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Machine learning rivals human skills in cancer detection

April 22, 2016

Samsung Medison RS80A ultrasound system (credit: Samsung)

Two announcements yesterday (April 21) suggest that deep learning algorithms rival human skills in detecting cancer from ultrasound images and in identifying cancer in pathology reports.

Samsung Medison, a global medical equipment company and an affiliate of Samsung Electronics, has just updated its RS80A ultrasound imaging system with a deep learning algorithm for breast-lesion analysis.

The “S-Detect for Breast” feature uses big data collected… read more

Blocking pain by turning off specific neurons with light

May be an effective alternative to pain medication, such as the opiate percocet taken by Prince
April 22, 2016

Optogenetic inhibition of neurons (credit: McGovern Institute for Brain Research/MIT)

McGill University researchers have discovered an effective alternative to pain medication (such as the opiate percocet that Prince was reportedly taking): optogenetics — using light to control cells (such as neurons) in living tissue.

The scientists bred mice that were genetically engineered, causing specific peripheral neurons responsible for pain transmission to express an opsin (light-sensitive protein). (See Optogenetics switch turns neurons on and off and… read more

How to make the world’s fastest flexible silicon transistor

Engineers fabricate high-performance transistors with wireless capabilities using a radical fabrication method based on huge rolls of flexible plastic. "We don’t want to make them the way the semiconductor industry does now."
April 21, 2016

World’s fastest silicon-based flexible transistors, shown here on a plastic substrate (credit: Jung-Hun Seo/UW–Madison)

A team headed by University of Wisconsin—Madison engineers has fabricated a flexible transistor that operates at a record 38 gigahertz, but may be able to operate at 110 gigahertz.

The process could allow manufacturers to easily and cheaply fabricate high-performance transistors with wireless capabilities, using a radical fabrication method based on huge rolls of flexible plastic.

The new transistor can also transmit data or transfer power wirelessly, which… read more

A battery you never have to replace

New nanowire-based battery material can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times
April 21, 2016

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University of California, Irvine researchers have invented a new nanowire-based battery material that can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times, moving us closer to a battery that would never require replacement.

It could lead to commercial batteries with greatly lengthened lifespans for computers, smartphones, appliances, cars, and spacecraft.

The design is based on nanowires, which are highly conductive and feature a large surface area for… read more

You can now be identified by your ‘brainprint’ with 100% accuracy

Could one day replace fingerprints; initial use likely to be high-security locations
April 21, 2016

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Binghamton University researchers have developed a biometric identification method called Cognitive Event-RElated Biometric REcognition (CEREBRE) for identifying an individual’s unique “brainprint.” They recorded the brain activity of 50 subjects wearing an electroencephalograph (EEG) headset while looking at selected images from a set of 500 images.

The researchers found that participants’ brains reacted uniquely to each image — enough so that a computer system that analyzed the different… read more

Scientists shoot anticancer drugs deep into tumors

Ultrasonic vibrations cause gas microbubbles to explode, releasing nanoparticles containing anticancer drugs
April 18, 2016

Schematic of magnetic microbubbles used in the study contain gas cores (blue) and shells of magnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (red), forming a dense shell (center) around a drug-containing nanoparticles. When stimulated by ultrasound at resonant frequencies, the nanoparticles can travel hundreds of micrometers into tumor tissue.  (credit:  Yu Gao et al./NPG Asia Materials)

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have invented a new way to deliver cancer drugs deep into tumor cells.

They created micro-sized gas bubbles coated with anticancer drug particles embedded in iron oxide nanoparticles and used MRI or other magnetic sources to direct these microbubbles to gather around a specific tumor. Then they used ultrasound to vibrate the microbubbles, providing the energy to direct the drug particles into… read more

Super-stretchy, self-healing material could lead to artificial muscle

April 18, 2016

An extremely stretchable polymer film that can repair itself when punctured, suggesting potential applications in artificial muscle (credit: Bao Research Group)

Stanford researchers have developed a new material that can stretch to 100 times its original length by exposing it to an electric field, and even repair itself if punctured, making it potentially useful as an artificial muscle.

Artificial muscles currently have applications in some consumer technology and robotics, but small holes or defects in the materials currently used make them less resilient, and they can’t self-repair if punctured or scratched,… read more

Ultrathin organic material enhances e-skin displays

More than next-gen medical displays: they're also ultra mood rings and a new art form
April 15, 2016

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University of Tokyo researchers have developed technology to enable creation of electronic skin (e-skin) displays of blood oxygen level, e-skin heart rate sensors for medical, athletic uses, and other applications.

