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Tesla plans self-driving ‘autopilot’ Model S feature via software update this summer

Car is "sophisticated computer on wheels," says Musk
March 19, 2015

Model S (credit: Tesla Motors)

A software update will give Tesla Model S cars the ability to start driving themselves in “autopilot” mode on “major roads” like highways this summer, Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk announced today (March 19).

He also said Tesla had been testing its autopilot mode on a route from San Francisco to Seattle, largely unassisted, and that the cars will be able to park themselves in a private garage… read more

Could analog computing accelerate complex computer simulations?

March 19, 2015

DARPA’s ACCESS RFI seeks new processing paradigms that have the potential to overcome current barriers in computing performance. “Old fashioned” analog approaches may be part of the solution. (credit: DARPA)

DARPA announced today, March 19, a Request for Information (RFI) on methods for using analog approaches to speed up computation of the complex mathematics that characterize scientific computing.

“The standard [digital] computer cluster equipped with multiple central processing units (CPUs), each programmed to tackle a particular piece of a problem, is just not designed to solve the kinds of equations at the core of large-scale simulations, such as those… read more

Open-source algorithms to enable high-quality 3D printing of metal parts

Will your future car be 3D-printed?
March 18, 2015

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers examine a 3D-printed part using the selective laser melting process. General Electric and LLNL recently received $540,000 to develop open source algorithms that will improve additive manufacturing of metal parts using SLM. (credit: Julie Russell/LLNL)

General Electric and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) recently received $540,000 to develop open-source algorithms that will improve additive manufacturing (3D printing) of metal parts.

The award is from America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute that’s focused on helping the U.S. grow capabilities and strength in 3D printing.

The project intends to develop and demonstrate software algorithms that will allow… read more

3D-printed sensors to lower cost, improve comfort in diabetes management

March 18, 2015

Optical microscopy images of patterned gold on polyimide film substrate (top) prepared via microcontact printing and after platinum and silver electrodes deposition (bottom) by electroplating (credit: Xiaosong Du et al./ Xiaosong Du/ ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology)

Engineers at Oregon State University have used additive manufacturing to create an improved type of glucose sensor for patients with Type 1 diabetes, part of a system that should work better, cost less, and be more comfortable for the patient.

A key advance is use of an electrohydrodynamic jet (“e-jet” printing) to make the sensor, which detects glucose concentration based on electric current… read more

Radical new high-speed liquid technology could bring 3D printing into mainstream manufacturing

March 18, 2015

CLIP ft.

A new 3D-printing technology developed by Silicon Valley startup Carbon3D Inc. enables fabricated objects to rise from a liquid media continuously rather than via a series of 2D layers.

Described in the journal Science on Monday March 16, the technology enables ready-to-use products to be made 25 to 100 times faster than other methods, and promises to advance the industry beyond basic prototyping to 3D manufacturing, according… read more

Ultrasound treats Alzheimer’s disease, restoring memory in mice

March 17, 2015

Scanning ultrasound treatment of Alzheimer's disease in mouse model (credit: Gerhard Leinenga and Jürgen Götz/Science Translational Medicine)

University of Queensland researchers have discovered that non-invasive scanning ultrasound (SUS) technology* can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice and restore memory by breaking apart the neurotoxic Amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide plaques that result in memory loss and cognitive decline.

The method can temporarily open the blood-brain barrier (BBB), activating microglial cells that digest and remove the amyloid plaques that destroy brain synapses.

Treated… read more

Spherical nucleic acids train immune system to fight disease

Could lead to an entire new pipeline of drugs to treat a range of diseases
March 17, 2015

SNA ft.

A research team led by Northwestern University nanomedicine expert Chad A. Mirkin and Sergei Gryaznov of AuraSense Therapeutics has shown that spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) can be used as potent drugs to effectively train the immune system to fight disease, by either boosting or dampening the immune response. The initial treatment triggers a cell-specific immune response all over the body.

By increasing the body’s immune response… read more

Solar could meet California energy demand three to five times over

March 17, 2015

Parabolic trough mirrors used for steam generation in concentrated solar power plants (credit: NOAA)

Carnegie Science researchers have found that the amount of energy that could be generated from solar equipment constructed on and around existing infrastructure in California would exceed the state’s demand by up to five times.

