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A 1km-high inflatable solar-energy chimney

December 6, 2013


Per Lindstrand, the engineer who broke numerous ballooning records with Richard Branson, is hoping to develop a 1km-tall inflatable chimney that can capture energy from the sun, The Engineer reports.

The tower uses rising air heated by the sun to drive turbines. It could provide an alternative to photovoltaic generation in remote areas of seismic activity where maintenance of power lines or solar panels would be difficult.… read more

A 25-Year Battery

November 17, 2009

Betavoltaics, batteries that harvest energy from the nuclear decay of isotopes to produce very low levels of current and last for decades without needing to be replaced, are being developed by Widetronix.

A 3,000-vehicle test of wireless crash-avoidance system

August 22, 2012


Tuesday’s launch of a new year-long test of “smart car” technology conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute is designed to save lives and reduce injuries among American motorists.

The researchers plan to install wireless communication devices on nearly 3,000 vehicles that will let passenger cars, commercial trucks, and transit buses “talk” to each other, as well as to traffic lights and other… read more

A 3-D human ‘organoid’ brain in a dish

Growing a miniature brain from cell scrapings could help diagnose brain disorders in the future, Gattaca-style
June 12, 2015

Neurons and supporting cells in the spheroids form layers and organize themselves according to the architecture of the developing human brain and network with each other. (credit: Sergiu Pasca, M.D., Stanford University)

Sergiu Pasca, M.D., of Stanford University and colleagues have developed “human cortical spheroids” — miniature cultured 3-D structures that grow and function much like the cortex of the brain of the person from whom they were derived.

These “organoids” (3-D complexes of cells that function like an organ) buzz with neuronal network activity. Cells talk with each other in circuits, much as they do in our brains.… read more

A 3-D View of the Brain

August 6, 2007

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital have developed software that integrates data from multiple imaging technologies to create an interactive 3-D map of the brain.

The new imaging software collates data from different types of brain-imaging methods, including conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI (fMRI), and diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI). The MRI gives details on the anatomy, fMRI provides information on the activated areas of the brain, and DTI… read more

A $3.5 Billion Effort Aims to Help Tech Start-Ups

February 24, 2010

In an initiative called the Invest in America Alliance, Intel and 24 venture capital firms plan to invest $3.5 billion in American start-ups over the next two years.

In addition, Intel, Google, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and 13 other employers pledged to add jobs in 2010, by hiring 10,500 graduates of American colleges, largely those with computer science and engineering degrees.

Fewer than 10 percent of college graduates in… read more

A $35 Android tablet

October 6, 2011

Aakash (credit:

The Indian government is buying 100,000 Android tablets named “Aakash” (Hindi for “Sky”), build in India by UK company DataWind, and priced at $35 (for students, $60 for others), says ZDNet India IT blog. It will be available in November.


  • 7” Resistive touch screen (800×480)
  • Processor: 366 Mhz with Graphics accelerator and HD Video processor
  • Memory (RAM): 256MB RAM
  • Storage (Internal):

read more

A 36-core chip design with an Internet-style communication network

Chips of the future will resemble little Internets
June 27, 2014

The MIT researchers' new 36-core chip is "tiled," meaning that it simply repeats the same circuit layout 36 times. Tiling makes multicore chips much easier to design (Credit: Bhavya K. Daya et al.)

The more cores — or processing units — a computer chip has, the bigger the problem of communication between cores becomes.

Now, Li-Shiuan Peh, the Singapore Research Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, speaking at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture, hasread more

A 360-degree view of the world

Paranoids alert
December 13, 2012


Have you ever dreamed of having eyes in the back of your head?

Yeah, we haven’t either, but FlyVIZ, designed by French engineers, lets you experience a real-time 360° vision of your surroundings. It combines a panoramic image acquisition system (positioned on top of the your head) with a head-mounted display (HMD) and a laptop for transforming the fly-eye images in real time into something humans can… read more

A 3D image of an individual protein

January 26, 2012


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists have created detailed models of a single protein using electron microscopic images.

Scientists routinely create models of proteins using X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, and conventional cryo-electron microscope (cryoEM) imaging. But these models require computer “averaging” of data from analysis of thousands, or even millions of like molecules, because it is so difficult to resolve the features of… read more

A 3D light switch for the brain

New device for delivering light to individual neurons could one day help treat Parkinson's disease, epilepsy; aid understanding of consciousness, how memories form
November 21, 2012

Optical image of the 3-D array with individual light ports illuminated. The array looks like a series of fine-toothed combs laid next to each other with their teeth pointing in the same direction. (Credit: A.N. Zorzos et al./Optics Letters)

A new fiber-optic device created by MIT biologists and engineers is the first tool that can deliver 1000 precise points of light to a 3D section of living brain tissue matter smaller than a sugar cube.

This is a step forward for a technique called optogenetics, which uses gene treatments to turn individual brain cells on and off with light.

Scientists can use this new 3D… 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

A ’3D printer’ for customized small molecules such as drugs

March 12, 2015

3D Printer for Small Molecules1

Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists have developed a simpler way to synthesize small molecules, eliminating a major bottleneck in creating new medicines.

As the scientists note in the March 13, 2015, issue of the journal Science, “small-molecule syntheses typically employ strategies and purification methods that are highly customized for each target, thus requiring automation solutions to be developed [inefficiently] on an ad hoc basis.”

According to Martin Burke, an… read more

A 3D printer for making soft, cuddly stuff

April 30, 2014


A new type of 3D printer developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh can turn raw wool and wool blend yarns into fabric objects that people might enjoy touching.

The device, which looks like a cross between a 3D printer and a sewing machine, produces 3D objects made of loose felt,  such as clothing, hat, and Teddy bears. It also might be used… 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

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