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How to connect your home appliances to the Internet of Things

Is it really smart to connect smart grids to the Internet?
November 13, 2012


French startup SigFox thinks it can help usher in a second mobile Internet boom by connecting millions of low-power sensors worldwide to the Internet, MIT Technology Review reports.

SigFox is focused on connecting cheap sensors and “dumb” home appliances to the Internet. The goal is to make all kinds of appliances and infrastructure, from power grids to microwave ovens, smarter by letting them share data.… read more

Waterloo researchers create ‘world’s largest functioning model of the brain’

November 30, 2012

Serial working memory task (from movie)

A team of researchers from the University of Waterloo have built what the claim is the world’s largest simulation of a functioning brain.

The purpose is to help scientists understand how the complex activity of the brain gives rise to the complex behavior exhibited by animals, including humans.

The model is called Spaun (Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network). It consists of 2.5… read more

New tech could have helped police locate shooters in Dallas

Chinese traffic police already testing system
July 7, 2016

(credit: Fox News)

JULY 8, 3:56 AM EDT — Livestreamed data from multiple users with cell phones and other devices could be used to help police locate shooters in a situation like the one going on right now in Dallas, says Jon Fisher, CEO of San Francisco-based CrowdOptic.

Here’s how it would work: You view (or record a video of) a shooter with your phone. Your location and… read more

Why Google’s self-driving car may save lives — if all cars are computer-driven

May 11, 2012


The technology behind Google’s self-driving car represents a potential leap forward in auto safety.

More than 30,000 people are killed each year in crashes despite huge advances in auto safety. The overwhelming majority of those crashes are caused by human-driver error.

Computer driven cars could reduce traffic deaths by a very significant degree, said David Champion, head of auto testing at Consumer Reports, but only if all cars are… 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

Future farming to be based on robots and big data

March 9, 2015

QUT's AgBot II (credit: QUT)

The farm of the future will involve multiple lightweight, small, autonomous, energy-efficient machines (AgBots) operating collectively to weed, fertilize and control pest and diseases, while collecting vasts amount of data to enable better management decision making,” according to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) robotics Professor Tristan Perez.

“We are starting to see automation in agriculture for single processes such as animal and crop drone… read more

Panetta warns of dire threat of cyberattack on US

October 12, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned Thursday that the United States was facing the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” and was increasingly vulnerable to foreign computer hackers who could dismantle the nation’s power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government, The New York Times reports.

He said he was reacting to increasing aggressiveness… read more

New brain gene gives us edge over apes

November 15, 2012


An international team led by the University of Edinburgh has discovered a new gene called miR-941 that helps explain how humans evolved evolved from apes by playing a crucial role in human brain development, and may shed light on how we learned to use tools and language.

The researchers say it is the first time that a new gene — carried only by humans and not by apes —… 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

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

First fully 3D-printed gun test-fired

May 7, 2013


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.”


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

“ANA AVATAR” selected as a top-prize concept at XPRIZE Visioneers 2016 Summit

October 6, 2016

(credit: ANA)

A concept for remote-controlled “avatar” humanoid robots, presented by ANA, Japan’s largest airline, was named one of the three “top prize concept” finalists at XPRIZE’s recent inaugural Visioneers event.

The ANA AVATAR Team, led by scientist Harry Kloor, PhD, presented an ambitious vision of a future in which human pilots would hear, see, talk, touch, and feel as if a humanoid robotic body were their own —… read more

3D printing lowers environmental impact, says study

October 5, 2013


Making things at home on a 3D printer uses less energy — and therefore releases less carbon dioxide — than producing it in a factory and shipping it to a warehouse.

That’s according to a study led by Joshua Pearce, an associate professor of materials science and engineering/electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University.

The team conducted life-cycle impact analyses on three products:… read more

Could we build a 20-kilometer-high space tower?

September 12, 2012

(NASA MSFC, Artist Pat Rawling)

Science-fiction novelist Neal Stephenson imagines a 20-kilometer-high steel tower that reaches into the stratosphere.

From that height, planes could save fuel by docking at the tower rather than landing, and space missions could do the same by launching from it.

Stephenson is teaming up with a structural engineer, Keith Hjelmstad at Arizona State University (ASU), to work out how to actually build the tower, New Scientist reports.… read more

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