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Ordered carbon-nanotube design may increase conductivity of solar cells by 100 million times

Also expected to lower number of expensive carbon nanotubes required by a factor of 100
April 2, 2014

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Controlled placement of carbon nanotubes in nanostructures could result in a huge boost in electronic performance in photovoltaic solar cells, researchers at Umeå University in Sweden have discovered.

KurzweilAI has reported on a number of recent research projects using carbon nanotubes as a replacement for silicon to improve the performance of solar cells. However, according to Umeå University researchers, the projects have found that the nanotubes… read more

Disruptions: next step for technology is becoming the background

July 10, 2012

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The invention of the motion picture enabled visual storytelling and at a mass scale unimaginable before.

The equivalent to that moment is happening right now with the advent of wearable computing. These wearable technologies like Google’s glasses that project information right where a person is looking will have the same effect on smartphones and computers as… read more

Musk teases Tesla superchargers

September 14, 2012

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Prospective Alzheimer’s drug builds new brain-cell connections

October 12, 2012

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Washington State University researchers have developed a new drug candidate that dramatically improves the cognitive function of rats with Alzheimer’s-like mental impairment.

Their compound, which is intended to repair brain damage that has already occurred, is a significant departure from current Alzheimer’s treatments, which either slow the process of cell death or inhibit cholinesterase, an enzyme believed to break down a key neurotransmitter involved in… read more

Facebook acquires Oculus VR

March 26, 2014

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“We started Oculus VR with a vision of delivering incredible, affordable, and ubiquitous consumer virtual reality to the world,” said Oculus VR in a public statement.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 18 months: from foam core prototypes built in a garage to an incredible community of active and talented developers with more than 75,000 development kits ordered.

“In the process, we’ve… read more

Asteroid deflection mission seeks smashing ideas

January 16, 2013

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A space rock several hundred meters across is heading towards our planet and the last-ditch attempt to avert a disaster — an untested mission to deflect it — fails.

This fictional scene of films and novels could well be a reality one day. So the European Space Agency (ESA) is appealing for research ideas to help guide the development of a U.S.-European asteroid deflection mission… read more

The Human Race to the Future: What Could Happen — and What to Do

July 8, 2013

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The Human Race to the Future: What Could Happen — and What to Do, by Dr. Daniel Berleant (388 pages), the first book published by the Lifeboat Foundation, is available free (Kindle version) to KurzweilAI readers on July 8 as a one-day promo.

A non-fiction book verging on science fiction, its imaginative future scenarios include colonizing the planet Mercury (it has water at the poles), GPS-enabled… read more

The world’s largest domed city

Will include a 3 million sq. ft. wellness zone with rejuvenation services
July 15, 2014

Image from the planned Mall of the World. (credit: Dubai Holding)

Dubai Holding plans to build the world’s largest domed city: Mall of the World, in Dubai. The temperature-controlled city (also a first) will occupy a total area of 48 million square feet — the largest indoor theme park in the world. It will be covered by a glass dome that will be open during the winter months.

The project will also house the largest shopping mall in the world,… read more

Is the ‘quantum singularity’ near?

January 18, 2013

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Four research groups have announced progress on a quantum-computing proposal made two years ago by MIT researchers.

In early 2011, two theoretical computer scientists at MIT proposed an optical experiment that would harness the weird laws of quantum mechanics to perform a computation impossible on conventional computers.

Commenting at the time, Terry Rudolph, a quantum-computing researcher at Imperial College London said that the experiment… read more

The speed of light in a vacuum may not be a constant after all

Ephemeral vacuum particles induce speed-of-light fluctuations
April 25, 2013

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Two European Physical Journal D papers challenge established wisdom about the nature of vacuum.

In one paper, Marcel Urban from the University of Paris-Sud and colleagues identified a quantum-level mechanism for interpreting vacuum as being filled with pairs of virtual particles with fluctuating energy values.

As a result, the inherent characteristics of vacuum, such as the speed of light, may not be a constant… read more

DARPA’s Cheetah robot beats fastest human

September 6, 2012

Cheetah Robot

DARPA’s Cheetah robot — already the fastest legged robot in history — just broke its own land speed record of 18 miles per hour (mph), clocked at 28.3 mph for a 20-meter split.

In the process, Cheetah also surpassed another very fast mover: runner Usain Bolt. According to the International Association of Athletics Federations, Bolt set the world speed record for a human in 2009 when… read more

Galaxy may swarm with 100,000 times more ‘nomad planets’ than stars

February 24, 2012

This image is an artistic rendition of a nomad object wandering the interstellar medium. The object is intentionally blurry to represent uncertainty about whether it has an atmosphere. A nomadic object may be an icy body akin to an object found in the outer solar system, a more rocky material akin to asteroid or even a gas giant similar in composition to the most massive solar system planets and exoplanets.

There may be 100,000 times more wandering “nomad planets” in the Milky Way than stars, and some may carry bacterial life, according to a new study by researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC).

If any of these nomad planets are big enough to have a thick atmosphere, they could have trapped enough heat for bacterial life to exist,” said Louis Strigari, leader of… read more

Growing new brains with infrared light [exclusive]

May 24, 2013

Illustration of the "neuronal beacon" for guiding axon growth direction (credit: B. Black et al./Optics Letters)

University of Texas, Arlington, scientists have discovered a way to control the growth or repair of neurons and neuron circuits, using a non-invasive “neuronal beacon” (near-IR laser beam) — essentially rewiring brains, or even creating new ones.

This major discovery, just published today in Optics Letters, promises to enable several new applications, UT Arlington assistant professor of physics Samarendra Mohanty said in an exclusive interview with KurzweilAI:

    read more

    Vicarious announces $15 million funding for AI software based on the brain

    August 24, 2012

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    Vicarious FPC Inc, an artificial intelligence company that uses the computational principles of the brain to build software that can think and learn like a human, has announced a $15M Series A round of financing for development of machine learning software based on the computational principles of the human brain.

    The research at Vicarious is expected to have broad implications for robotics, medical image analysis, image and video… read more

    Another augmented-reality glasses design emerges

    October 1, 2012

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    EPFL scientists in the Laboratory of Photonic Devices are developing a prototype of a pair of augmented-reality glasses that are similar to Google Glass.

    A mini-projector on the frames projects a holographic image on the lens.

    One technical challenges is to allow the user to simultaneously see the information displayed on the lenses — which are too close to the eye for… read more

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