Recently Added Most commented

Human-skin discovery suggests new anti-aging treatments

March 4, 2016

human skin ft

For the first time, researchers have reported decreases in levels of a key molecule in aging human skin, which could lead to developing new anti-aging treatments and screening new compounds.

Scientists have known for some time that major structures in the cell called mitochondria (which generate and control most of the cell’s supply of energy) are somehow involved in aging, but the exact role of the mitochondria… read more

Converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into carbon nanotubes for use in batteries

March 4, 2016

CO2 to CNTs ft

The electric vehicle of the future will be carbon negative (reducing the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide) not just carbon neutral (not adding CO2 to the atmosphere), say researchers at Vanderbilt University and George Washington University (GWU).

The trick: replace graphite electrodes in lithium-ion batteries (used in electric vehicles) with carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers recovered from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The new technology… read more

How to trigger self-powered mechanical movement

Could be used for detecting substances, moving particles to build small structures, and delivering medications
March 3, 2016


A new way to use the chemical reactions of certain enzymes to trigger self-powered mechanical movement has been developed by a team of researchers at Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh.

These enzyme micropumps could be used for detecting substances, moving particles to build small structures, and delivering medications.

“One potential use is the release of insulin to a diabetes patient from a reservoir at a… read more

Stretchable electronics that can quadruple in length

Ideal for prosthetics or robot skin
March 3, 2016

Intrinsically stretchable biphasic gold–gallium thin films. Picture of a biphasic gold–gallium film patterned by photolithography with critical dimension of 100 μm on a 40 μm thick poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) elastomer membrane. Scale bar: 5 mm; Inset scale bar: 500 μm. (credit: Arthur Hirsch et al./Advanced Materials)

EPFL researchers have developed films with conductive tracks just several hundreds of nanometers thick that can be bent and stretched up to four times their original length. They could be used in artificial skin, connected clothing, and on-body sensors.

Instead of bring printed on a board, the tracks are almost as flexible as rubber and can be stretched up to four times their original length and in… read more

Monkeys learn to drive wheelchairs with their thoughts

Goal is to enable severely paralyzed patients to one day become mobile
March 3, 2016

monkey drives wheelchair ft

Duke Health neuroscientists have developed a brain-machine interface (BMI) that allows monkeys to steer a robotic wheelchair with their thoughts.

The BMI uses signals from hundreds of neurons recorded simultaneously in two regions of the monkeys’ brains that are involved in movement and sensation. As the animals think about moving toward their goal — in this case, a bowl containing fresh grapes — computers translate their brain… read more

First ‘natural machine’ augmented reality product Meta 2 launches to developers

Iron Man meets Princess Leia
March 2, 2016

Meta 2 (credit: Meta)

Last month, Meta CEO Meron Gribetz wowed TED with a sneak peak at the company’s new Meta 2 augmented-reality product. Today, Meta announced that the Meta 2 Development Kit is now available for pre-orders.

Meta 2′s Iron-Man-like immersive functionality appears similar to Hololens and Magic Leap, but with a wider 90-degree field of view, 2560 x 1440 high-DPI display, and natural hand-controlled operation.

Metaread more

‘Fingerprinting’ and neural nets could help protect power grid, other industrial systems

Scenario: Terrorists have just hacked into the U.S. electrical grid and sent false data or malicious commands to destroy a remote electrical substation, turning off power to a city...
March 1, 2016

power substation ft

Georgia Tech researchers have developed a device fingerprinting technique that could improve the security of the electrical grid and other industrial systems.

“The stakes are extremely high; the systems are very different from home or office computer networks,” said Raheem Beyah, an associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The networked systems controlling the U.S.… read more

Should you trust a robot in emergencies?

Subjects show blind obedience to a broken-down robot in a experiment with a mock fire
March 1, 2016

Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) Research Engineer Paul Robinette adjusts the arms of the “Rescue Robot,” which was built to study issues of trust between humans and robots. (credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech)

In a finding reminiscent of the bizarre Stanford prison experiment, subjects in an experiment blindly followed a robot in a mock building-fire emergency — even when it led them into a dark room full of furniture and they were told the robot had broken down.

The research was designed to determine whether or not building occupants would trust a robot designed to help them evacuate a high-rise… read more

How predicting Shakespeare’s writing could improve our understanding of natural language

March 1, 2016


A Google natural language understanding research group led by Ray Kurzweil is building software systems that can understand natural language at a human level. The goal is to understand and interpret meanings of spoken or written language.

