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Experiments show magnetic chips could dramatically increase computing’s energy efficiency

Beyond Moore's law: the challenge in computing today is reducing chips' energy consumption, not increasing packing density
March 17, 2016

Magnetic microscope image of three nanomagnetic computer bits. Each bit is a tiny bar magnet only 90 nanometers long. The microscope shows a bright spot at the "North" end and a dark spot at the "South" end of the magnet. The "H" arrow shows the direction of magnetic field applied to switch the direction of the magnets. (credit: Image by Jeongmin Hong and Jeffrey Bokor)

UC Berkeley engineers have shown for the first time that magnetic chips can actually operate at the lowest fundamental energy dissipation theoretically possible under the laws of thermodynamics. That means dramatic reductions in power consumption are possible — down to as little as one-millionth the amount of energy per operation used by transistors in modern computers.

The findings were published Mar. 11 an open-access paper in… read more

Major steps toward a bioengineered heart for transplantation

Using a patient’s own cells may overcome problems associated with receiving a heart donated by another person
March 17, 2016

A partially recellularized human whole-heart cardiac scaffold, reseeded with human cardiomyocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, being cultured in a bioreactor that delivers a nutrient solution and replicates some of the environmental conditions around a living heart. (credit: Bernhard Jank, MD, Ott Lab, Center for Regenerative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital)

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have taken early steps towards producing a bioengineered heart for transplantation that would use cells from the patient receiving the heart.

Using a patient’s own cells would help to overcome some of the problems associated with receiving a heart donated by another person, including immune rejection of the donated heart, as well as the long-term side effects of life-long treatment with the immunosuppressive… read more

A roadmap for the next generation of additive manufacturing materials and processes

Materials currently used in 3D printing are costly, not readily available, and limited
March 16, 2016

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Penn State University researchers have released a roadmap for developing future additive manufacturing (3D printing) materials and processes.

It’s much needed. Most of the feedstock materials currently used in 3D printing are costly, not readily available, and limited, according to the researchers. The first additive manufacturing (AM) processes were actually developed 30 years ago. All of the metal alloys currently used, for example, were developed to be… read more

Electron microscope reveals bacteria motor parts in incredible unprecedented detail

May make it possible to design specific drugs to attack targeted bacterial species
March 16, 2016

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A new study of the exotic “motors” that bacteria use to swim reveals details of how they “swim” that may make it possible to design specific drugs that sabotage the flagella (tails) in targeted bacterial species.

Using a newly installed high-powered electron microscope, researchers at Imperial College London, led by Morgan Beeby, PhD from the Department of Life Sciences, has been able visualize these motors… read more

New ‘machine unlearning’ technique deletes unwanted data

March 16, 2016

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Machine learning systems are becoming ubiquitous, but what about false or damaging information about you (and others) that these systems have learned? Is it even possible for that information to be ever corrected? There are some heavy security and privacy questions here. Ever Google yourself?

Some background: machine-learning software programs calculate predictive relationships from massive amounts of data. The systems identify these predictive relationships using advanced algorithms — a… read more

How to turn carbon dioxide into sustainable concrete

May help eliminate two key sources of greenhouse gases
March 15, 2016

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A UCLA research team has developed a plan for capturing carbon from power-plant smokestacks (the largest source of harmful global greenhouse gas in the world) and use it to create a new building material — CO2NCRETE — that would be fabricated using 3D printers while replacing production of cement (which creates about 5 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions).

“I decided to get involved in this project because… read more

Electrical control of bacteria-powered microrobots

Uses include delivering medication and manipulating stem cells to direct their growth
March 15, 2016

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Drexel University engineers have developed a method for using electric fields to help microscopic bacteria-powered robots detect obstacles in their environment and navigate around them. Uses include delivering medication, manipulating stem cells to direct their growth, or building a microstructure, for example.

