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Mathematicians aim to take publishers out of publishing

Episciences Project to launch series of community-run, open-access journals
January 18, 2013


Mathematicians plan to launch a series of free open-access journals that will host their peer-reviewed articles on the preprint server arXiv, Nature News reports. The project was publicly revealed yesterday in a blog post by Tim Gowers, a Fields Medal winner and mathematician at the University of Cambridge, UK.

The initiative, called the Episciences Project, hopes to show that researchers can organize the… read more

New research supports the huge potential of tidal power

January 18, 2013

Artist’s impression of a tidal turbine array (credit: Phil. Trans. R. Soc)

A global group of scientists and engineers, including from the University of Southampton, has published in a special issue journal of the Royal Society in support of tidal power, which has the potential to provide more than 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand, they calculate.

While the predictable nature of tides makes them an ideal renewable energy source, more so than wind, the… read more

Is the ‘quantum singularity’ near?

January 18, 2013


Four research groups have announced progress on a quantum-computing proposal made two years ago by MIT researchers.

In early 2011, two theoretical computer scientists at MIT proposed an optical experiment that would harness the weird laws of quantum mechanics to perform a computation impossible on conventional computers.

Commenting at the time, Terry Rudolph, a quantum-computing researcher at Imperial College London said that the experiment… read more

New surfaces repel most known liquids

January 18, 2013

superoleophobic surface (credit: Shuaijun Pan et al./JACS)

Scientists have developed new “superomniphobic” surfaces that will lead to stain-proof, spill-proof clothing, protective garments, and other products that shrug off virtually every liquid — from blood and ketchup to concentrated acids.

Anish Tuteja and colleagues point out that scientists have previously reported “omniphobic” surfaces, the term meaning that such surfaces can cause a range of different liquids to bead up and not spread on them. But… read more

Telepresence robot helps program brain and spine stimulators remotely

January 18, 2013

RP-7 home telepresence device (credit: Ivar Mendez et al./Neurosurgery)

With the rapidly expanding use of brain and spinal cord stimulation therapy (neuromodulation), “remote presence” (telepresence) technologies may help to meet the demand for experts to perform stimulator programming, reports a study published in Neurosurgery.

The preliminary study by Dr. Ivar Mendez of Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, supports the feasibility and safety of using a telepresence robot (“RP-7″) to increase… read more

A robotic fish that glides for long distances

January 18, 2013

A team of MSU researchers has developed a robotic fish that can swim and glide long distances while gathering data such as water quality and temperature (credit: G.L. Kohuth/Michigan State university)

Michigan State University (MSU) scientists have redesigned a “robotic fish,” giving it the ability to glide long distances, using little to no energy, while measuring water temperature and quality and other data that can aid in testing and cleaning lakes and rivers.

According to research team leader Xiaobo Tan, MSU associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, while gliding  uses less energy, it’s slower and less… read more

Quantum dots go on display

January 17, 2013


Researchers working with nanoscale fluorescent particles called quantum dots have long predicted groundbreaking achievements, such as ultra-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and solar cells, but the technology has found mainly niche applications.

That could change with the announcement last week that QD Vision would supply Sony Corporation of Tokyo with quantum dots for flat-screen televisions that will transmit more richly colored images than other TVs on… read more

A real-life ‘holodeck’ in 10 years?

January 17, 2013

The holodeck of the USS Enterprise (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

According to software expert Tim Huckaby, we’re on the verge of a science-fiction-like future where doctors manipulate molecules in three-dimensional (3-D) space, augmented music players tune into your thoughts, and retailers deliver coupons in real time based on the focus of your gaze across store shelves, Smart Planet reports.

His predictions for what’s possible within the next 10 years include a functioning “holodeck” (as in Star Trek)… read more

Hands-on with the next generation Kinect: PrimeSense Capri

January 17, 2013


The next generation of PrimeSense‘s 3D sensor (used inside the Microsoft Kinect), called Capri, will revolutionize vision for very cheap and very expensive robots, IEEE Spectrum reports.

Capri is also small enough that it’ll be able to fit into tablets (and eventually smartphones).

The first engineering samples of Capri are expected to ship in 2-3 months, with consumer kits… read more

How the human brain adapts to injury

Findings also show how you can train your brain to handle injuries more efficiently
January 17, 2013

hemisphere takeover

Scientists at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging (CCBI) have used a new combination of neural imaging methods to discover exactly how the human brain adapts to injury.

The research shows that when one brain area loses functionality, a “back-up” team of secondary brain areas immediately activates, replacing not only the unavailable area but also its confederates.

Developingread more

A major step toward an Alzheimer’s treatment and vaccine

January 17, 2013

PET scan of the brain of a person with AD showing a loss of function in the temporal lobe (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A way to stimulate the brain’s natural defense mechanisms in people with Alzheimer’s disease has been discovered by researchers at Université Laval, CHU de Québec and pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): a molecule known as MPL (monophosphoryl lipid A) that stimulates the activity of the brain’s immune cells.

The breakthrough opens the door to developing a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and a vaccine to prevent the… read more

Google glass to hit developers’ hands this month

January 16, 2013


Developers who want to get their hands on Google’s Project Glass won’t have to wait much longer, Mashable reports.

Google announced plans Tuesday to hold a “Glass Foundry” in San Francisco and New York in the coming weeks: two full days of hacking that will allow developers to get an early look at Glass and start developing for the platform.

Glass Foundry will be… read more

Using an electron beam to manipulate nanoparticles

January 16, 2013

How to trap a gold nanoparticle in an environmental cell: an electron beam passes through a silicon nitride window and grabs the nanoparticle (credit: Haimei Zheng et al./Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Scientists from Berkeley Lab and the National University of Singapore have developed a way to manipulate nanoparticles using an electron beam.

They used an electron beam from a transmission electron microscope to trap gold nanoparticles and direct their movement, and to assemble several nanoparticles into a tight cluster.

They also imaged the nanoparticles as they manipulated them.

Based on their results, the scientists… read more

Intelligent molecules

January 16, 2013

Solvent-induced collapse of an environmentally responsive copolymer (attached to a gold surface and an atomic force microscope tip). The molecule changes length in response to increased salt concentration. (Credit: Michael A. Nash, and Hermann E. Gaub/ACS Nano)

It sounds like science fiction: “intelligent molecules” that react to external stimuli and reversibly change their shape.

But now Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) physicists have succeeded for the first time in creating a chemical reaction, using a single polymer molecule, that makes this process visible.

Dr. Michael Nash and his colleagues placed a self-generated synthesized polymer on a gold surface using an atomic force microscope… read more

Asteroid deflection mission seeks smashing ideas

January 16, 2013


A space rock several hundred meters across is heading towards our planet and the last-ditch attempt to avert a disaster — an untested mission to deflect it — fails.

This fictional scene of films and novels could well be a reality one day. So the European Space Agency (ESA) is appealing for research ideas to help guide the development of a U.S.-European asteroid deflection mission… read more

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