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Brain-computer interface enables paralyzed man to walk without robotic support

September 25, 2015

A man whose legs had been paralyzed for five years walks along a 12-foot course using UCI-developed technology that lets the brain bypass the spinal cord to send messages to the legs. (credit: courtesy of UCI’s Brain Computer Interface Lab)

A novel brain-computer-interface (BCI) technology created by University of California, Irvine researchers has allowed a paraplegic man to walk for a short distance, unaided by an exoskeleton or other types of robotic support.

The male participant, whose legs had been paralyzed for five years, walked along a 12-foot course using an electroencephalogram (EEG) brain-computer-interface system that lets the brain bypass the spinal cord to send messages to… read more

Pushing the resolution and exposure-time limits of lensless imaging

A custom-built ultrafast laser that could image everything from semiconductor chips to cells in real time
September 25, 2015

ultrafast laser ft

Physicists at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany are pushing the boundaries of nanoscale imaging by shooting ultra-high-resolution, real-time images in extreme ultraviolet light — without lenses. The new method could be used to study everything from semiconductor chips to cancer cells, the scientists say.

They are improving a lensless imaging technique called “coherent diffraction imaging,” which has been around since the 1980s. To take a picture… read more

New ‘stealth dark matter’ theory may explain mystery of the universe’s missing mass

A balancing act performed before the universe cooled
September 24, 2015

This 3D map illustrates the large-scale distribution of dark matter, reconstructed from measurements of weak gravitational lensing by using the Hubble Space Telescope (credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

A new theory that may explain why dark matter has evaded direct detection in Earth-based experiments has been developed by team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) particle physicists known as the Lattice Strong Dynamics Collaboration.

The group has combined theoretical and computational physics techniques and used the Laboratory’s massively parallel 2-petaflop Vulcan supercomputer to devise a new model of dark… read more

First brain-to-brain ‘telepathy’ communication via the Internet

September 24, 2015

University of Washington graduate student Jose Ceballos wears an electroencephalography (EEG) cap that records brain activity and sends a response to a second participant over the Internet (credit: University of Washington)

The first brain-to-brain telepathy-like communication between two participants via the Internet has been performed by University of Washington researchers.*

The experiment used a question-and-answer game. The goal is for the “inquirer” to determine which object the “respondent” is looking at from a list of possible objects. The inquirer sends a question (e.g., “Does it fly?) to the respondent, who answers “yes” or “no” by mentally focusing on one of… read more

A new class of anti-obesity compounds with potential anti-diabetic properties

Mice with pre-existing obesity lost 20 percent of their body weight and about 50 percent of their fat mass
September 24, 2015

Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2014 (credit: Behavorial Risk Factor Surveillance System/CDC)

A molecule known as MnTBAP* has rapidly reversed obesity in mice and could be effective for humans in the future, according to researchers from Skidmore College and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“In the span of a month, mice with pre-existing obesity lost 20 percent of their body weight and about 50 percent of their fat mass,” said… read more

A new distance record for quantum teleportation via photons

September 24, 2015

photon detector

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have “teleported” (transferred) quantum information carried in photons over 100 kilometers (km) of optical fiber — four times farther than the previous record.

The experiment confirmed that quantum communication is feasible over long distances in fiber, according to the researchers. Other research groups have teleported quantum information over longer distances in free space (wirelessly), but fiber-optic cables… read more

’4-D’ printing technology allows self-folding of complex ‘transformer’ objects, using smart shape-memory materials

Among the wild possibilities: pop-up space structures, deployable medical devices that expand out after shipping, aircraft that morph in air depending on mission, multi-purpose shape-shifting electronic gadgets, magical transformer-type robots and toys ...
September 23, 2015

This image shows the self-folding process of smart shape-memory materials with slightly different responses to heat. Using materials that fold at slightly different rates is important to ensure that the components do not interfere with one another during the process. (Credit: Qi Laboratory)

Using components made from smart shape-memory materials (which can return to their original shape) with slightly different responses to heat, researchers have demonstrated a “four-dimensional” printing technology that allows for creating complex, self-folding structures.

