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A tool to make the Internet of Things safer

June 4, 2014

Is your car hackable? Cadillac XTS instrument panel (Credit: General Motors)

Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a tool that allows hardware designers and system builders to test security — a first for the field.

One of the tool’s potential uses is described in the May–June issue of IEEE Micro magazine.

“The stakes in hardware security are high,” said Ryan Kastner, a professor of computer science at the… read more

First fully 2D field-effect transistor

May lead to faster electronic devices
June 4, 2014

Berkeley Lab researchers fabricated the first fully 2D field-effect transistor from layers of molybdenum disulfide, hexagonal boron nitride and graphene held together by van der Waals bonding (credit: Berkeley Lab)

Faster electronic device architectures are in the offing with the unveiling of the world’s first fully two-dimensional field-effect transistor (FET) by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

Unlike conventional FETs made from silicon, these 2D (planar) FETs suffer no performance drop-off under high voltages and provide high electron mobility, even when scaled down to a single layer in thickness.

The 2D… read more

Electrical ‘mind control’ shown in primates for first time

'Free choice' in primates can be altered with brain stimulation
June 4, 2014

Visual cues used in preference test (credit: John T. Arsenault et al./Current Biology)

In an update to the legendary Jose Delgado experiment (see video below), researchers Wim Vanduffel and John Arsenault (KU Leuven and Massachusetts General Hospital) changed a monkey’s preferences for an image by stimulating a part of the brain called the ventral tegmental area (VTA) with electrical pulses

The VTA is located in the midbrain and helps regulate learning and reinforcement in the brain’s reward system. It produces… read more

A fuel cell for the home

June 3, 2014

Production of the cell stacks at the Fraunhofer IKTS (credit: Fraunhofer IKTS)

A simple fuel cell for home use has been developed by Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Germany and heater manufacturer Vaillant.

With an output of one kilowatt, they cover the average current consumption for a four-person household.

Fuel cells convert natural gas directly into electrical energy. They are many times more efficient than are combustion engines, such as the car engine.… read more

The brain may be able to repair itself from within, Duke researchers discover

June 3, 2014

In this artist's representation of the adult subependymal neurogenic niche (viewed from underneath the ependyma), electrical signals generated by the ChAT+ neuron give rise to newborn migrating neuroblasts, seen moving over the underside of ependymal cells ( credit: O’Reilly Science Art)

Duke researchers have found a new type of neuron in the adult brain that is capable of telling stem cells to make more new neurons.

Neuroscientists have suspected for some time that the brain has some capacity to direct the manufacturing of new neurons, but it was difficult to determine where these instructions are coming from, explains Chay Kuo, M.D. Ph.D., an assistant professor of… read more

Affordable precision 3D printing for pros

June 3, 2014

A user works away on Formlabs' Form 1 3-D printer and PreForm software (credit: Formlabs)

The team at Formlabs, a MIT Media Lab spinout, has invented a high-resolution 3-D laser printer, called the Form 1, that’s viewed as an affordable option (about $3,300) for professional users.

The desktop printer — standing about a foot high and weighing about 20 pounds — runs on stereolithography, a fabrication technique usually reserved for massive machines that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.… read more

Raptor robot runs at 28.58 mph, faster than any human

June 2, 2014

Raptor

Inspired by dinosaurs, Raptor is a fast-running biped robot developed by the MSC Lab at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). It has two under-actuated legs and a tail inspired by velociraptors, providing stability over high obstacles.

The Raptor robot runs at a speed of 46 km/h (28.58 mph) on a treadmill with off-board power. That’s faster than the fastest human, the Olympic… read more

Self-assembling printable robotic components

June 2, 2014

MITnews_BakableRobots

Printable robotic components that, when heated, automatically self-assemble into prescribed three-dimensional configurations have been developed by MIT researchers.

Printable robots that can be assembled from parts produced by 3-D printers have long been a topic of research in the lab of Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT.

The printable robotic components are… read more

Teleporting information achieved by TU Delft

A key step toward a "quantum internet"
June 2, 2014

(Credit: TU Delft)

Teleporting people through space, as in Star Trek, is impossible by the laws of physics, but researchers at TU Delft‘s Kavli Institute of Nanoscience have succeeded in teleporting information.

Using quantum entanglement, they transferred the information contained in a quantum bit in a diamond to a quantum bit in another diamond three meters away, without the information having traveled through the intervening space.

The… read more

A wakeup call: what exactly should we do about near-Earth objects?

June 1, 2014

NEOs booklet

The February 2013 event near Chelyabinsk, Russia “has sparked a realization that the incoming rate of small space rocks may be much higher than previously thought, and their impact greater than previously thought,” according to Near-Earth Objects: Responding to the International Challenge, an open-access booklet just published by Secure World Foundation.

The booklet is the first to both bring together the reviews of the… read more

‘Nanodaisies’ deliver more powerful drug cocktail to cancer cells

May 30, 2014

Early tests of the “nanodaisy” drug delivery technique show promise against a number of cancers (credit: Ran Mo)

Nanoscale flower-like structures that can introduce a “cocktail” of multiple drugs into cancer cells have been developed by biomedical engineering researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We found that this technique was much better than conventional drug-delivery techniques at inhibiting the growth of lung cancer tumors in mice,” says Dr. Zhen Gu, senior author of the paper and… read more

A research agenda for potential ecological risks of synthetic biology

May 30, 2014

synbio7

Environmental scientists and synthetic biologists have developed the first list of key research areas to study the potential ecological impacts of synthetic biology, which could create organisms that transcend common evolutionary pathways.

The Synthetic Biology Project at the Wilson Center and the Program on Emerging Technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology convened the interdisciplinary group of scientists released the report, Creating aread more

How to make robots and self-driving cars think faster

May 30, 2014

A visual odometry algorithm uses low-latency brightness change events from a Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS) and the data from a normal camera to provide absolute brightness values. The left photograph shows the camera frame, and the right photograph shows the DVS events (displayed in red and blue) plus grayscale from the camera. (Credit: A.C. and Davide Scaramuzza)

Andrea Censi, a research scientist in MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, has developed a new type of camera sensor system that can take measurements a million times a second.

The new system combines a Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS) ) (to rapidly detect changes in luminance) with a conventional CMOS-camera sensor (to provide the absolute brightness values, or grayscale values).

An… read more

Google’s self-driving car prototype: no steering wheel, brake, or accelerator

May 30, 2014

Google car

Google is exploring what fully self-driving vehicles would look like without a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal. “Our software and sensors do all the work,” says the company.

The early prototypes have sensors that remove blind spots, and can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions, which is especially helpful on busy streets with lotsread more

Supersonic spray creates high-quality graphene layer

Could lead to Industrial-scale applications
May 29, 2014

Supersonic spray

A simple, inexpensive spray method that deposits a graphene film can heal manufacturing defects and produce a high quality graphene layer on a range of substrates, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Korea University — an alternative to the chemical vapor deposition process developed by MIT and the University of Michigan for creating large sheets of graphene, recently reported by KurzweilAI.… read more

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