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Flexible, low-voltage circuits using nanocrystals

Can be "printed" on ink-jet printers
November 28, 2012

Flexible circuit fabricated in the Kagan lab (credit: David Kim and Yuming Lai/University of Pennsylvania)

University of Pennsylvania researchers have shown that nanocrystals of the semiconductor cadmium selenide can be “printed” or “coated” on flexible plastics to form high-performance electronics.

Electronic circuits are typically integrated in rigid silicon wafers. Flexibility opens up a wide range of applications,  but finding materials with the right mix of performance and manufacturing cost remains a challenge.

“We have a performance benchmark… read more

More Facebook friends means more stress, says report

November 28, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A study at the University of Edinburgh Business School has found that the more groups of people in someone’s Facebook friends, the greater potential for stress. In particular, adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.

Stress arises when a user presents a version of themself on Facebook that is unacceptable to some of their online “friends,” such as posts displaying behavior… read more

Minecraft Reality for iOS

November 28, 2012


Imagine being able to dump your Minecraft creations into the real world for other people to find. 13th Lab’s Minecraft Reality app for iOS, developed by Mojang, lets you do just that.

The app uses your iOS device’s camera to track the surroundings, before projecting creations onto the landscape, using GPS technology, to plant your creations in specific places in the world for other… read more

Reading, writing and playing games may help aging brains stay healthy

November 27, 2012

Frequent cognitive activity in late life is associated with higher microstructural integrity in the brain white matter regions shown in red. White matter contains the fibers that connect different brain regions, and the microstructural integrity of these fibers naturally decreases with age. (Credit: Vasireddi, A. et al./RSNA)

Mental activities like reading and writing can preserve structural integrity in the brains of older people, according to a new study.

Konstantinos Arfanakis, Ph.D., and colleagues from Rush University Medical Center and Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago studied what effect late-life cognitive activity might have on the brain’s white matter, which is composed of nerve fibers, or axons, that transmit information throughout the brain.

“Reading… read more

Proving quantum computers feasible

Researchers show that relatively simple physical systems could yield powerful quantum computers
November 27, 2012

The possible quantum states of a chain of particles can be represented as points in space, with lines connecting states that can be swapped with no change in the chain's total energy. MIT researchers and their colleagues showed that such networks are densely interconnected, with heavily trafficked pathways between points. (Credit: Christine Daniloff)

A group of researchers at MIT, IBM, Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Northeastern University proved that even in simple spin chains, the degree of entanglement scales with the length of the chain.

The research thus offers strong evidence that relatively simple quantum systems could offer considerable computational resources.

Quantum computers are devices — still largely theoretical — that… read more

A 3D printer to turn waste plastic into composting toilets, rainwater harvesting systems

November 27, 2012


A University of Washington team claimed a $100,000 prize in the first 3D4D Challenge, an international contest to use 3-D printing for social benefit in the developing world.

The three undergraduates won to form a company that will work with partners in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Matthew Rogge, a mechanical engineering grad student, proposed to use giant 3-D printers to create composting latrines that areread more

New hope for sufferers of degenerative muscle disorders

New therapy combines two existing techniques for muscle repair --- cell transplantation (mesoangioblast stem cells) and tissue engineering
November 27, 2012


A new therapeutic technique to repair and rebuild muscle for sufferers of degenerative muscle disorders has been developed by an international team of researchers, according to a study published today in BioMed Central’s open access journal Skeletal Muscle.

The therapy brings together two existing techniques for muscle repair — cell transplantation (mesoangioblast stem cells) and tissue engineering, delivering the stem cells via a… read more

How Google plans to find the UnGoogleable

November 27, 2012


Google wants to improve its mobile search services by automatically delivering information you wouldn’t think to search for online in a research exercise known as the Daily Information Needs Study, MIT Technology Review reports.

For example, contextual information provided by mobile devices — via GPS chips and other sensors — can provide clues about a person and his situation, allowing Google to guess what that person wants.… read more

Scientists see promise in deep-learning programs

November 27, 2012


Using deep learning, an AI technique inspired by theories about how the brain recognizes patterns, technology companies are reporting startling gains in fields as diverse as computer vision, speech recognition and the identification of promising new molecules for designing drugs, The New York Times reports.

The advances have led to widespread enthusiasm among researchers who design software to perform human activities like seeing, listening and thinking. They offer… read more

A 3D microscopic device for high-speed processing of infrared light

November 26, 2012

An illustration shows the design of Rice University researchers’ antenna-on-a-chip for spatial light modulation. The chip is able to process incident infrared light for signal processing at very high speeds. (Credit Xu Group/Rice University)

Rice University researchers have produced a micron-scale spatial light modulator (SLM) like those used in sensing and imaging devices, but with the potential to run orders of magnitude faster.

Unlike other devices that use two-dimensional semiconducting chips, the Rice chips work in three-dimensional “free space.”

The chips promise to speed up applications that are free-space based, such as imaging, display, holographics, metrology and remote… read more

New insights into how the brain stores memories

November 26, 2012

Neuronlae Interaktionen

Exactly how does long-term memory get updated (or “written,” in computer language)?

One hypothesis, for example, is that while in deep dreamless sleep, the hippocampus sends messages to the cortex and changes its plasticity, transferring recently acquired knowledge (in short-term memory) to long-term memory.


Many invasive studies in nonhuman primates and clinical investigations in human patients have demonstrated that the hippocampus, one of the oldest, most… read more

Samsung plans flexible, unbreakable, lighter phones

November 26, 2012


Samsung plans to start mass production of  displays using plastic rather than glass to make mobile devices unbreakable, lighter, and bendable, to be released in the first half of next year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Samsung’s flexible displays will incorporate OLEDs, a display technology that the South Korean company is already using in its smartphones and television sets. OLEDs are thin and can beread more

Can a robot make a better, faster burger?

November 26, 2012


Momentum Machines says it’s created a new robot that can make about 360 burgers an hour in a 24-square foot area and that they plan to use it in “the first restaurant chain that profitably sells gourmet hamburgers at fast food prices.”

Why robots? Besides efficiency, Momentum Machines says they will offer custom meat grinds for every single customer. “Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground after… read more

Reform to require warrant for private online messages up for vote, but down on privacy

November 25, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The Department of Justice argues it can read your private electronic messages, like emails and private Facebook messages, older than 180 days without a warrant, due to an archaic distinction in the outdated Electronic Privacy and Communications Act (ECPA), EFF Deeplinks reports.

Senator Leahy wants to change this and has scheduled a markup hearing the week of Nov. 26. Months ago, he offeredread more

Huge Mars colony eyed by SpaceX founder Elon Musk

November 25, 2012


Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, wants to help establish a Mars colony of up to 80,000 people by ferrying explorers there for perhaps $500,000 a trip, reports.

In Musk’s vision, the ambitious Mars settlement program would start with a pioneering group of fewer than 10 people.

Accompanying the founders of the new Marsread more

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