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Simulated attack on the US power grid planned for Wednesday — Thursday

November 12, 2013

gridexii

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is quietly planning to launch a simulated attack on the U.S. power grid on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 13–14) called GridEx II, according to an unpublished document obtained by KurzweilAI from NERC.

The updated objectives for GridEx II are:

• Exercise the current readiness of the electricity industry to respond to a security incident, incorporating… read more

Bio patch can regrow bone for dental implants and craniofacial defects

November 11, 2013

Researchers at the University of Iowa have created a bio patch to regenerate missing or damaged bone. The patch has been shown to nearly fully regrow missing skull, seen in the image above. Image courtesy of Satheesh Elangovan.

Researchers at the University of Iowa have created a bio patch to regenerate missing or damaged bone by putting DNA into a nano-sized particle that delivers bone-producing instructions directly into cells via genes.

“This is the first study to use plasmid DNA encoding platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) for bone regeneration applications,” researcher Aliasger K. Salem, Ph.D. — a professor in the College of Pharmacy and a co-corresponding author on the… read more

$100 million gift launches Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UCSD

November 11, 2013

huma-ipsc-derived-neuron-deerinck

Businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has committed $100 million to the creation of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

The Sanford Center will accelerate development of drugs and cell therapies inspired by and derived from current human stem cell research; establishing, promoting and disseminating clinical trials and patient therapies that will help more quickly transform promise… read more

Worldwide annual solar PV installations will double by 2020, says report

November 10, 2013

Annual solar PV

Annual installations of new solar PV capacity will more than double in capacity by 2020, growing from a total 35.9 gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to 73.4 GW in 2020, according to a recent report from Navigant Research.

Despite waning government support, the threat of international trade wars, and high-profile bankruptcies, the solar photovoltaic (PV) market continues to grow, solar PV technology costs have steadily declined, and pathways… read more

Metallic 3D carbon discovered

New metallic structure may be stable at ambient temperature and pressure, with potential applications ranging from electronics and superconductivity to lightweight space materials
November 8, 2013

3D Metallic carbon with interlocking hexagons (credit: Qian Wang, Ph.D.)

A theoretical, three-dimensional (3D) form of carbon that is metallic under ambient temperature and pressure has been discovered by an international research team.

The search for this form of carbon has remained an ongoing challenge for scientists in the field.

Researchers from Peking University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics employed state-of-the-art theoretical methods to show that it is possible to manipulate carbon… 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

Monkeys move two virtual arms with their minds

November 8, 2013

Large-scale brain activity from a rhesus monkey was decoded and used to simultaneously control reaching movements of both arms of a virtual monkey avatar towards spherical objects in virtual reality (credit: Duke Center for Neuroengineering)

In a study led by Duke researchers, monkeys have learned to control the movement of both arms on an avatar using just their brain activity.

The findings advance efforts to develop bilateral movement in brain-controlled prosthetic devices for severely paralyzed patients.

To enable the monkeys to control two virtual arms, researchers recorded nearly 500 neurons from multiple areas in both cerebral hemispheres of the animals’ brains, the largest… read more

How to inkjet-print circuits at fraction of time and cost

November 8, 2013

A single-sided wiring pattern for an Arduino micro controller was printed on a transparent sheet of coated PET film.

A novel method to rapidly and cheaply 3D-print electrical circuits has been developed by researchers from Georgia Tech, the University of Tokyo, and Microsoft Research.

For about $300 in equipment costs, anyone can produce working electrical circuits in the 60 seconds it takes to print them using commodity inkjet printers and off-the-shelf materials.

Instant inkjet circuits

The technique, called instant inkjet circuits, allows for printing arbitrary-shaped conductors… read more

Self-correcting crystal may lead to the next generation of advanced communications

November 7, 2013

High magnification image of the new tunable dielectric material, taken with Cornell's scanning transmission electron microscope. The atomic structure resembles a brick wall in which the horizontal and vertical lines, the "mortar," are believed key to the performance of the material. (Credit: Ye Zhu/Muller group)

A five-year, multidisciplinary collaborative research effort based at Cornell has resulted in the world’s best material for tunable capacitors — broadly called a tunable dielectric, a special insulator whose ability to store electrical charge changes when a voltage is applied.

“This is a radically different material compared to what people have been using for decades,” said Darrell Schlom, the Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor of Industrial Chemistry at Cornell, who… read more

Just a few years of early musical training benefits the brain later in life

November 7, 2013

music changes

Older adults who took music lessons as children but haven’t actively played an instrument in decades have a faster brain response to a speech sound than individuals who never played an instrument, according to a  new study by Northwestern University researchers.

They found that the more years study participants spent playing instruments as youth, the faster their brains responded to a speech sound.

As people grow older, they… read more

An analog synaptic transistor with spike-timing-dependent plasticity learning

First of its kind brain-inspired device looks toward highly efficient and fast parallel computing
November 7, 2013

Synaptic-transistor-web

Materials scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have created a new type of neuromorphic transistor that mimics the behavior of a synapse. The novel device simultaneously modulates the flow of information in a circuit and physically adapts to changing signals.

Exploiting unusual properties in modern materials, the synaptic transistor could mark the beginning of a new kind of artificial intelligence:… read more

Southeast Asia’s first nanomedicine research institute gets $60 million funding

November 6, 2013

NTU is the world's largest engineering university

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is establishing the new $60 million Nanomedicine Institute@NTU to focus on applications of nanotechnology for diabetes, cardiovascular, ophthalmology, and skin therapeutics.

Set to be Southeast Asia’s first research institute in nanomedicine, the new institute will be headed by Professor Subbu Venkatraman, Chair of NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, with Professor Chad Mirkin from Northwestern University as the chairman of its advisory committee.… read more

Findings may lead to new tissue cryopreservation methods for grafts and organ transplantations

November 6, 2013

ice_between_cells

Researchers have gained new information about the processes that promote freezing of cells within tissues, which could ultimately lead to novel approaches for preventing tissue injury during cryopreservation, they report in the Nov. 5 issue of the Biophysical Journal (open access), a Cell Press publication.

Developing an efficient way to freeze and store living tissues could transform many aspects of medical care and research, but… read more

Tens of billions of potentially habitable, Earth-size planets in our galaxy, say astronomers

The nearest such planet may be within 12 light-years
November 6, 2013

Artist’s representation of the “habitable zone,” the range of orbits where liquid water is permitted on the surface of a planet. The authors find that 22% of Sun-like stars harbor a planet between one and two times the size of Earth in the habitable zone (credit: UC Berkeley)

One in five stars in our galaxy like the Sun have planets about the size of Earth and a surface temperature conducive to life, astronomers at UC Berkeley and University of Hawaii, Manoa now estimate.

The estimate was based on a statistical analysis of all the Kepler observations of NASA’s Kepler space telescope of the 200 billion stars in our galaxy.

Given that about… read more

Black holes found in globular star clusters, upsetting 40 years of theory

November 6, 2013

The black hole above was discovered in the M62 star cluster, which is 23,000 light years away from Earth. These star clusters contain some of the oldest stars in the galaxy. (Credit: Texas Tech University)

Astrophysicists have discovered another example of a black hole in a globular star cluster for a total of three, upsetting 40 years of theories against their possible existence.

Tom Maccarone, a Texas Tech University associate professor of physics, said globular star clusters are large groupings of stars thought to contain some of the oldest stars in the universe and could have… read more

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