The technology, developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), could be used to create 3-D structures that sequentially fold themselves… read more

Smart robot accelerates cancer treatment research by finding optimal treatment combinations

September 23, 2015

Iterative search for anti-cancer drug combinations. The procedure starts by generating an initial generation (population) of drug combinations randomly or guided by biological prior knowledge and assumptions. In each iteration the aim is to propose a new generation of drug combinations based on the results obtained so far. The procedure iterates through a number of generations until a stop criterion for a predefined fitness function is satisfied. (credit: M. Kashif et al./Scientific Reports)

A new smart research system developed at Uppsala University accelerates research on cancer treatments by finding optimal treatment drug combinations. It was developed by a research group led by Mats Gustafsson, Professor of Medical Bioinformatics.

The “lab robot” system plans and conducts experiments with many substances, and draws its own conclusions from the results. The idea is to gradually refine combinations of substances so that… read more

First all-optical chip memory

Will allow for integration of high-speed optical transmission systems and computers, reducing required power
September 23, 2015

All-optical data memory: ultra-short light pulses make the GST material change from crystalline to amorphous and back. Weak light pulses read out the data. (credit: C. Rios/Oxford University)

The first all-optical chip memory has been developed by an international team of scientists. It is capable of writing data to memory at a speed of up to a gigahertz or more and may allow computers to work more rapidly and more efficiently.

The memory is non-volatile (similar to flash memory), and the new memory can store data even when the power is removed, and may persist for decades,… read more

AI system solves SAT geometry questions as well as average American 11th-grade student

September 23, 2015

SAT geometry question

An AI system that can solve SAT geometry questions as well as the average American 11th-grade student has been developed by researchers at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) and University of Washington.

This system, called GeoS, uses a combination of computer vision to interpret diagrams, natural language processing to read and understand text, and a geometric solver, achieving 49 percent accuracy on official SAT… read more

DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue

Produces "organoids" useful in cancer research, drug screening
September 22, 2015

human luminal and myoepithelial cells-ft

A new technique developed by UCSF scientists for building organoids (tiny models of human tissues) more precisely turns human cells into the biological equivalent of LEGO bricks. Called DNA Programmed Assembly of Cells (DPAC), it allows researchers in hours to create arrays of thousands of custom-designed organoids, such as models of human mammary glands containing several hundred cells each.

These mini-tissues in a dish can be used… read more

3-D printing lightweight, flexible multiple materials in real time, including electronic circuits

Allows for printing materials for wearable devices, flexible electronics, and soft robots
September 22, 2015

multiple materials ft

Harvard researchers have designed new printheads for 3-D printers that can simultaneously handle multiple materials with different properties, allowing for 3-D printing wearable devices, flexible electronics, and soft robots.

To print a flexible device, including the electronics, a 3-D printer must be able to seamlessly transition from a flexible material that moves with the wearer’s joints for wearable applications, to a rigid material that accommodates the electronic components.… read more

How to catch a molecule

Single molecules imprisoned by laser light in a doughnut-shaped metal cage could unlock the key to advanced storage devices, quantum computers, and high-resolution instruments
September 21, 2015

With a nano-ring-based toroidal trap, cold polar molecules near the gray shaded surface approaching the central region may be trapped within a nanometer scale volume. (credit: ORNL)

In a paper published in Physical Review AOak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee physicists describe conceptually how they may be able to trap and exploit a molecule’s energy to advance a number of fields.

“A single molecule has many degrees of freedom, or ways of expressing its energy and dynamics, including vibrations, rotations and translations,” said Ali Passian of Oak Ridge National… read more

‘Tree of life’ for 2.3 million species released

A “Wikipedia” for evolutionary trees
September 21, 2015

This circular family tree of Earth’s lifeforms is considered a first draft of the 3.5-billion-year history of how life evolved and diverged. (credit: Duke University)

A first draft of the “tree of life” for the roughly 2.3 million named species of animals, plants, fungi and microbes — from platypuses to puffballs — has been released.

A collaborative effort among eleven institutions, the tree depicts the relationships among living things as they diverged from one another over time, tracing back to the beginning of life on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago.

Tens… read more

A thermal invisibility cloak that actively redirects heat

Uses may include electronic systems cooling, high-power engines, MRI instruments, thermal sensors, and clothing
September 21, 2015

Active thermal cloak hides a circular object in conductive heat flow by “pumping” heat from hot end to cold end. (credit: Xu & Zhang/NTU)

A new thermal cloak that can render an object thermally invisible by actively redirecting incident heat has been developed by scientists at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. It’s similar to how optical invisibility cloaks can bend and diffract light to shield an object from sight and specially fabricated acoustic metamaterials can hide an object from sound waves.

The system has the potential to fine-tune temperature… read more

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