One key to achieving that understanding is establishing context, suggest researchers Chris Tar; Marc Pickett, PhD.; and Brian Strope, PhD., on the Google Research Blog.

For example, take the… read more

Futurists worldwide celebrate ‘Future Day’ March 1st

To be hosted online by the Millennium Project
February 29, 2016

Future_Day_2016 ft

Today, March 1, five international futurist organizations will conduct a 24-hour global online conversation about the world’s potential futures, challenges, and opportunities. The objective is to support humanity in thinking about a more positive future.

Already started in New Zealand, the conversation is moving across the world with people entering and leaving the conversation whenever they want. The five organizations (The Millennium Project; the Association of Professional Futurists; “Science,… read more

Engineered swarmbots rely on peers for survival

Could be used as a safeguard to stop genetically modified organisms from escaping into the wild
February 29, 2016

Design and modeling of safeguard control in microbial swarmbots. Design concept. Bacteria are engineered to exhibit collective survival. Bacteria confined in the microbial swarmbot can maintain a high local density and survive. Cells escaping the swarmbot will have a reduced density due to a larger extra-capsule environment. If their density drops below their survival threshold, they will die, leading to safeguard control. (credit: Shuqiang Huang et al./Molecular Systems Biology)

Duke University researchers have engineered microbes as “swarmbots” designed to only survive in a crowd.

The system could be used as a safeguard to stop genetically modified organisms (created with tools such as CRISPR) from escaping into the surrounding environment.

Collective survival

“Other labs have addressed this issue by making cells rely on unnatural amino acids for survival or by introducing a ‘kill switch’ that… read more

Engineered ‘mini-organs’ produce insulin in mice

Harvard scientists are now working on "mini-stomachs" with insulin-producing cells as a diabetes treatment
February 29, 2016

A section of the gastric mini-organ engineered to produce insulin-secreting cells, with immunofluorescent staining. This image shows many induced insulin-producing cells (red) present in the mini-organ. Gastric stem and progenitor cells (green) are detected at the base of the glands. Cell nuclei labeled in blue. (credit: Chaiyaboot Ariyachet)

Harvard University scientists have made major progress in dealing with a long-standing hurdle in treating diabetic patients.

People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their pancreatic beta cells (which store and release insulin) are not producing enough insulin. In type 1 diabetes (“juvenile diabetes”), the beta cells are even destroyed. In most cases, physicians treat type 1 diabetes with insulin injections, but people with complications may… read more

A practical solution to mass-producing low-cost nanoparticles

February 26, 2016

Nanoparticles form in a 3-D-printed microfluidic channel. Each droplet shown here is about 250 micrometers in diameter, and contains billions of platinum nanoparticles. (credit: Richard Brutchey and Noah Malmstadt/USC)

USC researchers have created an automated method of manufacturing nanoparticles that may transform the process from an expensive, painstaking, batch-by-batch process by a technician in a chemistry lab, mixing up a batch of chemicals by hand in traditional lab flasks and beakers.

Consider, for example, gold nanoparticles. Their ability to slip through the cell’s membrane makes them ideal delivery devices for medications to healthy cells, or fatal… read more

Quantum dot solids: a new era in electronics?

February 26, 2016

Connecting the dots: Playing 'LEGO' at the atomic scale to build atomically coherent quantum dot solids. (credit: Kevin Whitham, Cornell University)

Just as the single-crystal silicon wafer forever changed the nature of communication 60 years ago, Cornell researchers hope their work with quantum dot solids — crystals made out of crystals — can help usher in a new era in electronics.

The team has fashioned two-dimensional superstructures out of single-crystal building blocks. Using a pair of chemical processes, the lead-selenium nanocrystals are synthesized into larger crystals, then fused together… read more

The case of the silent synapses: Why are only 20% of synapses active during neurotransmission?

Unknown information coding in the brain?
February 26, 2016


Columbia University scientists recently tested a new optical technique to study how information is transmitted in the brains of mice and made a surprising discovery: When stimulated electrically to release dopamine (a neurotransmitter or chemical released by neurons, or nerve cells, to send signals to other nerve cells), only about 20 percent of synapses — the connections between cells that control brain activity —… read more

close and return to Home