The method is a follow-up to a 2014 report that presented a way to use the flagellated bacteria Serratia marcescens and an electric field to make a microrobot mobile.… read more

A neurofeedback technique for self-motivation

fMRI visual feedback reinforces pleasurable brain sensations
March 15, 2016

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Duke University scientists have developed a “neurofeedback” technique to improve self motivation by manipulating specific neural circuits using thoughts and imagery. (Neurofeedback is a specialized form of biofeedback that can help generate strategies to overcome anxiety and stress or to cope with other medical conditions.)

“These methods show a direct route for manipulating brain networks centrally involved in healthy brain function and daily behavior,” said the study’s… read more

New synthesized molecule could reduce brain damage in stroke victims

March 14, 2016

This graphic depicts a new inhibitor, 6S, locking up an enzyme (red) to block the production of hydrogen sulfide (yellow and white). Hydrogen sulfide concentrations have been shown to climb after the onset of a stroke, leaving to brain damage. (credit: Matthew Beio, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

A new molecule known as 6S has reduced the death of brain tissue from ischemic stroke by up to 66 percent in rats while reducing the accompaning inflammation, researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the National University of Singapore reported March 9 in an open-access paper published by the journal ACS Central Science.

The inhibitor molecule works by binding to cystathionine beta-synthase… read more

Using machine learning to rationally design future electronics materials

Why machine-learning algorithms will replace lab experiments
March 14, 2016

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Replacing inefficient experimentation, UConn researchers have used machine learning to systematically scan millions of theoretical compounds for qualities that would make better materials for solar cells, fibers, and computer chips.

Led by UConn materials scientist Ramamurthy ‘Rampi’ Ramprasad, the researchers set out to determine which polymer atomic configurations make a given polymer a good electrical conductor or insulator, for example.

A polymer is a large… read more

Freaked out by robots? Recall a familiar robot movie.

A tip for robot designers: incorporate features that remind older adults of robots in movies and TV
March 12, 2016

WALL-E

Older adults who recalled more robots portrayed in films had lower anxiety toward robots than seniors who remembered fewer robot portrayals, Penn State researchers found in a study.

That could help elders accept robots as caregivers, said S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory.

“Increasingly, people are talking about smart homes and health care facilities and the roles… read more

Scientists grow eye lens from patients’ own stem cells, restoring vision

In pioneering new cataract treatment of 12 pediatric patients, the eye grew a new lens from its own stem cells after cloudy lens was removed
March 11, 2016

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Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute, with colleagues in China, have developed an eye lens restoration treatment that has been tested in monkeys and in a small human clinical trial. It produced much fewer surgical complications than the current standard-of-care and resulted in regenerated lenses with superior visual function in all 12 of the pediatric cataract patients who received the new surgery.… read more

Are you ready for soft, morphing, crawling robots with glowing skin displays?

Turn and face the strange.
March 11, 2016

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Your future robot or mobile device could have soft, morphable, stretchable “skin” that displays information, according to research by Cornell University engineers. Imagine a health-care robot that displays your blood glucose level and oxygenation, and even your mood — perhaps also your remote physician’s face in 3D.

“When robots become more and more a part of our lives, the ability for them to have an emotional connection with… read more

Dramatic remissions in blood cancer in immunotherapy treatment trial

"We are at the precipice of a revolution in cancer treatment based on using immunotherapy." --- Stanley Riddell, MD
March 10, 2016

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*****UPDATE JULY 12, 2016*****

Juno Therapeutics, Inc. announced July 7 that it has received notice from the FDA that it has placed a clinical hold on an immune-cell cancer treatment known as the “ROCKET” trial, which was reported on KurzweilAI on Mar. 10, 2016.

The clinical hold was initiated after two patient deaths, which followed the recent addition of fludarabine to the pre-conditioning regimen. Juno has… read more

Amputee feels texture with a ‘bionic’ fingertip

Other artificial-touch uses include robotics in surgery, rescue, and manufacturing
March 10, 2016

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Amputee Dennis Aabo Sørensen is the first person in the world to recognize texture (smoothness vs. roughness) using an artificial “bionic” fingertip surgically connected to nerves in his upper arm. The experimental system was developed by EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) and SSSA (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna).

“The stimulation felt almost like what I would feel with my hand,” says Sørensen. “I felt the texture sensations at the tip of… read more

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