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Lit Motors will shake up the electric vehicle market with its two-wheeled, untippable C-1

September 12, 2012

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Imagine a vehicle that’s smaller than a Smart Car, nearly a third of the price of a Nissan Leaf ($32,500), safer than a motorcycle with a range capacity that just lets you drive and won’t ever tip over.

What you get is Lit Motors‘ C-1, the world’s first gyroscopically stabilized, two-wheeled all-electric vehicle, which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco today, writes Peter Ha on read more

Minnesota bans free online education, caves to Internet pressure

October 21, 2012

Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education was forced by public pressure Friday to cancel its bizarre bureaucratic decision to prohibit free online college courses offered through Coursera and other websites, Slate reported Friday.

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

Piggy-backing proteins ride white blood cells to destroy metastasizing cancer

“Unnatural killer cells" zap circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream
January 8, 2014

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Cornell biomedical engineers have discovered a new way to destroy metastasizing cancer cells traveling through the bloodstream by hitching cancer-killing proteins along for a ride on life-saving white blood cells.

“These circulating cancer cells are doomed,” said Michael King, Cornell professor of biomedical engineering and the study’s senior author.

“About 90 percent of cancer deaths are related to metastases, but now we’ve found a way to… read more

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

August 24, 2012

RCN

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

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

    The secret of longevity for the world’s longest-living rodent: better protein creation

    October 3, 2013

    Naked mole rats are small, hairless, subterranean rodents native to eastern Africa (credit: Adam Fenster/University of Rochester)

    Better-constructed proteins could explain why naked mole rats live long lives — about 30 years — and stay healthy until the very end, resisting cancer, say University of Rochester biologists Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov.

    Their work focuses on naked mole rat ribosomes, which assemble amino acids into proteins. Ribosomes are composed of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) molecules and proteins.

    When… 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

    The future of online vs. residential education

    October 8, 2012

    In this correspondence (posted with permission), Ray Kurzweil and MIT president L. Rafael Reif discuss the future of online education and its impacts on residential education. Also see the three related posts today (below). — Ed.

    Hi Rafael,

    I enjoyed your insightful piece in today’s WSJ on the emergence and future of online education. It eloquently makes the point that online teaching is here to stay. But I… read more

    Does your brain see things you don’t?

    Doctoral student shakes up 100 years of untested psychological theory
    November 15, 2013

    Sanguinetti showed study participants images of what appeared to be an abstract black object. Sometimes, however, there were real-world objects hidden at the borders of the black silhouette. In this image, the outlines of two seahorses can be seen in the white spaces surrounding the black object. (Image courtesy of Jay Sanguinetti)

    A new study indicates that our brains perceive objects in everyday life that we may not be consciously aware of.

    The finding by University of Arizona doctoral student Jay Sanguinetti challenges currently accepted models, in place for a century, about how the brain processes visual information.

    Sanguinetti showed study participants a series of black silhouettes, some of which contained meaningful, real-world objects hidden in the… read more

    The brain-computer interface goes wireless

    March 3, 2013

    Neural interface implanted in pig (credit: David A Borton et al./J. Neural Eng.)

    A team of neuroengineers at Brown University has developed a fully implantable and rechargeable wireless brain sensor capable of relaying real-time broadband signals from up to 100 neurons in freely moving subjects.

    Several copies of the novel low-power device, described in the open-access Journal of Neural Engineering, have been performing well in animal models for more than year, a first in the brain-computer interface field.… read more

    Nanoparticles could lead to stronger drugs, fewer side effects for cancer patients [UPDATE]

    August 30, 2012

    cerulean_science_nanoparticles

    A biotech company called Cerulean says its nanoparticle-delivered cancer drugs are better at attacking tumors, Technology Review reports.

    One result of the side effects of cancer treatments is that patients often can’t tolerate or survive a combination of different drugs at the same time — which can limit a doctor’s ability to knock out the disease. The head of a Boston-area biotech called Cerulean Therapeuticsread more

    Google Introduces new search tools to try to read our minds

    May 16, 2013

    (Credit: Google)

    Google revealed some new search tools on Wednesday at I/O, its annual developers conference, The New York Times reports. Taken together, they are another step toward Google’s trying to become the omnipotent, human-like “Star Trek” search engine that its executives say they want it to be.

    When people ask Google certain questions, it will now try to predict the person’s follow-up questions and answer them, too. Ask… read more

    The Red Queen was right: life must continually evolve to avoid extinction

    June 22, 2013

    Alice_&_Red_Queen

    A University of California, Berkeley study has found that a lack of new emerging species contributes to extinction over a period of millions of years.

    The researchers studied 19 groups of mammals that either are extinct or in decline from a past peak in diversity, as in the case of horses, elephants, rhinos and others.

    The “Red Queen” hypothesis

    The study was conducted… read more

    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

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