow) of the visual world around them. A study by Scientists at the University of Sheffield Department of Computer Science suggests how motion-direction detecting circuits could be wired together to also detect motion-speed, which is crucial… read more

WiFi capacity doubled at less than half the size

Could transform telecommunications by increasing speed and reducing size of cell phones, WiFi, and other devices
May 5, 2016

Bottom: photograph of the CMOS circulator integrated circuit on a printed circuit board, interfaced with off-chip inductors. Inset: microphotograph of CMOS circulator integrated circuit. (credit: Negar Reiskarimian, Columbia Engineering)

Columbia University engineering researchers have developed a new “circulator” technology that can double WiFi speed while reducing the size of wireless devices. It does this by requiring only one antenna (instead of two, for transmitter and receiver) and by using conventional CMOS chips instead of resorting to large, expensive magnetic components.

Columbia engineers previously invented a “full-duplex” radio integrated circuit on… read more

A robot for ‘soft tissue’ surgery outperforms surgeons

Let's say you're having intestinal surgery. Which do you choose: human or robot surgeon?
May 4, 2016

The STAR robot suturing intestinal tissue (credit: Azad Shademan et al./Science Translational Medicine)

Can a robot handle the slippery stuff of soft tissues that can move and change shape in complex ways as stitching goes on, normally requiring a surgeon’s skill to respond to these changes to keep suturing as tightly and evenly as possible?

A Johns Hopkins University and Children’s National Health System research team decided to find out by using their  “Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot” (STAR)… read more

More evidence that you’re a mindless robot with no free will

How we may confabulate reality and rationalize irrational behavior
May 4, 2016

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The results of two Yale University psychology experiments suggest that what we believe to be a conscious choice may actually be constructed, or confabulated, unconsciously after we act — to rationalize our decisions. A trick of the mind.

“Our minds may be rewriting history,” said Adam Bear, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology and lead author of a paper published April 28… read more

Astronomers discover potentially habitable planets just 40 light years from Earth

Best targets so far for search for extraterrestrial life
May 3, 2016

ultracool dwarf star-ft

Astronomers have detected three exoplanets just 40 light years from Earth whose sizes and temperatures are comparable to those of Earth. The planets may be the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system.

The results were published Monday (May 2) in the journal Nature.

Because the system is relatively close to Earth, co-author Julien de Wit, a postdoc at MIT, says scientists… read more

IBM makes quantum computing available free on IBM Cloud

You can run real or simulated experiments on an IBM quantum processor
May 3, 2016

Layout of IBM's five superconducting quantum bit device. In 2015, IBM scientists demonstrated critical breakthroughs to detect quantum errors by combining superconducting qubits in latticed arrangements, and whose quantum circuit design is the only physical architecture that can scale to larger dimensions. Now, IBM scientists have achieved a further advance by combining five qubits in the lattice architecture, which demonstrates a key operation known as a parity measurement – the basis of many quantum error correction protocols. (credit: IBM Research)

IBM Research has announced that effective Wednesday May 4, it is making quantum computing available free to members of the public, who can access and run experiments on IBM’s quantum processor, via the IBM Cloud, from any desktop or mobile device.

IBM believes quantum computing is the future of computing and has the potential to solve certain problems that are impossible to solve on today’s supercomputers.

The… read more

The world’s tiniest, most powerful nanoengine

Could lead to nanorobots small enough to enter living cells to fight disease
May 3, 2016

Expanding polymer-coated gold nanoparticles (credit: Yi Ju/University of Cambridge NanoPhotonics)

University of Cambridge researchers have developed the world’s tiniest engine, capable of a force per unit-weight nearly 100 times higher* than any motor or muscle.

The new nano-engines could lead to nanorobots small enough to enter living cells to fight disease, the researchers say.

Professor Jeremy Baumberg from the Cavendish Laboratory, who led the research, has named the devices “actuating nanotransducers” (ANTs). “Like real ants, they produce large… read more

Harold Cohen: in memoriam

Artist and pioneer in the field of computer-generated art
May 2, 2016

By Paul Cohen

Harold Cohen, artist and pioneer in the field of computer-generated art, died on April 27, 2016 at the age of 87. Cohen is the author of AARON, perhaps the longest-lived and certainly the most creative artificial intelligence program in daily use.

Cohen viewed AARON as his collaborator. At times during their decades-long relationship, AARON was quite autonomous, responsible for the composition, coloring and other aspects… read more

Skull echoes could become the new passwords for augmented-reality glasses

May 2, 2016

SkullConduct ft

German researchers have developed a biometric system called SkullConduct that uses bone conduction of sound through the user’s skull for secure user identification and authentication on augmented-reality glasses, such as Google Glass, Meta 2, and HoloLens.

SkullConduct uses the microphone already built into many of these devices and adds electronics (such as a chip) to analyze the frequency response of sound after it travels through the user’s skull. The… read more

Deep neural networks that identify shapes nearly as well as humans

You're in your self-driving car, with heavy rain and poor visibility. All of a sudden, a blurred shape appears on the road. What should the car do?
April 29, 2016

(credit: Google)

Deep neural networks (DNNs) are capable of learning to identify shapes, so “we’re on the right track in developing machines with a visual system and vocabulary as flexible and versatile as ours,” say KU Leuven researchers.

“For the first time, a dramatic increase in performance has been observed on object and scene categorization tasks, quickly reaching performance levels rivaling humans,” they note in an open-access paper in… read more

Ultrasound allows for transmitting HD video through animal tissues

Imagine a miniature remote-controlled HD video camera that streams live video from a patient's intestines to a physician
April 27, 2016

Beef liver and pork loin were used to represent the density and moisture content found in human tissue (credit: UIUC)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign engineers have demonstrated real-time video-rate (>30Mbps) “meat comm” data transmission through tissue, which could mean in-body ultrasonic communications may be possible for implanted medical devices, including hi-def video.

For example, a patient could swallow a miniaturized HD video camera that could stream live to an external screen, with the orientation of the device controlled wirelessly and externally by a physician, according to Andrewread more

Just 1 minute of intense exercise produces health benefits similar to 50 minutes of moderate exercise

No time to exercise? Now you have no excuse.
April 27, 2016

fast bike ft

Researchers at McMaster University have found that a single minute of very intense exercise within a 10-minute session produces health benefits similar to those from 50 minutes of moderate-intensity continuous exercise.

Brief bursts of intense exercise are remarkably effective, a very time-efficient workout strategy, according to Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and lead author on the study, published online in an open-access paper in the… read more

Public beta of toolkit for developing machine learning for robots and games released

April 27, 2016

Make a three-dimensional bipedal robot walk forward as fast as possible, without falling over (credit: OpenAI Gym)

OpenAI (a non-profit AI research company sponsored by Elon Musk and others) has released the public beta of OpenAI Gym, a toolkit for developing and comparing algorithms for reinforcement learning (RL), a type of machine learning.

OpenAI Gym consists of a growing suite of environments (from simulated robots to Atari games), and a site for comparing and reproducing results. OpenAI Gym is compatible with algorithms written in any… read more

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