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A brain-computer interface for controlling an exoskeleton

August 18, 2015

A volunteer calibrating the exoskeleton brain-computer interface (credit: (c) Korea University/TU Berlin)

Scientists at Korea University and TU Berlin have developed a brain-computer interface (BCI) for a lower limb exoskeleton used for gait assistance by decoding specific signals from the user’s brain.

Using an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap, the system allows users to move forward, turn left and right, sit, and stand, simply by staring at one of five flickering light emitting diodes (LEDs).… read more

A breakthrough in creating transparent brains

Provides new insights into Alzheimer’s disease plaques and enables large-scale connectomic mapping and 3D neural circuit reconstruction
September 15, 2015

This is a 3-D visualization of Aβ plaques (green) and blood vessels (red) in a region of cerebral cortex from a 20-month-old AD model mouse. (credit: RIKEN)

Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have created a new technique for converting brain tissue into transparent tissue to reveal 3D brain anatomy at very high resolution.

The researchers say they have used the new technique, called ScaleS, to provide new insights into Alzheimer’s disease plaques and for large-scale connectomic mapping and 3D neural circuit reconstruction.

Previous techniques, such as Stanford’s… read more

A Breakthrough in Imaging: Seeing a Virus in Three Dimensions

January 13, 2009

Researchers at IBM Almaden Research Center have captured the first three-dimensional image of a virus, using a new technique, magnetic resonance force microscopy, or MRFM, which is similar to MRI.

They captured a 3-D image of tobacco mosaic virus particles with a spatial resolution down to four nanometers.

A ‘breakthrough’ in rechargeable batteries for electronic devices and electric vehicles

February 26, 2015


Researchers from Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR and Quebec’s IREQ (Hydro-Québec’s research institute) have synthesized a new material that they say could more than double the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries, allowing for longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles and mobile devices.

The new material for battery cathodes (the + battery pole) in based on a “lithium orthosilicate-related” compound,  Li2MnSiO4, combining lithium, manganese, silicon and oxygen,… read more

A Bridge between Virtual Worlds

August 11, 2008

The first steps in developing virtual-world interoperability are now being tested between Second Life and other independent virtual worlds, with the launch of Linden Lab’s Open Grid Beta.

A bucket-full of this material can absorb all the oxygen in a room

The stored oxygen can be easily released again whenever and wherever needed
October 1, 2014

This exotic crystalline material changes color when absorbing or releasing oxygen. Crystals are black when saturated with oxygen and pink when the oxygen has been released. (Credit: University of Southern Denmark)

A new crystalline material absorbs 160 times more oxygen than in the air around you — only a spoonful bucket-full (10 liters) of it is enough to suck up all the oxygen in a room, according to its developer, Professor Christine McKenzie in the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Southern Denmark.

A few grains of this material might absorb enough oxygen from the… read more

A building block for optical quantum networks

February 8, 2013

Quantum device (credit: New Journal of Physics)

Another approach to creating optical quantum networks has been developed by Cal Tech, HP, and University of Washington researchers. (See The quantum internet,)

In an optical quantum network, information is carried between points by photons. It could enable quantum computers that are millions of times faster at solving certain problems than what we are used to today.

This new device, which combines a single… read more

A Business Out of Thin Air

August 4, 2003

HoloTouch has developed technology that allows users to operate equipment simply by passing a finger through a holographic image.

The system uses lasers and infrared sensors to create images that can be manipulated in the air.

A camera that peers around corners

March 22, 2012


MIT Media Lab researchers have developed a camera that can see around corners.

The system can produced recognizable 3-D images of a wooden figurine and of foam cutouts outside their camera’s line of sight.

The research could ultimately lead to imaging systems that allow emergency responders to evaluate dangerous environments or vehicle navigation systems that can negotiate blind turns, among other applications.

The principle behind the… read more

A cancer gene therapy activated by a pill

March 18, 2013


A unique new cancer treatment uses gene therapy to induce a cancer-fighting immune response whose intensity can then be controlled with a pill. The combination could help tailor treatment to a patient’s individual response, MIT Technology Review reports.

The treatment uses the body’s own cells or tumor cells to produce extra copies of a naturally occurring hormone-like molecule called IL-12, which regulates anticancer immune responses. Last week,… read more

A cardboard bike

October 18, 2012


Working from his garden shed, Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni has invented a $20 cardboard bike, says The Telegraph.

The solid tires are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires and some proprietary materials have been added for water protection and other purposes.

“This is a real game changer,” said Nimrod Elmish, Gafni’s business partner. ”It changes … the way products are manufactured and shipped, it causes factories to… read more

A caring robot with ‘emotion’ and memory

February 9, 2015

robot and elderly

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have developed a prototype of a social robot that supports independent living for the elderly, working in partnership with their relatives or carers.

Farshid Amirabdollahian, a senior lecturer in Adaptive Systems at the university, led a team of nine partner institutions from five European countries as part of the €4,825,492 project called ACCOMPANY (Acceptable Robotics Companions for Ageing Years).

“This… read more

A case of mistaken identity crisis

June 10, 2005

People afflicted with multiple personalities reveal that the idea of the self is a fiction.

The illusion of self is merely a by-product of the brain’s organizational sophistication.

Benjamin Libet conducted an experiment in which he found that the brain activity began about half a second before the person was aware of deciding to act. The conscious decision came far too late to be the cause of the… read more

A Casimir chip that exploits the vacuum energy

July 31, 2012

Casimir forces on parallel plates (credit: Emok/Wikipedia Commons)

University of Florida researchers have have developed a way to keep objects flat enough to measure the strange Casimir force, which pushes two parallel conducting plates together when they are just a few dozen nanometers apart,  Technology Review Physics arXiv Blog reports.

They carved a single device out of silicon that is capable of measuring the Casimir force between a pair of parallel silicon beams, the first on-chip… read more

A Catalyst for Cheaper Fuel Cells

April 3, 2009

Researchers at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in Quebec have dramatically increased the performance of an iron-based catalyst.

Their material produces 99 amps per cubic centimeter at 0.8 volts, a key measurement of catalytic activity. That is 35 times better than the best nonprecious metal catalyst so far, and close to the Department of Energy’s goal for fuel-cell catalysts: 130 amps per cubic centimeter.

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