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The Google Glass feature no one is talking about

March 3, 2013

When everything is connected --- a scene from Watchdogs, a future PS4 game (credit: Ubisoft)

“Google Glass might change your life, but not in the way you think. There’s something else Google Glass makes possible that no one — no one — has talked about yet, and so today I’m writing this blog post to describe it,” says Mark Hurst on Creative Good.

“It’s lifebits, the ability to record video of the people, places, and events around you, at all times. with a… read more

DNA and amino-acid precursor molecules discovered in interstellar space

March 2, 2013

GBT_Molecules

Researchers have discovered prebiotic (pre-life) molecules in interstellar space that may have formed on dusty ice grains floating between the stars.

The molecules were detected in a giant cloud of gas some 25,000 light-years from Earth, near the center of our Milky Way Galaxy — specifically, the star-forming region Sagittarius(Sgr) B2(N), which is the richest interstellar chemical environment currently known.

One of the newly-discovered molecules, called… read more

The interspecies internet

Could the Internet connect us with dolphins, apes, elephants and other highly intelligent species?
March 2, 2013

(Credit: Peter Gabriel)

At TED 2013 Thursday, Diana Reiss, Peter Gabriel, Neil Gershenfeld, and Vint Cerf launched the idea of the “interspecies internet.”

Diana Reiss, a cognitive psychologist, has been been teaching dolphins to communicate through an underwater keyboard of symbols that correspond to whistles and playful activities.

Through this keyboard, the dolphins learned to perform activities on demand, and also to express their desire for them. (Also see… read more

Secrets of human speech uncovered

How the brain exerts symphony-like control of the vocal tract during the act of speaking
March 1, 2013

ba

A team of researchers at UC San Francisco has uncovered the neurological basis of speech motor control, the complex coordinated activity of tiny brain regions that controls our lips, jaw, tongue and larynx as we speak.

The work has potential implications for developing brain-computer interfaces for artificial speech communication and for the treatment of speech disorders. It also sheds light on this ability, which is… read more

‘Rain Man’-like brains mapped with network analysis

March 1, 2013

The connectome of brain malformation

Researchers at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley have mapped the three-dimensional global connections within the brains of seven adults who have genetic malformations that leave them without the corpus callosum, which connects the left and right sides of the brain.

These “structural connectome” maps, which combine hospital MRIs with the mathematical tool known as network analysis, reveal new details about the condition known as… read more

The next generation of vertical flight

March 1, 2013

VTOLXPlane1

The DARPA Tactical Technology Office is soliciting proposals on the design, development and demonstration of a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) experimental aircraft (X-Plane) with exceptional performance in vertical and cruise flight, and operational capability through transition from vertical to forward flight

Higher speeds, increased efficiency, elegant designs are the focus of DARPA’s new VTOL X-Plane.

The versatility of helicopters and other vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft… read more

4D printed objects ‘make themselves’

March 1, 2013

Cube self-folding strand (credit: Self-Assembly Lab, MIT/Stratasys)

At the TED conference in Los Angeles, architect and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits showed how the process allows objects to self-assemble, BBC News reports.

It could be used to install objects in hard-to-reach places such as underground water pipes, he suggested.

It might also herald an age of self-assembling furniture, said experts.

Smart materials

“We’re proposing that the fourth dimension is time… read more

Flying moths inspire robotics

Imagine robots with parallel processing ability in a complex 360 degree visual environment
March 1, 2013

flying_moth

The hawk moth’s wings are a blur of mottled gray motion as it hovers tethered to a steel rod in large white plastic orb. Outside the orb in the darkened room, a projector casts moving patterns of dimmed light onto the sphere’s surface, illuminating the moth’s field of vision with oscillating stripes. …

These changing light patterns create altered visual environments for the moth inside to simulate real-world visual… read more

First direct brain-to-brain interface between two animals

Remote collaborative brain linking, networks of rat brains solving problems, mind-swapping ... what's going on here?
March 1, 2013

brain_2_brain_rats

Researchers have electronically linked the brains of pairs of rats for the first time, enabling them to communicate directly to solve simple behavioral puzzles.

They even brain-linked two animals thousands of miles apart — one in Durham, North Carolina and one in Natal, Brazil.

The researchers think linking multiple brains could form the first “organic computer.”

“Our previous studies with brain-machine interfaces had convinced us… read more

3D printed car is as strong as steel, half the weight, and nearing production

March 1, 2013

urbee

Picture an assembly line not that isn’t made up of robotic arms spewing sparks to weld heavy steel, but a warehouse of plastic-spraying printers producing light, cheap and highly efficient automobiles.

If Jim Kor’s dream is realized, that’s exactly how the next generation of urban runabouts will be produced, Wired reports. His creation is called the Urbee 2 and it could revolutionize parts manufacturing while creating… read more

Flexible battery completes stretchable electronics package

February 28, 2013

Researchers have demonstrated a stretchable lithium-ion battery -- a flexible device capable of powering their innovative stretchable electronics (Credit: Northwestern University)

Northwestern University scientists have demonstrated the first stretchable lithium-ion battery — a flexible device capable of powering innovative stretchable electronics.

This development makes it now possible that these stretchable electronic devices could be used anywhere, including inside the human body.

The implantable electronics could monitor anything from brain waves to heart activity, succeeding where flat, rigid batteries would fail.

The battery can work… read more

Space-based solar farms power up

February 28, 2013

spsalpha-concept

Space-based solar power (SBSP) has once again begun to attract attention with projects emerging in the US, Russia, China, India and Japan, among others. All are driven by increasing energy demands, soaring oil and gas prices, a desire to find clean alternatives to fossil fuels and by a burgeoning commercial space industry that promises to lower the cost of entry into space and spur on a host of new industries,… read more

Infrared digital holography allows firefighters to see through flames

February 28, 2013

fire images

Other applications could include monitoring breathing, cardiac beat detection and analysis, body deformation measurements during exercise

One of their greatest challenges for firefighters is seeing through thick veils of smoke and walls of flame to find people in need of rescue. So a team of Italian researchers has developed a new imaging technique that uses infrared (IR) digital holography, described in a paper published today in the… read more

Russia calls for united meteor defense

February 28, 2013

asteroid

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin says the world should unite to establish a defense system against space objects that threaten Earth, under the umbrella of the United Nations, Space Daily reports.

The Russian leader said the threat from asteroids, meteorites, comets and other stray space objects should serve to “unite humanity in the face of a common enemy.”

Alexander Bagrov, a senior researcher at the Institute… read more

Brain Activity Map Project is futile, say some scientists, others enthused

Complete human brain generates about 300,000 petabytes of data each year
February 28, 2013

brain-rays

In setting the nation on a course to map the active human brain, President Obama may have picked a challenge even more daunting than ending the war in Afghanistan or finding common ground with his Republican opponents, The New York Times reports.

Many neuroscientists are skeptical that a multiyear, multibillion dollar effort to unlock the brain’s mysteries will succeed.“I believe the scientific paradigm… read more

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