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Welcome to the programmable world

May 15, 2013


Tiny, intelligent things all around us, coordinating their activities. There are few more appropriate guides to this impending future than Alex Hawkinson, whose DC-based startup, SmartThings, has built what’s arguably the most advanced hub to tie connected objects together, Wired reports.

At his house, more than 200 objects, from the garage door to the coffeemaker to his daughter’s trampoline, are all connected to his SmartThings system.… read more

‘Paint-on’ solar panels

May 15, 2013

Organic Photovoltaics: PlasmonicEnhanced Organic Photovoltaics:

Qiaoqiang Gan, University at Buffalo assistant professor of electrical engineering, is developing a new generation of photovoltaic cells that produce more power and cost less to manufacture than what’s available today.

One of his more promising efforts involves the use of plasmonic-enhanced organic photovoltaic materials. These devices don’t match traditional solar cells in terms of energy production but they are less expensive and… read more

Do-it-yourself invisibility cloaking with 3D printing

May 15, 2013


Seven years ago, Duke University engineers demonstrated the first working invisibility cloak in complex laboratory experiments. Now it appears creating a simple cloak has become a lot simpler, by using a 3D printer..

Yaroslav Urzhumov, assistant research professor in electrical and computer engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, said producing a cloak in this fashion is inexpensive and easy.

He and his team… read more

AP: Justice Department’s seizure of phone records an unprecedented intrusion

May 14, 2013

Security woman

The U.S. Department of Justice has seized two months’ worth of phone records of calls made by reporters and editors.from the offices of the Associated Press news agency, in what appeared to be an effort to track down the source who disclosed an alleged Yemen terrorist plot story, The Guardian reports.

AP’s president and chief executive officer, Gary Pruitt, described it as “serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to… read more

Hydrogel biomaterial shows promise for Type 1 diabetes treatment

May 14, 2013

Immunostained image of engrafted islet in hydrogel in diabetic mouse. (Red areas are insulin-producing cells. Green areas are blood vessels, and blue areas are DNA nuclei in cells.) (Credit: Georgia Tech)

Georgia Tech engineers and Emory University clinicians have successfully transplanted insulin-producing cells into a diabetic mouse model, reversing diabetic symptoms in the animal in as little as 10 days.

It could help lead to a possible cure for Type 1 diabetes.

The research team engineered a biomaterial to protect the cluster of insulin-producing cells — donor pancreatic islets — during injection. To foster blood… read more

UN urges people to eat insects to fight world hunger

May 14, 2013


The report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says that eating insects could help boost nutrition and reduce pollution, BBC News reports.

It notes than over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects.

Wasps, beetles and other insects are currently “underutilized” as food for people and livestock, the report says.

The authors point out that insects are nutritious, with… read more

Oxygen-sensing ‘microrobots’

May 14, 2013


Researchers of the robotics lab at ETH Zurich have developed what ETH calls a “microrobot” (actually, a coated magnetic particle with no onboard  intelligence) that can be used to measure the retina’s oxygen supply.

An insufficient supply of oxygen can cause blindness. Glaucoma is only one of several diseases that can decrease the oxygen supply to the retina, sometimes within mere hours.

To make… read more

Extracting human DNA with full genetic data in minutes

May 13, 2013


University of Washington engineers and NanoFacture, a Bellevue, Wash., company, have created a device that can extract human DNA from fluid samples in a simpler, more efficient and environmentally friendly way than conventional methods.

The device will give hospitals and research labs a much easier way to separate DNA from human fluid samples, which will help with genome sequencing, disease diagnosis and forensic investigations.

Separating… read more

The emergence of individuality in genetically identical mice

May 13, 2013

Enrichment enclosure housing 40 mice

How do people and other organisms evolve into individuals that are distinguished from others by their own personal brain structure and behavior?

Why do identical twins not resemble each other perfectly even when they grew up together?

To shed light on these questions, the scientists observed 40 genetically identical mice that were kept in an enclosure that offered a rich shared environment with a large variety of activity… read more

Cloud computing modernizes education in China

May 13, 2013


Chinese cloud services provider 3Tcloud is deploying the country’s biggest education cloud project to optimize resource allocation and cut maintenance cost, ZDNET reports.

According to a report last week on Chinese tech site, the city of Zhuji in Zhejiang — one of China’s most developed provinces — has installed more than 6,000 3Tcloud computing terminal devices in 118 schools.

The project,… read more

Samsung to offer 5G service by 2020

May 13, 2013


Samsung Electronics Co. said Sunday that it has successfully developed fifth-generation network (5G) core technology for the first time, allowing users to access faster data services expected to be available by 2020, Yonhap News Agency reports.

Under the new platform, users will be able to download and upload data at speeds of up to tens of gigabits per second (Gbps), compared to 75 megabits per second (Mbps)… read more

Bitcoin network speed 8 times faster than top 500 supercomputers combined

May 13, 2013


The mining speed of the bitcoin network on passed 1 exaFLOPS (1,000 petaFLOPS) this week — more than 8* times the combined speed of the Top 500 supercomputers, according to The Genesis Block.

(FLOPS stands for FLoating-point Operations Per Second, and is frequently used as a standard to measure computer speed.)

However, that calculation was based on 2011 supercomputer data and it’s not… read more

Creating a sense of touch in a prosthetic hand

May 13, 2013

prosthetic sensing

Scientists have made tremendous advances toward building lifelike prosthetic limbs that move and function like the real thing.

But what’s missing is a sense of touch, so a patient knows how hard he or she is actually squeezing something, or exactly where the object is positioned relative to his or her hand.

“If you lose your somatosensory [body senses] system, it almost looks like your motor system is… read more

Can bonding with your virtual self alter your perceptions?

May 12, 2013


If you create and modify your own virtual reality avatars, could what happens to these alter egos influence how you perceive virtual environments?

Penn State researchers found this question relevant to designing more realistic and immersive virtual reality exercises and games. They assigned random avatars to one group of participants, but allowed another group to customize their own avatars.

When placed in a virtual environment with three hills… read more

Amazon is developing smartphone with 3D screen

May 10, 2013

emporer Inc. is developing a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for three-dimensional images without glasses, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, and users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, according to sources,

With smartphones, Amazon could collect new… read more

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