“Integrating solar facilities into the urban and suburban environment causes the least amount of land-cover change and the lowest environmental impact,” according to Carnegie’s Rebecca R. Hernandez (now at… read more

Imperfect graphene may lead to fast-charging batteries for vehicles

March 17, 2015

Image of a hydroxylated defect site that allows for facile proton transfer through the pristine single-layer graphene substrate (credit: University of Minnesota)

Northwestern University scientists and collaborators have discovered that if the graphene used in experimental fuel cells (used as electric power sources) naturally has a few tiny holes in it, is provides a proton-selective membrane that could lead to improved fuel cells.

A major challenge in fuel cell technology is efficiently separating protons from hydrogen. In a study of single-layer graphene and water, the Northwestern researchers found that… read more

Network theory suggests consciousness is global in the brain

March 16, 2015

The black dots correspond to the 264 areas of the cerebral cortex that the researchers probed, and the lines correspond to the increased strength of the functional connections between each of these brain areas when subjects consciously perceive the target. The "hotter" colors are associated with stronger connections. This figure illustrates that awareness of the target corresponds to widespread increase in the strength of functional connections. (credit: Marois/Godwin).

Vanderbilt University researchers have found evidence that awareness or consciousness results from widespread communication across sensory and association areas of the cortex — challenging previous hypotheses that changes in restricted areas of the brain were responsible for producing awareness.

“Identifying the fingerprints of consciousness in humans would be a significant advancement for basic and medical research, let alone its philosophical implications on the underpinnings of the human… read more

Modified atomic force microscope allows for high-speed, high-res imaging of live neurons

Neuroscience just got a whole lot more interesting
March 16, 2015

hippocampal neuron

Researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience and Kanazawa University (Japan) have imaged structural dynamics of living neurons with unprecedented spatial resolution and speed by using a modified atomic force microscope (AFM).

The AFM is a leading tool for imaging, measuring, and manipulating materials with atomic resolution — on the order of fractions of a nanometer — by scanning (“touching” and “feeling”) its surface with… read more

Largest-scale silicon photonic switch to be presented at OFC 2015

March 16, 2015

switch_photo_release1

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a novel silicon photonic switch — the largest-scale, lowest-energy-loss switch reported to date. It features a switching time of sub-micro seconds and a broad bandwidth of hundreds of nanometers in the electromagnetic spectrum.

Today’s explosion of video and Internet data is driving unprecedented traffic demand within datacenters. With data transfer rates exceeding 100 gigabits-per-second (Gb/s), communication between servers requires optical… read more

Optical fibers demonstrate brain-like computing

March 16, 2015

bio vs photonic synapse ft.

UK and Singapore researchers have simulated neural networks and synapses in the brain using optical pulses as information carriers over fibers made from light-sensitive chalcogenide glass.

The research, published in Advanced Optical Materials, has the potential to allow faster and smarter optical neuromorphic (brain-like) computers capable of learning, the researchers say.

Compared to biological systems, today’s computers are “up to a billion times less efficient — simulating 5… read more

Wireless brain stimulation with magnetic nanoparticles

March 15, 2015

wireless magnetothermal stimulation ft.

MIT researchers have developed a method to stimulate brain tissue using external magnetic fields and injected magnetic nanoparticles to treat neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Currently, brain stimulation uses pulses of electricity and requires a surgically implanted electrode wired to a power source outside the brain.

In their study, the team injected magnetic iron oxide particles 22 nanometers in diameter into the brain.… read more

Turning smartphones into personal, real-time pollution-location monitors

March 13, 2015

A small pollution sensor was used to measure their black carbon level continuously, combined with an Android smartphone with CalFit software for recording GPS information on user location (credit: Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen et al./Environmental Science & Technology)

Scientists reporting in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology have used smartphone and sensing technology to better pinpoint times and locations of the worst air pollution, which is associated with respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

Most such studies create a picture of exposure based on air pollution levels outside people’s homes. This approach ignores big differences in air quality in school and work environments. It also ignores spikes in pollution that… read more

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