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A Full-Color Screen That Bends

June 8, 2009
(Mark Martinez)

Bendy organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays employing amorphous silicon processes and tools (used to make today’s flat-panel LCD screens) have been developed by Arizona State University researchers.

The development brings bendable color video displays closer to being commercial products.

A future cochlear implant with no exterior hardware required

February 13, 2014

(Credit: M. Yip et al.)

A new low-power signal-processing chip that could lead to a cochlear implant that does not require external devices has been developed by researchers at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory (MTL), together with physicians from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI).

The chip uses the natural microphone of the middle ear rather than a skull-mounted microphone. The implant would be… read more

A future for drones: automated killing

September 21, 2011

An exercise in autonomous robotics with two model-size planes could presage the future of the American way of war: a day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans.

The automated, unpiloted planes worked on their own, with no human guidance, no hand on any control. After 20 minutes, one of the aircraft, carrying a computer that processed… read more

A Gaggle of Robot Movies

May 7, 2003

Robot movies coming out include The Matrix Reloaded (5/15), Terminator 3 (7/2), The Matrix Revolutions (11/11), and I, Robot (7/2/2004). Also next year, watch for Terminator 4, Robocop 4, StarTrek 11, Star Wars III, a Westworld remake, and yes, Tron 2.0.

A Garden of Robotic Delights

July 11, 2003

“The flowers in Cynthia Breazeal’s garden are like no blossoms you’ve ever seen. Fashioned of metal and silicon and embedded with electronic sensors, they are actually robots that react to light and body heat by bobbing, swaying, spinning and changing color….”

The Cyberflora Installation is now showing at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, through January 2004.

A geek’s guide to China’s Silicon Valley

December 28, 2011

china-map

Zhongguancun (in Beijing), China’s closest equivalent to Silicon Valley, is host to electronics super malls, research centers, publicly-listed tech giants, and hundreds of startups, and is surrounded by top universities.

Other up-and-coming hubs include Hangzhou, Shanghai, Dalian, Chengdu, and Xi’an.

See also: China’s parallel online universe

A gene for Alzheimer’s makes you smarter

February 17, 2010

Young people with a apolipoprotein E gene variant that increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s tend to be smarter, more educated and have better memories than their peers, Rush University Medical Center researchers have found.

A gene for forgetting

Could lead to new PTSD treatments
September 20, 2013

mit_memories_fade_away

A new study from MIT reveals a gene that is critical to the process of memory extinction (when older memories are replaced with new experiences).

Enhancing the activity of this gene, known as Tet1, might benefit people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by making it easier to replace fearful memories with more positive associations, says Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT’s… read more

A Genetic Fountain of Youth

October 2, 2009

By disabling a gene involved in an important biochemical signaling pathway involving a protein called target of rapamycin (TOR), scientists have discovered a way to mimic the anti-aging benefits of caloric restriction, allowing mice to live longer and healthier lives.

This finding offers a promising drug target for combating the many health problems associated with aging.

A Genetic Link for Vision Loss

August 28, 2008

Researchers from multiple institution have identified a genetic link associated with dry macular degeneration, which they say may lead to treatments for the debilitating disease.

A genetically engineered weight-loss implant

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner --- they're working on it
November 28, 2013

implantable_slimming_aid

ETH-Zurich biotechnologists have constructed an implantable genetic regulatory circuit that monitors blood-fat levels. In response to excessive levels, it produces a messenger substance that signals satiety (fullness) to the body. Tests on obese mice revealed that this helps them lose weight.

According to the WHO, over half the population in many industrialized nations is overweight, one in three people extremely so, with high-calorie and fatty food a lifetime on… read more

A genius explains

February 22, 2005

Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant who can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at breakneck speeds.

He can also describe how he does it. Now scientists are asking whether his exceptional abilities are the key to unlock the secrets of autism.

A Gentler Way to Jump-Start the Brain

May 19, 2008
(Brainsway)

An Israeli company called Brainsway has developed a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) method using multiple coils that stimulates areas deeper areas in the brain associated with depression and other neurological disorders, providing a possible treatment for patients with major depression who fail to respond to antidepressants.

Brainsway is designing different coils to tackle brain regions associated with other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, and drug… read more

A giant interneuron for ‘sparse coding’

May 16, 2011

Giant Interneuron

A single giant interneuron tracks in real time the activity of several tens of thousands of neurons in an olfactory center of a locust and feeds inhibition back to all of them to control their collective output, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt have discovered.

The researchers tested how neurons (Kenyon cells) in the insect brain’s mushroom bodies  respond with great… read more

A Giant Takes On Physics’ Biggest Questions

May 15, 2007

Physicists hope the Large Hadron Collider giant particle accelerator at Cern will recreate conditions that last prevailed when the universe was less than a trillionth of a second old.

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