To serve as a demo, they’ve created an ultrathin, ultraflexible, protective layer and created an air-stable, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display.

For use in electronic devices integrated into the human body, wearable electronics need to… read more

NYU Holodeck to be model for year 2041 cyberlearning

The role of VR and AI in future integrated living, learning, and research environments
April 15, 2016

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In an open-access paper in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Education, Winslow Burleson, PhD, MSE, associate professor, New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing, suggests that “advanced cyberlearning environments that involve VR and AI innovations are needed to solve society’s “wicked challenges*” — entrenched and seemingly intractable societal problems.

Burleson and and co-author Armanda Lewis imagine such technology in a year 2041 Holodeck,… read more

Quadriplegic man is first to regain use of hand and fingers

Six years ago, Ian Burkhart was paralyzed in a diving accident. Today, he can swipe a credit card, pour a drink, or even play a guitar video game, his fingers and hand movements driven by his own thoughts --- no prosthetic arm or robot required.
April 15, 2016

Ian Burkhart, who is paralyzed, playing a guitar video game, enabled by neural bypass system. (credit: The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Battelle)

Battelle and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have developed and surgically implanted the first neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb by using a patient’s thoughts — no robotic prosthetic arm required.

Ian Burkhart, a 24-year-old quadriplegic injured in a diving accident, is the first person to experience… read more

Turning hands and packages into displays

Are you ready for haptic "smart hands" and interactive displays on packages?
April 15, 2016

The device uses 'time-reversal' processing to send ultrasound waves through the hand. This technique is effectively like ripples in water but in reverse -- the waves become more targeted as they travel through the hand, ending at a precise point on the palm. (credit: Sri Subramanian / University of Sussex)

Imagine using your hand as an interactive touch-screen display. Sounds like science fiction, but Nokia Research Centre and the European Research Council have funded a study, led by the University of Sussex, to develop such a device, which could be used as a display for the next generation of smartwatches and other smart devices.

Called SkinHaptics, the device (still in the lab) sends ultrasonic pulses… read more

Microscope uses nanosecond-speed laser and deep learning to detect cancer cells more efficiently

April 13, 2016

The microscope uses specially designed optics that boost image clarity and slows them enough to be detected and digitized at a rate of 36 million images per second. It then uses deep learning to distinguish cancer cells from healthy white blood cells. (credit: Tunde Akinloye/CNSI)

Scientists at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA have developed a new technique for identifying cancer cells in blood samples faster and more accurately than the current standard methods.

In one common approach to testing for cancer, doctors add biochemicals to blood samples. Those biochemicals attach biological “labels” to the cancer cells, and those labels enable instruments to detect and identify them. However, the biochemicals can damage… read more

​Clothes that receive and transmit digital information

Imagine shirts that act as smart-phone antennas, workout clothes that monitor fitness level, sports equipment that monitors performance, a bandage that tells your doctor how well the tissue beneath is healing, or a flexible fabric cap that senses brain signals
April 13, 2016

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Ohio State University researchers have taken a key step in the design of  “functional textiles” — clothes that gather, store, or transmit digital information. They’ve developed a breakthrough method of weaving electronic components into fabric with 0.1mm precision — small enough to integrate components such as sensors and computer memory devices into clothing.

Imagine shirts that act as antennas for your smart phone or tablet, workout clothes that monitor… read more

Chinese team genetically modifies human embryo, using CRISPR gene-editing technique

April 11, 2016

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Chinese researchers have genetically modified a human embryo using CRISPR/Cas9, the gene editing technique, using embryos that carried an extra set of chromosomes (so they were not viable) — hoping to learn more about the possibility of producing human babies that would be immune to HIV.

The Chinese team reports in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics that they obtained 213 fertilized eggs from a fertility clinic, which had been deemed… read more

‘Breakthrough Starshot’ aims to reach Alpha Centauri 20 years after launch

$100 million research and engineering program to study concept of using laser light beam to propel gram-scale "nanocraft" to 20 percent of light speed
April 11, 2016

Lightsail and StarChip powered by Light Beamer (credit: Breakthrough Initiatives)

Internet investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking announced Tuesday a $100 million research and engineering program, Breakthrough Starshot, aiming to demonstrate proof of concept for light-propelled “nanocrafts” that could travel to Alpha Centauri, our nearest star system.

The nanocrafts would fly at 20 percent of light speed and capture images of possible planets and other scientific data, arriving in just over 20 years after their launch.

“Earth is a wonderful… read more

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