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New microbatteries a boost for electronics

April 19, 2013

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) cross-section of the interdigitated electrodes spanning two<br />
periods. The interdigitated electrodes alternate between anode and cathode. The insets show the magnified electrodes with the nickel scaffold coated<br />
with nickel–tin on the left and lithiated manganese oxide on the right. Scale bars, 50mm and 1mm in the insets. (Credit: Nature Communications)

New microbatteries developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, out-power even the best supercapacitors and could drive new applications in radio communications and compact electronics.

“This is a whole new way to think about batteries,”  said William P. King, the Bliss Professor of mechanical science and engineering. “A battery can [now] deliver far more power than anybody ever thought.… read more

How Obama was dangerously naive about STUXNET and cyberwarfare

June 4, 2012

Stuxnet

A Times exposé suggests that the White House failed to consider how our own cyberweapons would be used against us, Technology Review Mims’s Bits reports.

If the New York Timescomprehensive account of the birth of the STUXNET worm that slowed Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium tells us anything, it’s that the Obama administration was remarkably naive about the potential for the proliferation of the… read more

Wi-Fi signal used to track moving humans — even behind walls

July 3, 2013

(credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

‘Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.are developing a system called “Wi-Vi” that transmits a low-power Wi-Fi signal and uses its reflections to track moving humans — even if they are in closed rooms or hiding behind a wall.

How it works

The researchers borrowed a technique called inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR), which has been… read more

Wireless device converts ‘lost’ microwave energy into electric power

November 8, 2013

Power harvesting split-ring resonator

Using inexpensive materials configured and tuned to capture microwave signals, researchers at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering have designed a power-harvesting device with efficiency similar to that of modern solar panels.

The device wirelessly converts a microwave signal to direct current voltage that is capable of recharging a cell phone battery or other small electronic device.

It operates on a principle similar to… read more

How teachers’ myths about the brain are hampering teaching

October 17, 2014

Photographs of the left and right midsagittal sections of Einstein’s brain with original labels (Falk et al., 2013), reproduced here with permission from the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Silver Spring, MD. The red circles indicate two breaches on each<br />
hemisphere of Einstein’s corpus callosum that have different shapes, which may have been introduced when the two hemispheres were<br />
separated in 1955.

Teachers in the UK, Holland, Turkey, Greece and China were presented with seven “neuromyths” and asked whether they believe them to be true.

A quarter or more of teachers in the UK and Turkey believe a student’s brain would shrink if they drank less than six to eight glasses of water a day, while around half or more of those surveyed believe a student’s brain is only 10 per… read more

Google Glass update

January 2, 2013

google_glass

Summary of an IEEE Spectrum report

In the next few weeks, Google will start shipping its Google Glass to developers. More-polished consumer models are expected in 2014.

Details about Glass are still sketchy but here’s what we know:

  • The lightweight browband, which looks like an ordinary pair of reading glasses minus the lenses, connects to an earpiece that has much the same electronics you’d

read more

First fully 3D-printed gun test-fired

May 7, 2013

liberator_1

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson has test-fired the world’s first fully 3D-printed gun — “the Liberator.”

The CAD file is downloadable* at DEFCAD, operated by Defense Distributed — a “makeshift response to Makerbot Industries’ decision to censor files uploaded in good faith at Thingiverse, specifically firearms-related files.”

More

Meet The ‘Liberator’: Test-Firing The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Gunread more

When machines do your job

Researcher Andrew McAfee says advances in computing and artificial intelligence could create a more unequal society
July 13, 2012

race_against_the_machine

Are American workers losing their jobs to machines?

That was the question posed by Race Against the Machine, an influential e-book published last October by MIT business school researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

The pair looked at troubling U.S. employment numbers — which have declined since the recession of 2008-2009 even as economic output has risen — and concluded that computer technology was… read more

Bitcoin network speed 8 times faster than top 500 supercomputers combined

May 13, 2013

bitcoin

The mining speed of the bitcoin network on bitcoinwatch.com passed 1 exaFLOPS (1,000 petaFLOPS) this week — more than 8* times the combined speed of the Top 500 supercomputers, according to The Genesis Block.

(FLOPS stands for FLoating-point Operations Per Second, and is frequently used as a standard to measure computer speed.)

However, that calculation was based on 2011 supercomputer data and it’s not… read more

BigBrain: an ultra-high-resolution 3D roadmap of the human brain

June 21, 2013

BigBrain (credit: Montreal Neurological Institute and Forschungszentrum Jülich)

A landmark three-dimensional (3-D) digital reconstruction of a complete human brain, called the BigBrain, shows for the first time the brain anatomy in microscopic detail — at a spatial resolution of 20 microns, smaller than the size of one fine strand of hair — exceeding that of existing reference brains presently in the public domain.

The new tool is made freely available to the broader scientific community to advance… read more

Psychotherapy via Internet found as good as or better than face-to-face

July 31, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Online psychotherapy is just as efficient as conventional therapy, University of Zurich clinical researchers have found in a study of online psychotherapy vs. conventional face-to-face therapy.

And three months after the end of the therapy, patients given online treatment even displayed fewer symptoms.

Six therapists treated 62 patients, the majority of whom were suffering from moderate depression. The patients were divided into two equal groups… read more

Possible breakthrough using graphene for solar cells

Graphene retains its exceptional conductivity and transparency when coated with silicon film
October 14, 2013

graphene_on_glass_substrate

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) Institute for Silicon Photovoltaics have shown that graphene retains its impressive set of properties when it is coated with a thin silicon film.

These findings may allow for entirely new possibilities to use graphene in thin-film photovoltaics.

Graphene has extreme conductivity and is completely transparent while being inexpensive and nontoxic. This would makes it a perfect candidate material… read more

Longevity gene that makes Hydra immortal also controls human aging

November 14, 2012

hydra_kiel

Why is the polyp Hydra immortal? Researchers from Kiel University decided to study it — and unexpectedly discovered a link to aging in humans.

The study carried out by  together with the Keil University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH)

The tiny freshwater polyp Hydra does not show any signs of aging and is potentially immortal. There is a rather simple biological explanation for this: these animals exclusively reproduceread more

Slowing down the aging process by ‘remote control’

September 10, 2014

Activating a gene called AMPK in the nervous system induces the anti-aging cellular recycling process of autophagy in both the brain and intestine. Activating AMPK in the intestine leads to increased autophagy in both the intestine and brain. Matthew Ulgherait, David Walker and UCLA colleagues showed that this 'inter-organ' communication during aging can substantially prolong the healthy lifespan of fruit flies. (Credit: Matthew Ulgherait/UCLA)

UCLA biologists have identified a gene that can slow the aging process throughout the entire body when activated remotely in key organ systems.

Working with fruit flies, the life scientists activated a gene called AMPK that is a key energy sensor in cells; it gets activated when cellular energy levels are low.

Increasing the amount of AMPK in fruit flies’ intestines increased their lifespans by about 30 percent… read more

Omega-3 improves working memory in healthy young adults

October 31, 2012

Lovaza

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have determined that healthy young adults ages 18–25 can improve their working memory by increasing their Omega-3 fatty acid intake.

Before they began taking the supplements, all participants were asked to perform a working memory test in which they were shown a series of letters and numbers. The young adults had to keep track of what appeared one, two,… read more

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