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How to send secure passwords through your body instead of air

September 30, 2016

Potential applications for on-body transmissions include securely sending information to door locks, glucose sensors or other wearable medical devices. (credit: Vikram Iyer, University of WashingtonVikram Iyer, University of Washington)

University of Washington computer scientists and electrical engineers have devised a way to send secure passwords through the human body, using benign, low-frequency transmissions already generated by fingerprint sensors and touchpads on consumer devices.

“Let’s say I want to open a door using an electronic smart lock,” said Merhdad Hessar, a UW electrical engineering doctoral student and co-lead author of a paper presented in September at the … read more

Graphene crowd-surfs on a lipid monolayer

Could provide a versatile new platform for biosensors and drug delivery systems
September 30, 2016

credit: Universiteit Leiden

“Crowd-surfing” on a smooth, supportive lipid monolayer, graphene could provide a versatile new platform for biosensors and drug delivery systems, researchers at Leiden University in The Netherlands have discovered.

Graphene is typically supported or sandwiched with other two-dimensional materials to promote higher mobility, ensure consistent electrical performance, and prevent environmental contamination. But combining graphene with soft, dynamic, molecular self-assembled lipid monolayers could provide a versatile platform for applications such… read more

IBM announces AI-powered decision-making

September 28, 2016

Project DataWorks ft

IBM today announced today Watson-based “Project DataWorks,” the first cloud-based data and analytics platform to integrate all types of data and enable AI-powered decision-making.

Project DataWorks is designed to make it simple for business leaders and data professionals to collect, organize, govern, and secure data, and become a “cognitive business.”

Achieving data insights is increasingly complex, and most of this work is done by highly skilled… read more

Elon Musk unveils plans for Mars civilization

September 28, 2016

(credit: SpaceX)

In a talk on Tuesday at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk laid out engineering details to establish a permanent, self-sustaining civilization of a million people on Mars, with an initial flight as soon as 2024.

SpaceX is designing a massive reusable Interplanetary Transport System spacecraft with cabins. The trip would initially cost $500,000 per person, with a long-term goal of 100 passengers per… read more

D-Wave Systems previews 2000-qubit quantum processor

September 28, 2016

D-Wave 2000-qubit processor (credit: D-Wave Systems)

D-Wave Systems announced Tuesday (Sept. 28, 2016) a new 2000-qubit processor, doubling the number of qubits over the previous-generation D-Wave 2X system. The new system will enable larger problems to be solved and performance improvements of up to 1000 times.

D-Wave’s quantum system runs a quantum-annealing algorithm to find the lowest points in a virtual energy landscape representing a computational problem to be solved. The lowest points… read more

A thought-controlled robotic exoskeleton for the hand

September 26, 2016

A hand exoskeleton helps stroke patients to integrate rehabilitation exercises into their everyday lives. (credit: Gerber Loesch Photography)

Scientists at ETH Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory in Switzerland have invented a robotic system that they say could fundamentally change the daily lives of stroke patients.

According to the ETH scientists, one in six people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime; two thirds of those affected suffer from paralysis of the arm. Intensive clinical training, including robot-assisted therapy, can help patients regain a degree of limited control over their… read more

Smoking leaves ‘footprint’ in DNA

Findings could provide researchers with potential targets for new therapies
September 25, 2016

Extinguishing a cigarette (credit: American Heart Association)

Smoking leaves its “footprint” on the human genome in the form of DNA methylation, a process that affects what genes are turned on, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, an American Heart Association journal.

The new findings could provide researchers with potential targets for new therapies.

“These results are important because methylation, as one of the mechanisms of the regulation of gene expression, affects… read more

How to watch the US presidential debates in VR

September 25, 2016

Democracy Plaza

NBC has teamed with AltSpaceVR to stream the U.S. presidential debate Monday night Sept. 26 live in virtual reality for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung Gear VR devices.

Or as late-night comic Jimmy Fallon put it, “If you’re wearing a VR headset, it will be like the candidates are lying right to your face.”

You’ll be watching the debate on a virtual screen… read more

How to detect emotions remotely with wireless signals

September 23, 2016

emotion detection

MITCSAIL | EQ-Radio: Emotion Recognition using Wireless Signals

MIT researchers from have developed “EQ-Radio,” a device that can detect a person’s emotions using wireless signals.

By measuring subtle changes in breathing and heart rhythms, EQ-Radio is 87 percent accurate at detecting if a person is excited, happy, angry or sad — and can do so without on-body sensors, according to the researchers.

MIT professor and project lead… read more

Someone is learning how to take down the Internet

September 23, 2016

Submarine cable map (credit: TeleGeography)

“Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet,” according to a blog post by security expert Bruce Schneier.

“These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. It feels like a nation’s military… read more

Self-powered ‘materials that compute’ and recognize simple patterns

Could be integrated into clothing and used to monitor the human body, or developed as a skin for “squishy” robots
September 20, 2016

Synchronized pattern recognition

University of Pittsburgh researchers have modeled the design of a “material that computes” — a hybrid material, powered only by its own chemical reactions, that can recognize simple patterns.

The material could one day be integrated into clothing and used to monitor the human body, or developed as a skin for “squishy” robots, for example, according to the researchers, writing in the open-access AAAS journal Science Advances.
read more

These six plant extracts could delay aging

September 16, 2016

Diagram of yeast cell (credit: Frankie Robertson/CC)

Six previously identified plant extracts can delay aging by affecting different signaling pathways that set the pace of growing old, researchers from Concordia University and Idunn Technologies have found, in a study recently published (open-access) in Oncotarget.

Using yeast — a favored cellular aging model — Vladimir Titorenko, a biology professor and the study’s senior author, and his colleagues conducted a screen of a library of… read more

DARPA’s plan for total surveillance of low-flying drones over cities

This is not Skynet. Really.
September 16, 2016

An artist’s concept of Aerial Dragnet system: several UAS carrying sensors form a network that provides wide-area surveillance of all low-flying UAS in an urban setting (credit: DARPA)

DARPA’s recently announced Aerial Dragnet program is seeking innovative technologies to “provide persistent, wide-area surveillance of all unmanned aerial systems (UAS), such as quadcopters, operating below 1,000 feet in a large city.

UAS devices can be adapted for terrorist or military purposes, so U.S. forces will “increasingly be challenged by the need to quickly detect and identify such craft — especially in urban areas, where sight lines are limited… read more

Highest-resolution map of the entire human brain created

September 16, 2016

Allen Human Brain Reference Atlas image (credit: Allen Institute for Brain Science)

The Allen Institute for Brain Science has published the highest-resolution atlas of the human brain to date in a stand-alone issue of the Journal of Comparative Neurology. This digital human brain atlas allows researchers to investigate the structural basis of human brain function and is freely available as part of the suite of Allen Brain Atlas tools at

“To understand the human brain, we need to have a detailed… read more

Engineering ‘backup’ mitochondrial genes to restore power to cells

Re-engineered mutated mitochondrial genes could prevent incurable disorders and slow down aging
September 16, 2016

Mitochondrion structure (credit: Kelvinsong; modified by Sowlos/CC)

A new study by SENS Research Foundation, published in an open-access paper in the journal Nucleic Acids Research, explores the possibility of re-engineering mutated mitochondrial genes, which can otherwise lead to incurable disorders* and contribute to aging.

Mitochondria have their own DNA, allowing them to create proteins to supply nutrients and energy to cells. But sometimes, the DNA becomes mutated by “reactive oxygen species” generated by the… read more

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